‘Blue Bloods’: Why Danny Actor Donnie Wahlberg’s Favorite Episode is the Pilot

by Jennifer Shea

Eleven seasons into “Blue Bloods,” star Donnie Wahlberg’s favorite episode is still the pilot. The Danny Reagan actor revealed that even after all this time, the very first episode stands out in his mind as the best.

“My favorite episode of ‘Blue Bloods’ was probably to this day the pilot episode, the first-ever episode,” Wahlberg said in a “Blue Bloods” behind-the-scenes video. “I see it every now and again on reruns and it still holds up after all these years. You know, getting to work with Tom and Bridget and the cast was just an amazing experience that I just, I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to top it.”

“I know that we’ve come close,” he added. “We’ve done some amazing episodes. But I think that one, for the unexpected treat that it turned out to be, and that very first dinner scene being so dramatic and challenging, I’d have to go with the pilot episode as my favorite.”

Watch Wahlberg and his castmates discuss their favorite episodes here:

‘Blue Bloods’ Stars Are Like Family

Wahlberg has developed deep relationships with co-stars Tom Selleck and Bridget Moynahan, he told CBS’s Watch! magazine in 2019. In Moynahan’s case, Wahlberg had been friends with her since before the show started. And when Wahlberg got the “Blue Bloods” offer, he immediately called Moynahan to urge her to sign on.

“She and I started out as friends coming out of tough relationships, as single parents, and became friends and confidants,” Wahlberg explained. “[We] watched each other go through other relationships and then ultimately find spouses. Bridget and I have gone through this parallel journey as friends and have been there for each other.”

When it comes to Wahlberg’s relationship with Selleck, there seems to be heartfelt mutual respect there. They reportedly call each other “dad” and “son” even offscreen. And Wahlberg shared a memory from the “Blue Bloods” pilot that set the tone for their relationship ever after.

“After we watched the pilot, he said to me, ‘I’m really good at making scripts better,’ and I thought he was going to offer me, ‘So if you need help, come to me,’ but that’s not what he said,” Wahlberg recalled. “He said, ‘I notice that you are too. And I’m going to count on you to keep running through walls and do what you do for the run of this show.’ And I said, ‘I’m there, man, I got your back.’ And that’s been our relationship ever since.”

The 2020 Tip Challenge

If further proof of Wahlberg and Selleck’s strong relationship were needed, look no further than the 2020 Tip Challenge.

It all started when Wahlberg took part in a trend that began in late 2019. Generous restaurant patrons began leaving $2,020 tips for servers. The first example to make headlines was a couple in Michigan who left a $2,020 tip on a $23.33 bill at Thunder Bay River Restaurant in Northeast Michigan on the Sunday several days before New Year’s, along with the message, “Happy New Year. 2020 Tip Challenge.”

So when Wahlberg and his family went out to eat at an IHOP in St. Charles, Illinois on Jan. 1, 2020, Wahlberg joined in, leaving a $2,020 tip on a $76.45 bill. He did the same thing in November at a restaurant in Plymouth, Massachusetts with a $35.27 bill.

Also in November, Selleck went out to eat at Elios Upper East Side in New York City. And he quietly left a note along with his $2,020 tip: “I am honoring my friend Donnie Wahlberg’s ‘tip challenge’ with my sincere hope for a better 2020.”

So Selleck put his money where his mouth is and showed how much he respects Wahlberg as a person. Now that’s a close bond.