‘Blue Bloods’: How Danny Actor Donnie Wahlberg Felt When His On-Screen Wife Amy Carlson Left the Show

by Keeli Parkey
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The death of Danny Reagan’s wife, Linda, on “Blue Bloods” came as a surprise. It also left an empty seat at the Reagan family dinner table. Fans watched as Danny and the rest of the Reagans dealt with her death.

Behind the scenes, Donnie Wahlberg was also dealing with the sadness of losing a costar he had worked with for years. He plays Linda’s husband, Danny, on “Blue Bloods.”

Actress Amy Carlson played Linda from 2010 until 2017, according to IMDb.com. She left the show between its seventh and eighth seasons because she decided not to renew her contract with the CBS series.

Wahlberg talked about what it was like to lose a costar and portray his character’s grief during a 2019 interview with Watch! Magazine.

He said the scene where Danny is talking about Linda’s death with a psychiatrist was filmed during a very busy time in his life. It was this scene where fans find out that Linda had died in a helicopter crash. That made it a pivotal moment. This was not lost on the “Blue Bloods” star.

“I got really teary in that scene,” Wahlberg said. “For that whole episode, when Linda’s death was first revealed, I was also on tour with my band. I literally came from an arena packed full of thousands of screaming people, got on the tour bus, drove to the set, pulled up next to the makeup trailer, then walked onto the set and had to do the first scene—in a psychiatrist’s chair—revealing that Linda was dead.”

Donnie Wahlberg Said He Had to ‘Walk This Tightrope of Emotions’ During ‘Blue Bloods’ Episode

Donnie Wahlberg also said he had to find the right balance of feelings to bring to life on that episode of “Blue Bloods.”

“I had to walk this tightrope of emotions and make it plausible,” he said.

While filming, he also thought about Amy Carlson.

“In the later dinner scene, I was really emotional,” he explained. “I sat there remembering the seven years we’d spent working together, thinking, ‘She’s not here, and I just let my heart feel what it felt.'”

Wahlberg also said he felt like what his “Blue Bloods” character went through at the time was “real.”

“So when Linda died, I think that struggle Danny goes through was real, because it goes back to what’s similar between Frank (Tom Selleck) and Danny,” he said. “We do not like self-pity. It is the worst thing to play. Alarm bells go off for both of us. But I embrace the challenge. I’ll say, ‘OK, let me try to play that Danny’s thinking about quitting, but try to avoid the self-pity and just make it more matter-of-fact.'”

After her time on the show came to an end, Amy Carlson shared a message with fans via Instagram.

“My heart is full of gratitude to each of you for your generous support of me and my character for the last seven years of ‘Blue Bloods’ — Linda Reagan,” she wrote. “I have been touched by your compassion and enthusiasm. I loved playing Linda … I’m proud of my contribution to building this series. I’m so grateful to CBS and the ‘Blue Bloods’ cast and crew. Mostly, I am grateful to the fans who have supported me and the show.”

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