Tom Selleck & Donnie Wahlberg Reveal Secrets Behind 'Blue Bloods' Family Dinners

Cast reflections deepen as 'Blue Bloods' nears end

by Zain ul Abedin
Tom Selleck & Donnie Wahlberg Reveal Secrets Behind 'Blue Bloods' Family Dinners
© Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

As "Blue Bloods" prepares to bid farewell with its final 14th season, stars Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg reflect on the series' hallmark Sunday family dinners, which have resonated deeply with audiences over the years.

Featured in emmy magazine's June issue, the actors share insights into how these scenes became a core part of the show's identity, emphasizing the real sense of family they cultivated both on and off screen. From the very beginning, these dinner scenes were more than just script readings - they were opportunities for the cast to bring their characters' deepest emotions and conflicts to the forefront.

Wahlberg vividly recalls his early determination to define his character, Danny Reagan, during these meals. "At the first dinner scene, I had to be fully committed...and be willing to turn that dinner table upside down," Wahlberg explained to PEOPLE magazine.

Facing the formidable presence of Selleck, who plays the family patriarch, Wahlberg felt compelled to deliver a performance that would set the tone for his character's development. Selleck, aged 79, and Wahlberg, 54, both agree that mastering these scenes required a delicate balance of timing and subtlety.

"Dinner scenes are hard because your focus is not what you’re eating," Selleck noted. "It’s really not even your lines, it’s your subtext." He highlights how the audience's understanding of each character's backstory adds layers to the dinner conversations, making them richer and more complex.

Family Beyond Script

Over 14 seasons, what started as scripted interactions evolved into a genuine bond among the cast members. Wahlberg shared that the evolution from a cohesive cast to a real-life family mirrored the on-screen dynamics, fostering a genuine affection and gratitude during these weekly dinner scenes.

"If anyone’s struggling, by the end of that dinner scene they’re back to being aware of how fortunate we all are," he remarked. The ritual of these Sunday dinners, according to Wahlberg, is not just a fictional tradition but a real blessing that has contributed significantly to the longevity and success of "Blue Bloods." The actor expressed a heartfelt appreciation for this unique aspect of their work, underscoring the safety and togetherness it symbolizes for the cast, akin to the fictional Reagan family.

As "Blue Bloods" continues to capture the hearts of viewers with its blend of drama and familial warmth, it stands as a testament to the power of tradition and the enduring appeal of its ensemble cast. The series airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS and is available for streaming on Paramount+.