‘Blue Bloods’: Why Tom Selleck Thought the Family Dinner Scenes Were a ‘Little Long’

by Katie Maloney

If you’re a “Blue Bloods” fan you know about the family dinner scenes. The scenes have become an iconic staple for the show. And it makes sense. Mixing crime drama with action and capping it all off with some calm, family love, is a great recipe for a show. However, actor Tom Selleck, who plays Frank Reagan on the show, didn’t think the dinner scene would make it into the show.

During an interview in 2017, the cast of “Blue Bloods” celebrated their 150th episode with a live Q&A session. And it wouldn’t have been a “Blue Bloods” interview without some talk about the family dinner scenes. So, Len Cariou who plays Henry Reagan on the show led the conversation. He said that Leonard Goldberg, the show’s former producer came up with the idea for the dinners.

“Leonard Goldberg saw a drawing by Norman Rockwell with a family gathered around a table for Thanksgiving dinner. That was his inspiration,” said Cariou. “He said ‘I want a family dinner scene in each episode. That will be the glue that brings it all together. We’ll see what Donnie does and what Will does and what Pop does and what Tom does. Then we’ll get it all around the table. And try to educate the kids to give them a little perspective.’ So it was really interesting to me that that was his inspiration.”

Tom Selleck Thought the Network Would Cut the Family Dinner Scenes in ‘Blue Bloods’

Selleck agreed. He said that he had been friends with Goldberg for years before reading the script for “Blue Bloods.”

“When I met with Leonard, I knew Leonard and I read the script for the show. I read the script I said,’ You know what I really like about this thing is the family dinner scenes. But it’s like eight pages long and the network is going to cut that out’,” said Selleck with a laugh. “And he said ‘No, that is a set piece of the show.’ So that was a deliberate design of Leonard’s from day one.”

Fast forward 11 seasons and the family dinner scene is still a pillar for the show. However, Goldberg never really mentioned to the writers that they’d have to come up with dinner conversations for the next decade.

“To be fair, he didn’t really tell the writers that it was going to be in every show,” said “Blue Bloods” Executive Producer Kevin Wade. “So, 155 dinners later as much as we love doing it, it took us to about the beginning of season two to realize “Oh no, we have to do this every show.'”

Well, we’re glad the writing team is creative enough to keep reinventing the dinner scenes because we love them!

“Blue Bloods” Cast talks about the family dinner scenes.