‘Blue Bloods’ Creator’s Explanation on Why Show Isn’t a ‘Pure’ Police Procedural

by John Jamison

The late Leonard Goldberg had a clear vision for what he wanted “Blue Bloods” to be. Even though the legendary executive producer passed away in 2019, he was successful in his pursuit. He saw the show as a character-driven drama rather than a detail-oriented justice system procedural.

Fans of “Blue Bloods” know exactly how successful Goldberg, Mitchell Burgess, and Robin Green were in making that happen. Branded as a police drama, the show easily could have fallen into the tropes that characterize the genre.

Watch a single episode, and it becomes clear that “Blue Bloods” is not overly caught up in criminal justice. Despite the entire Reagan family either being involved with or working in tandem with the police, it has rare heart. Look no further than the weekly dinner scenes for evidence of this.

Leonard Goldberg discussed his vision for the show during an interview with The Futon Critic in 2011.

“We consider ourselves a character drama, we are not a pure procedural. We have a police story every week and there’s a beginning, middle and end but we are essentially a character drama and we rely on our writing and our cast, which we think is extraordinary, to carry our shows,” said Goldberg.

Fast forward 10 years, those characters and the actors who play them are still going strong. It speaks to their talent, yes. But it also speaks to the concept Leonard Goldberg, Mitchell Burgess, and Robin Green put together.

Countless procedurals have come and gone in the decade-plus “Blue Bloods” has been on the air. Yet, the Reagan family persists as a group of flawed individuals. And they’re all the more relatable for it.

Late ‘Blue Bloods’ Executive Producer Leonard Goldberg Thought All of the Police Stories Had Been Told

The relatability of the characters in “Blue Bloods” can’t be understated. That is not the typical direction police-oriented dramas take. Leonard Goldberg, who was producing shows since the early 1970s, knew that better than most.

He also knew that as far as crime went, it had all been done before.

“I have been doing police shows since there were police shows and there are no more stories to be found so we try to do these stories as interestingly as possible but we really rely on the characters and their interrelation to work,” Goldberg continued in the 2011 interview. “If you watch ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and then watch us you’re looking at two shows probably from different planets. They’re very successful at what they do and they’re good at it but it’s light years from what we do.”

The recent “Hawaii Five-0” ran from 2010 to 2020. Meanwhile, “Blue Bloods” and its character-drama are gearing up for Season 12. The show is set to premiere on October 1.