‘Blue Bloods’: Len Cariou Opens Up About His Role in the First Family Dinner Scene in 2017 Interview

by Keeli Parkey

One of the most popular moments of any episode of “Blue Bloods” is the Reagan family dinner scene. This has been true from the time the first episode of the hit CBS show aired in 2010.

According to what one of the show’s actors had to say, that original dinner scene was the very first scene the cast filmed for the show.

That actor was Len Cariou. He, of course, plays Reagan family patriarch Henry “Pop” Reagan on “Blue Bloods.”

Cariou, who brought the experiences of a decades-long theatre career with him to the show, talked about that first dinner scene with 92nd Street Y in 2017. His comments were part of a special event held to celebrate the show’s 150th episode. Several other “Blue Bloods” cast members were also in attendance at the event.

“When we made the pilot, the first scene that we shot was the dinner scene. …,” Cariou recalled. “And, we all said to Leonard Goldberg (a producer on the show), ‘Why are we doing this first?’ I mean, we don’t even know one another. And, we’re supposed to be four generations of, you know.”

According to Cariou, Goldberg gave pretty straightforward encouragement to him and the rest of the cast.

“And he said, ‘The kids, and what the h***, just dive in,'” Cariou recalled.

Cariou Said Actors ‘Made Up a Backstory’ for First Dinner Scene

Because they knew very little background of their characters before filming that first dinner scene, Cariou said the cast decided to develop their own character backgrounds.

“We had to, while they were lighting, we made up a backstory about what we’d done,” Cariou also said. “And I said, ‘Well, I guess I was a cop, too. We were all Marines – the three of us were Marines. And then, I was a detective and then went up the ladder and became commissioner and then retired. Well, I probably got pushed out. But anyway, I lost my wife, and so we ended up living together in the same house and that’s where the Reagan dinner happens every Sunday.'”

You can watch Len Cariou talk about the first Reagan family dinner scene on “Blue Bloods” below. His comments begin around the 11:25 mark of the video.

‘Blue Bloods’ Actor Tom Selleck Also Shared Details in 2017 About First Reagan Family Dinner Scene

Tom Selleck backed up his on-screen father and also shared details about how the actors on “Blue Bloods” had to develop their own backstories for their characters early on.

“We call it a ‘bible,'” Selleck also said. “The show just didn’t have one. It had no background. We were inventing our background as … And I love that about TV because you find out more about your character each show you do because you really don’t know where they came from. You make up your own. But, we know so much more about all these people and where they came from and what their background is just by the fact that we proceeded with their future.”