'Blue Bloods' Showrunner Shares Why It's 'Impossible' to Make the Show Without Tom Selleck (Exclusive)

Few actors are as important to their show as Tom Selleck is to Blue Bloods, and even showrunner Kevin Wade has to admit it would be "impossible" to make it without him. Selleck's role as Commissioner Frank Reagan is the glue that holds the Reagan family together. Since day one, he has played Frank and has plenty of input in where Frank goes in each episode, Wade said in a recent interview with PopCulture.com.

Selleck is Blue Bloods' "center of gravity," as Wade put it. Each week, the writers try to develop stories that "have as much conflict and moral quandary and rock in a hard place as we do for a cop going down an alley without a gun," Wade explained. Although Frank's stories are very different from those involving Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) or Jamie (Will Estes), Wade noted that they often have the same ingredients.

Wade said there is always a conversation with Selleck in terms of collaborating on Frank's stories. "I'd go to him and say, 'We want to do this. We want to do this kind of story,' or 'Have you come up against this kind of character?' And we talk about it, and eventually, we do it."

One of the big stories in Season 12 came in the October 2021 episode "Protective Instincts," when Treat Williams' Lenny offered Frank a job as the NFL's senior vice president of security. It was a tempting offer, but Frank ultimately passed, even if that meant he could have helped Erin's (Bridget Moynahan) chances of becoming district attorney. These kinds of teases for significant changes on the show originate from the writers wanting to give audiences something fresh and prove that Frank does love his job as much as he says he does.

"If someone says how much they love their job, it doesn't mean anything until you challenge it," Wade said. "So Frank says he loves being the police commissioner, but wouldn't he love 50 times the money and access to a private jet and the best seats at every single NFL game? Sure he would. So it makes him reexamine" the job he loves. The same goes for Erin considering running for D.A. While the writers might not end up making a permanent change to the character, they do challenge them, Wade pointed out.

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Frank's stories also often involve guest stars. Tony Danza recently came on as a police officer with a troubled son "because we thought he was a good actor," Wade said. "For our audience, there's a memory of him, and bringing him back in this context would be, I hope, pleasurable." Jimmy Buffett appeared in a Danny-centric story simply because Wade knows him, and he pitched the singer an idea he surprisingly approved. E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg was cast as a mobster because he's a big fan of the show. Weinberg has a third appearance on Blue Bloods coming up, Wade revealed.

Blue Bloods returns with a new episode on Friday, April 1, at 10 p.m. ET. "Hidden Motive" marks Bridget Moynahan's directorial debut. Frank's story involves a surprise when Mayor Chase requests Jamie to lead his security detail. Past episodes of Blue Bloods are available to stream on Paramount+.