'Blue Bloods': Donnie Wahlberg Opens up on Personal Connection With Lou Diamond Phillips (Exclusive)

When Lou Diamond Phillips made his Blue Bloods debut in the Season 9 premiere, the plan was to use his character just once, but star Donnie Wahlberg said everyone was so impressed by the veteran actor that he had to be bought back. Phillips' Delgado character has been back three times since, and has developed a surprising connection with Wahlberg's Detective Danny Reagan. In fact, Wahlberg said Phillips will direct an episode in the future and opened up about his personal off-camera connections to the Golden Globe nominee.

blue bloods lou diamond phillips cbs
(Photo: John Paul Filo/CBS)

Delgado was first introduced as the criminal behind Linda Reagan's (Amy Carlson) murder in "Playing With Fire." But in "By Hook or by Crook," he was bought back. In "Common Enemies," Danny leaned Jose Rojas (Danny Trejo) was really responsible for Amy's death and he also killed Delgado's wife. Suddenly, two enemies found common ground as both single fathers whose lives were marred by tragedy. In "Where The Truth Lies," which aired in January, Delgado helped Danny put criminals behind bars while Danny agreed to protect his sons.

"When Lou's character came on the show, originally he was supposed to be killed off in the first episode he did, so his body washed up on the shore," Wahlberg explained in a PopCulture.com interview. "We were having such a good time together working that I talked to the writer and said, 'Why does that have to be him? Maybe it's someone made up to look like him and we can keep the character alive.' And everybody was responding so well to Lou on set that she agreed, the writer agreed and she pitched it to the network and everyone agreed and now we have Lou back I think four times."

Wahlberg said he met Phillips several times in the past and grew to respect him. They even learned what they have in common in their stories to success.

"Sometimes you just connect with somebody," he explained. "I've met Lou a bunch of times over the years and I always really liked him and respected him, but we just have a connection. We both have been acting for a long time. We both love to direct. We both have similar journeys through our family stuff. We have children with special needs."

"We have this really tight bond as friends and I don't care what they have to do to keep bringing him back onto the show, I just want them to keep bringing him back onto the show," Wahlberg added. "It's just rare you get to work with somebody you click with so well and they're amazing at what they do. I feel like he makes me a better actor and he makes our show a better show."

Although it is not clear when Delgado will be appearing on the show again, Wahlberg said Phillips will definitely be back as a director.

"He's become such a part of the family that he's going to direct," the actor said. He also called Phillips a "great guy," adding that "everybody on the set loves him."

While Phillips is best known as an actor with more than 140 credits to his name, he does have experience directing. He helmed episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fear the Walking Dead and Longmire. He can also be seen on Fox's Prodigal Son, which airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.

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As for Blue Bloods, the series still airs on CBS Fridays at 10 p.m. ET.

Photo credit: CBS