‘Blue Bloods’ Star Tom Selleck Got Emotional Reflecting on ‘Magnum, P.I.’

by John Jamison

For the past decade and change, Tom Selleck has portrayed NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods. 40 years ago, however, Selleck became a television icon for his portrayal of Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. So iconic, in fact, that pieces of his character’s costume landed in the Smithsonian.

The now-Blue Bloods star understandably got a little emotional when looking back on the eight years he spent as Magnum. It’s safe to say you’ve made a significant contribution when museums have items you made famous on display. Selleck has no shame in admitting that he’s proud of the achievement.

During an interview with AARP The Magazine in 2015, the Frank Reagan actor talked about it.

“I don’t want to get too emotional, but I am very proud of this,” Selleck says. “Magnum was recognized as the first show to portray Vietnam veterans in a positive way. My silly Hawaiian shirt and Detroit Tigers cap are in their collection.”

And fans may be surprised to learn that Selleck himself had a significant hand in developing Magnum as a character. The plan cooked up by the network was for him to be a sophisticated, 007-like man. Well, Selleck didn’t necessarily like that idea. He preferred a relatable character more like us Outsiders.

In the end, he went for a James Garner Rockford Files-type figure.

“I said, ‘I don’t want to be Rockford, but I want to do something like that, where the guy is fallible,” Selleck told AARP.

Further, his past as a veteran was supposed to be a behind-the-scenes detail informing the character’s actions. Selleck wasn’t having that either. He fully embraced Magnum’s past as a Vietnam vet, and the character was all the more compelling for it.

The ‘Blue Bloods’ Stars Says Reagan Family Dinner Isn’t ‘The Waltons’

When people get the chance to interview Tom Selleck, they rarely skip over the impact of the Reagan family dinner scenes in Blue Bloods. As the head of the table, Selleck’s Frank Reagan is arguably the shining star of the fan-favorite scenes.

The actor has gone on record saying the family aspect of Blue Bloods that the scenes put on display is one of the main reasons he got involved with the show in the first place. But what he really loved about it was that the Reagan family characters are flawed and don’t hold back.

“The best thing about family dinner was that it wasn’t The Waltons. The characters argue and are at each other’s throats,” Selleck told the outlet during the 2015 interview.

There’s nothing wrong with The Waltons, but everyone getting along doesn’t make for compelling family drama on a modern police-centric series.