'Blue Bloods' Star Bridget Moynahan Reveals the Secret Meaning Behind Those Family Dinners

During every episode of Blue Bloods, the Reagan family gets together for their Sunday family dinner and series star, Bridget Moynahan, who plays Erin Reagan, described the scenes as a "built-in date."

"It’s that one event every episode that we get together, and in-between scenes we’re catching up on each other’s lives," Moynahan told Country Living. “So that family dinner provides that social life for the cast every single week. It’s like a built-in date. It’s already pre-scheduled for us!”

After nine seasons, Moynahan said the cast and crew have developed a closer relationship than the family seen on the screen. The off-set rapport make their performances feel more realistic once the cameras start rolling.

“We’ve had deaths and surgeries and births and marriages. We’ve all gone through major life moments together and shared these moments as a family together over the years. So it really feels like home on and off screen," Moynahan said.

Although the Blue Bloods cast has been far more consistent than other police shows, the dinner dynamics do change occasionally. Last season, the table had an empty spot after Danny's (Donnie Wahlberg) wife Linda (Amy Carlson) died. This season, that empty seat has been filled by Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray), who is now engaged to Jamie (Will Estes).

Eddie has brought "a new female energy at the table," Moynahan said. She called Ray "such a vibrant charismatic woman and such a pleasure to be working with."

The Reagan family dinners have been a fan-favorite part of the series since it started. Moynahan told Country Living she hoped fans get more out of the scene than just witty banter between family members.

“I think the beauty about this show is that you can address some of the current affairs through a crime situation, or have that dialogue at the table that’s addressing hot topics,” she said, adding that the episodes could spark conversations at fans' own dinner tables.

In the next episode of Blue Bloods, getting everyone together for family dinner is the least of their concerns. Titled "By Hook or By Crook," Danny will learn that Louis Delgado (guest star Lou Diamond Phillips) was not the headless man whose body washed up on shore in the season nine premiere. Delgado, the man who torched Danny's home at the end of season seven, is alive, but to Danny's surprise.

The other stories involve Erin clashing with her new boss and an attack on a police officer who has a personal connection to Frank's (Tom Selleck) team. Eddie also introduces Jamie to her mother, played by guest star Christine Ebersole.

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New episodes of Blue Bloods air on CBS Fridays at 10 p.m. ET.

Photo credit: Craig Blankenhorn/CBS