Given the current status of the “Blue Bloods” family dinner, it only seems right that one would be among the first scenes the show ever filmed. But whether or not the audience ended up loving the dinner scenes, they were a major plot point before the show did its first take. The point of “Blue Bloods” is to explore the Reagan family dynamic against the backdrop of law enforcement in New York, after all.
What better way for the cast and crew to get acquainted with one another than plopping everyone down around a table and having them go for it?
“Our first day all together was a family scene. We shook hands, introduced ourselves, and dove right into our relationships,” Moynahan said on “The Early Show” in 2011.
“The family dinner scene was our first day at work. So it was kind of ‘How do you do, we’re family,'” Tom Selleck added.
And from the beginning, it was clear that these dinner scenes were the heart and soul of the whole show. Of course, who knows what could have happened if the scenes tested poorly. CBS could have tried to pivot to a more procedural approach, but that would have abandoned the show’s charm. And it likely would have driven Frank Reagan actor Tom Selleck away entirely.
‘Blue Bloods’ Star Tom Selleck Joined the Show on Condition That the Dinner Scenes Remain
When you’ve been on television as long as “Magnum P.I.” star Tom Selleck, you learn a thing or two about how networks operate. And when he first read the script for “Blue Bloods,” he fell in love with the character-driven, family aspect of the show.
So when he went to meet with the show’s executive producer, Leonard Goldberg, he made sure to cover his bases. Too often have television networks whittled scripts down from great material to a product they can easily package and sell. And Selleck wanted to make sure that CBS wasn’t going to cut the Reagan family dinner scenes for the sake of a shoot-out or some other high drama.
“I met with Leonard – I knew Leonard – for the show and read the script. I said, ‘You know what I really like in this thing is this family dinner. But it’s about eight pages long and the network’s going to cut that out right?'” Selleck said in a 2017 interview. “And he said, ‘No, that is a set piece of the show. So that was a deliberate design of Leonard’s from day one.”
Imagine Tom Selleck’s excitement when he showed up for work on the first day, and his very first scene was a family dinner.