‘Blue Bloods’ Alum Amy Carlson Tried Her Hand at ‘Law & Order’ Before Becoming Linda Reagan

by John Jamison

Law & Order” has been a proving ground for countless actors over the years. A handful of A-list movie stars, including Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Garner, and John Krasinski, appeared across the franchise early on in their careers. Former “Blue Bloods” star Amy Carlson came from the same tradition. In the early 2000s, she appeared in not one but two different “Law & Order” series.

The first came in a one-off role on the original “Law & Order” series. She played the role of Collette Connolly in a 2004 episode titled “The Dead Wives Club.” While the appearance wasn’t particularly memorable, she made enough of an impression to get invited back. Plus, it’s pretty cool to say you were part of the original “Law & Order” (even though the show is coming back for Season 21 soon).

A year later, Amy Carlson hit the big time. She landed a series regular role on “Law & Order: Trial by Jury.” The show only lasted a single season, but Carlson was a full-on leading lady, appearing in all 13 episodes. She played the role of Deputy Bureau Chief Assistant District Attorney Kelly Gaffney. The title is a bit of a mouthful, but she made her mark on the franchise nonetheless.

“Trial by Jury” marked the last time Amy Carlson would appear in the franchise. Just a few years later, however, she would land an even bigger role that all of you “Blue Bloods” fans know well.

On the hit series, she became Linda Reagan, ER nurse and wife to Donnie Wahlberg’s Danny Reagan. Linda was the mother of Jack and Sean, but Carlson’s character died in a helicopter crash after Season 7. Her exit from “Blue Bloods” was curiously abrupt, leading many fans to wonder if something happened between her and the show.

‘Blue Bloods’ Star Donnie Wahlberg Is Amy Carlson’s Fondest Memory From Her Time on the Series

Indeed, Amy Carlson didn’t leave “Blue Bloods” on the best of terms. She initially signed to the show under a seven-year contract and didn’t renegotiate when it ran out. According to an interview Carlson did with Deadline in 2017, she enjoyed her time on the show. Carlson didn’t reveal exactly why she left but did say that her sudden, off-screen death was not what she or anyone wanted for her character’s legacy.

She also talked about some of her favorite memories from her time on the show. Chief among them were the scenes she shared with her on-screen husband, Donnie Wahlberg.

“He’s just been so generous and sweet. I could just tear up right now thinking about how sweet he’s been. I miss working with Donnie, I miss playing those scenes with him. We had a lot of fun. We put a lot of work into those scenes, and we were both super committed to doing right by those characters,” Carlson told Deadline.