‘Blue Bloods’: Why Donnie Wahlberg Blew Away Show’s Creators in Earliest Appearances as Danny Reagan

by Megan Molseed

For the last eleven years, “Blue Bloods” fans have been watching Donnie Wahlberg portray one of television’s favorite detectives, Danny Reagan.

Since day one, Wahlberg has portrayed the New York City police detective as one that will fight to uphold the law. Sometimes he is brash, othertimes he displays a sort of heartfelt demeanor as he shows his dedication to the shield. Whatever the case, however, Danny Reagan is always working his hardest to keep the streets of New York City as safe as possible.

It has been clear during “Blue Bloods” eleven-season run that Donnie Wahlberg is the perfect player to portray the detective. But, did the producers of the show know from the start how perfect of a fit the longtime actor and singer would be?

The answer to that question can be summed up by one word from one of the “Blue Bloods” executive producers, the late Leonard Goldberg.

“Absolutely,” he said in a 2011 interview with Futon Critic, just a few short months after the hit CBS police procedural’s series premiere.

Donnie Wahlberg Shines As “Blue Bloods” Detective

For Goldberg, the decision to cast Wahlberg as the skilled New York City detective was a simple one. And, Goldberg explained, he knew almost immediately that this role would be the perfect role for the actor. He had seen this

“We’ve seen Donnie in a lot of things over the years,” the executive producer explained, adding that sometimes the timing is just right for an actor and an opportunity.

“Sometimes it just happens like it happened with George Clooney on ‘ER,'” Goldberg said. “That finally the role and the actor and the time come together.”

Goldberg added that it was certainly Wahlberg’s early roles that opened the producer’s eyes to the actor. He noted that the producers knew early on that this role was one that Wahlberg could make his own.

I think that’s what happened with Donnie in playing Danny Reagan,” Goldberg continued. “He really has to drive the show because he’s the detective of our group so he always gets the cases.”

Donnie Wahlberg first found fame as a member of the wildly popular boy band “The New Kids On The Block.” The “bad-boy” of the group, Donnie quickly became a teen heartthrob across the globe when the band found unprecedented success with the release of their second album, “Hangin’ Tough.”

An Unexpected Acting Career

By the late 1990s, the group saw their fame begin to decline as the popularity of “The New Kids On the Block” brand of “bubble gum” pop music gave way to grunge and rap.

For Wahlberg, this wasn’t going to be a deterrent in his rise to fame. He quickly found roles both on the big and small screens. Over the years, Wahlberg found a variety of roles on television and in film.

In 1999, Wahlberg stunned audiences with his moving portrayal of the haunted Vincent Gray in the record-breaking Bruce Willis film “The Sixth Sense.”

Later, Wahlberg showed his incredible talent portraying Carwood Lipton on the popular mini-series, “Band of Brothers.”