Some things are all in the family -- and for one New York clan, that includes being a cop.
Emmy winner Tom Selleck anchors a new show by playing a police commissioner in the filmed-on-location CBS drama "Blue Bloods," premiering Friday, Sept. 24. Frank Reagan has an ex-police-chief father (Broadway veteran Len Cariou), a detective son (Donnie Wahlberg), another son (Will Estes) who's a Harvard-educated police rookie, and an assistant-district-attorney daughter (Bridget Moynahan).
Such careers can only collide, and it takes less than a half hour to get to the first tense dinner-table scene. With the relatives' various cases, personal conflicts will continue, testing just how thick blood is. Bobby Cannavale ("Third Watch") co-stars as Moynahan's boss, and Andrea Roth ("Rescue Me") plays Selleck's love interest.
Eight years (1980-88) on "Magnum, P.I." educated Selleck in the demands of being in virtually every scene of a weekly show, and in recent seasons, he has preferred delivering one or two "Jesse Stone" mystery movies to CBS. He'll keep making those (the seventh already has been completed), but he says he couldn't resist "Blue Bloods" for multiple reasons.
"The script was terrific," Selleck says, "and the idea that it was going to shoot in New York, while causing a family consideration (his wife will stay in California but visit often), was too good to pass up. I think, and you could see it in the script, that it's another character in the show."The creators and executive producers of "Blue Bloods" know a lot about making an East Coast series: Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess were writer-producers on HBO's much-revered "The Sopranos," and they were brought into "Blue Bloods" by veteran television producer Leonard Goldberg ("Charlie's Angels").
"This is a melding of a family drama with a police show," Burgess says, "and that's what makes it unique." And Green recalls, "We said, 'Why hasn't anybody done this before?' Maybe they have, but I can't remember." (An example: the mid-1980s ABC drama "Our Family Honor.")
Wahlberg also is returning to series work, having been a regular on NBC's "Boomtown" and The CW's "Runaway," besides making appearances during the summer on TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles." He marvels at his senior "Blue Bloods" colleagues, noting that "the humility they all have for such success is amazing.
"Walking onto a show like this with Tom and Leonard Goldberg, it's sort of like, 'Wow.' On the one hand, it's very humbling to be in that company and on the other, it's intimidating. This is a serious group of people. They're just all about the work, and to be around that is just amazing."
Moynahan is getting back into the series realm as well, having played Mr. Big's wife Natasha on HBO's "Sex and the City," then starring more recently in ABC's "Six Degrees." She's pleased to have Selleck as her "father," citing his "very gentle energy. He instinctively has that very paternal side about him, so I've found it an easy fit. And it's also nice to have somebody as tall as me on the set!"
While Selleck didn't have official approval over his "Blue Bloods" co-stars, he says the producers "were nice enough to mention people to me. Where on 'Jesse Stone,' I wear a lot more hats, I've got one hat here ... maybe 1 1/2 hats, because I'm older."