‘Blue Bloods’ Star Tom Selleck Boldly Explained Why He Enjoys Playing Characters with Different Views

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Bobby Bank/GC Images)

Tom Selleck likes it when his character Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods disagrees with him because that’s the crux of acting. He wants to prove he can inhabit another character.

Selleck told Collider that internal push-and-pull is what draws actors to want to be actors in the first place. The ones that care, at least. And by going down these internal rabbit holes, he said, he finds that the characters open up and become much more interesting to watch as well.

“Oh, absolutely. You don’t do characters that are the same as you, otherwise, why bother to act? He’ll have different opinions than me, but that’s okay,” he said. “I’m playing a character on a show, and it’s fun to get inside the skin of these people. If you do it right, you’ve got to root for these people. They’re all going to have problems and flaws, which is why they’re good writers. They give us things. The audience will root for this family and the conflicts within the family. It’s an adult family drama. It’s not for kids. They can watch it, but it’s not geared toward them. It’s not Little House on the Prairie, which I did like watching with my little daughter.”

Selleck said finding those real-to-life character moments is what separates Blue Bloods from many other television current shows.

“I think television has always been one to replicate when something’s successful. I don’t think there’s quite as much innovation. Innovation sometimes seems to be a gimmick, nowadays,” he said. “Nobody in our shows can see through walls or anything. They’re just people. That’s so much a part of the basic drama that it’s almost new. We’re going to look a little different. While everybody here is probably old enough to understand that, it’s not always where television’s at. And, I hate reality shows.”

Selleck: ‘Blue Bloods’ Is Aiming For Authenticity

Part of the way Blue Bloods finds those real moments were chosen long before the show even turned on the cameras. It’s where they chose to shoot the show. Selleck told Collider that was his first question after reading the pilot script.

“No. It was the biggest hurdle for me to accept the idea of doing the show. The first question out of my mouth was, ‘Where are you shooting it?’ and then we tried to discuss how that would work. It never works the way you plan it, but that wasn’t the attraction of it. It’s really hard to argue that this isn’t a better show, shot on the streets of New York. That excited me.”

Shooting in real-life locations provides authenticity that faking a location can’t. Many shows that are “shot” in New York are actually filmed in other large cities like Toronto because it’s cheaper to film there. And Blue Bloods filming on-site gives a reality and a charge to the scene, co-star Donnie Wahlberg said.

“There’s nothing like shooting (In New York),” Wahlberg said in a 2019 interview with CBS.com. “I get energized on the streets. And it’s such a big city, there’s so much going on and, of course, our characters’ jobs as police officers is to control what’s going on.