‘Blue Bloods’ Actor Tom Selleck Revealed Why He Loves ‘the Challenge’ of Portraying Frank Reagan

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by J. Kempin/Getty Images)

If you have watched many episodes of the hit CBS drama “Blue Bloods” you are aware that one of the themes on the show is just how difficult Frank Reagan’s job is.

As fans are aware, Frank Reagan is the commissioner of the New York City Police Department. It is Tom Selleck who has brought the character to life since the show aired its first episode in 2010. Selleck described the factors that he believes makes the show popular during a 2016 interview with the
SAG-AFTRA Foundation.

“I think the show is at its strongest when you get this idea. You got this family business and at the same time, not in different periods of time or a different day, you see these different worlds,” Selleck shared. “You see Danny’s (Donnie Wahlberg) world and Erin’s (Bridget Moynahan) world and Jamie’s (Will Estes) world and Frank’s world, which is a totally different world. It is something we’ve worked very hard on.”

For fans of the show to really understand what life is like for the members of the Reagan family, they must understand the pressure and stress Frank Reagan feels every day. That character is key to understanding the world of the show.

Tom Selleck Said His ‘Blue Bloods’ Character Feels ‘The Sheer Weight of Responsibility’ of His Job

According to Tom Selleck, expressing the feelings and worries his character feels is key to making “Blue Bloods” work. Doing so is a “challenge” for him and for the creative minds behind the show.

“But the weight, the sheer weight of responsibility for a character who controls 35,000 lives – while he was commissioner he lost his son in the line of duty. That weight, which he doesn’t like and he didn’t want the job if – for those of you who watch the show regularly we found out more and more about that – is a very hard thing to communicate,” Tom Selleck said. “… it’s why I love the challenge of playing (Frank Reagan) so much because you got to get inside Frank’s head or … that part of the show doesn’t work. If you don’t walk in his shoes, it’s over.”

The “Blue Bloods” star then praised the show’s writers and its network for getting viewers to understand Frank Reagan’s point of view.

“So, I thank our writers for being willing to take that risk,” Selleck said. “I thank CBS for not necessarily understanding it right away, because it wasn’t safe, but it’s a real hard challenge and I really love it.”

While talking about playing Frank Reagan, Tom Selleck said he learned what it takes to be a commander – or a police commissioner – while playing a U.S. president.

“I did a movie called “Ike: Countdown to D-Day” for A&E. … It was about (U.S. President Dwight ‘Ike’ Eisenhower) in the months leading up to D-Day. And, it was all about command and I learned a lot. …” he shared.

You can watch Tom Selleck discuss “Blue Bloods” below. He begins talking about the “challenge” of playing Frank Reagan around the 12:45 mark of the interview.