‘Blue Bloods’ Star Donnie Wahlberg Reveals Moment That Made Him ‘Evolve’ as Danny Reagan

by Leanne Stahulak

“Blue Bloods” star Donnie Wahlberg has had 11 seasons to master his character, Danny Reagan. In preparation for the upcoming Season 12, Wahlberg revealed the steps he went through to “evolve” his character this past season.

Parade revealed an exclusive featurette that’s available in the “Blue Bloods” Season 11 DVD, which was released today. In the video, Wahlberg reveals some of the behind-the-scenes secrets that went into his portrayal of Danny for Season 11.

He starts off by breaking down the first episode of Season 11. There’s a scene where Danny and his partner, Maria Baez, are trapped in a basement together while hunting down a serial killer. The moment allows them to open to each other in a way they hadn’t before.

“It may have been a big turning point for their relationship,” Wahlberg says in the featurette. “They were really in a situation where they were vulnerable and at risk and kind of really let their guards down. In many ways, Baez said a lot of the same things she always says to Danny.”

The video cuts to Baez and Danny, trapped in the basement together. Sobbing, she says, “You just have this perfect family. And you don’t even realize it half the time.” When he protests that they’re not perfect, she cuts in, “They’re there for you, and they love you. That’s pretty perfect.”

The “Blue Bloods” star continues by saying, “But for whatever reason, the vulnerability that they faced in that moment in the basement, I think it finally got through.”

How This ‘Blue Bloods’ Season 11 Moment Allowed Danny Reagan to ‘Evolve’ as a Character

The vulnerability Wahlberg mentions is revealed by another clip from the episode. Baez leans on Wahlberg as they sit against a wall together, whispering to one another. Danny explains to Baez how his priorities changed after his brother Joe died.

“I made a promise never to let my guard down again,” Danny says in the clip. “I’ll always be first in, last out. Somehow that’s led to me being known as a hothead… costing me every partner I’ve ever had. Except you.”

Wahlberg explains, “He realized how important she was to him on a much deeper level. Not only did it evolve their relationship, but it allowed me to evolve Danny a lot. I personally, Donnie Wahlberg the actor, made a choice in that moment to really carry that forward throughout the season.”

From then on, the “Blue Bloods” star emphasized this change in their relationship, which was strong enough for him to invite her over to the Reagan Sunday family dinner.

Some fans wonder if this means Danny and Baez’s relationship will turn romantic in the upcoming Season 12. We’ll see how it plays out when the new season debuts on Friday, Oct. 1.