There’s no getting away from the Reagan family dinner scene on “Blue Bloods.” It’s the heart and soul of the show, and it’s a great way to get all of the characters on the same page with one another. That dinner table is full of world-class talent, however. And as an actor, it can become intimidating at times. Jamie Reagan actor Will Estes knows this better than most.
And that’s not the only reason. The dinner scenes are notoriously difficult to shoot because of continuity. If you mess up or forget a line, an entire take has to be reset. That means the things people were eating (or pretending to eat) have to be eaten again. It’s these extra details that make the “Blue Bloods” scene such a challenge.
On top of that, the shots are just really long. Everyone is sitting around the table, so a lot of the conversations are continuous. When you forget a line, that could throw five minutes worth of great acting out the window.
“It’s a scary room to forget a line at because it’s a really long scene to shoot. And you’re surrounded by consummate professionals,” Estes said. “So when you go up on a line at that table, it’s a lot of people watching you mess up.”
Among the faces staring back at you around the table are the likes of all-time television actor Tom Selleck. He’s been playing Commissioner Frank Reagan since the show began. He has to be an intimidating figure for the younger actors to work with, through no fault of his own. And don’t forget Len Cariou, who has extensive Broadway experience.
A ‘Blue Bloods’ Star on Reagan Family Dinner: An Outsider’s Perspective
Since 2013, Vanessa Ray has been playing Eddie Janko on “Blue Bloods.” It doesn’t take a fan to realize that Janko isn’t a Reagan by blood. But these days, the “Blue Bloods” star is a member of the family via her relationship with Jamie Reagan.
Interestingly, there were a bunch of parallels between an actual relationship and Vanessa Ray’s first dinner scene. As Jamie Reagan’s wife, Janko earned herself a spot at the table. And when that happened, the Eddie Janko actress felt like she was really meeting her fiance’s family for the first time. At least, the intimidation factor was similar.
“But I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was one of the most intimating tables to come to, for sure. I was nervous. I didn’t want to step on toes. And I wanted to make sure I was sitting in the right place,” Ray told WPRI 12 in 2018.