Donnie Wahlberg has been lucky when it comes to partners on Blue Bloods. He started with Jennifer Esposito for the first three seasons. But after her sudden departure, he was teamed up with Marisa Ramirez. Someone he says will be a “lifelong friend.”
Wahlberg plays Danny Reagan, a smart but hot-headed NYPD detective. That dynamic makes him interesting to watch, but it means his partner has to protect him. And the show has been smart in who they’ve partnered him with, giving him actresses that can match his intensity.
“The beauty of having had these different partners is that they each bring something different to react to,” he said. “Jennifer made boring lines hysterical; she made throwaway lines authentic. She was a great partner and is a great actor and friend. When Marisa came along, I knew immediately she would be a lifelong friend. Marisa came in, and she was just a solid person and actor, a solid partner on camera and off.”
Esposito left Blue Bloods in 2012 after collapsing on the set after suffering complications from Celiac disease, The Hollywood Reporter said. It was a bitter break-up with the show. Though, she loved working with Wahlberg.
“We had so much fun,” she told PeopleTV. “I think they needed to make us separate because that’s how much fun we had. We would be cracking up and dancing like right before a take and then we’d be like, ‘So did he do it!'”
Wahlberg said in 2019 that he hopes the show will allow he and Ramirez’s characters to explore their friendship more.
Wahlberg Loves Filming ‘Blue Bloods’ in New York
Like many police procedurals, Blue Bloods shoots their exterior shots in the streets of New York City. Wahlberg said it’s one of his favorite parts of filming the show.
“There’s nothing like shooting here,” he told CBS. “I get energized on the streets. And it’s such a big city, there’s so much going on, and of course, our characters’ jobs as police officers is to control what’s going on. In my music career, how do I get control of 15,000 screaming people in an arena and get them to follow along where I want to take them during a song or a moment or an entire concert? I think that’s what I do in Blue Bloods, but in a different way.”
Unfortunately, his family lives in Chicago. So, he has an 800-mile commute every week to work when Blue Bloods is shooting. But he and wife Jenny McCarthy make time for each other whenever they can.
“Even if I work Thursday and can’t fly home with her [McCarthy spends midweeks on the set of her Sirius show in Manhattan], she’ll book a flight that gives her a couple of hours to spend with me on our set on her way to LaGuardia,” he said. “We—with our sons—really do everything to be together.”