‘Blue Bloods’ Star Len Cariou Recalls Filming the Show’s First Scene Ever

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Blue Bloods actor Len Cariou has been a part of the TV series since its first show and, well, the very first scene ever filmed. Cariou plays Retired NYPD Commissioner Henry Reagan on the show, and he’s the father of Frank Reagan, played by Tom Selleck. If you watch the show, then you know that the family dinner scene is a staple. Each episode pretty much ends with a gaggle of Reagans sitting and having some food. When the show started, the initial scene first done for Blue Bloods was this one.

Cariou remembers how it all would go down. “We’ll be there for a while,” the veteran Broadway actor said in an interview with thealtweb. “Because there are nine of us, the scenario takes a long time to shoot. It was the first scene we shot for the pilot, and I told Leonard Goldberg, our founding executive producer, ‘Why are we starting here? We barely know each other.’ He stated, ‘I’d like one of these scenes to appear in every episode. So I decided on baptism by fire. Let’s see how well that works.’ ‘It works like gangbusters,’ he said the next day.

Len Cariou of ‘Blue Bloods’ Sets The Table For Dinner Scene Work

“The first scene we shot was a dinner scenario, and we had to build up a history on the spot,” Cariou said. “Who was the family’s oldest member? What was our previous experience? What was my history? We made one up on the spot and launched the family company.” You can see Henry sitting at one end of the dinner table. He occasionally will drop some elder wisdom on the younger family members. It’s definitely a highlight of each episode and fans love seeing the Reagan family mix it up. Yes, you will see all of the Reagans either dish out the criticism or have some laughs.

When asked about his role in another interview, Cariou would call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. “When I was a young guy, I went to LA every season you know for pilot season, sure, and I couldn’t get arrested,” Cariou said.

Actor Was Able To Dip Into Broadway Experience With Sami Gayle

Cariou added that when he was 70 that he’d do a TV series. While his agents thought his idea was silly and ridiculous, it turns out that was what Cariou did. As it turns out, later in life, he would star in a TV series.

He has an amazing scene in another episode where he uses that Broadway training. One features Henry singing a song from the Broadway show Annie with cast member Sami Gayle. It was for a talent show and they just worked well together at that moment.