Blue Blood returned to the airwaves for Season 8 on September 29, but it didn't come back with the full cast that many of us expected. Actress Amy Carlson was nowhere to be found, and the premiere revealed that her character had died between the end of Season 7 and the beginning of Season 8. Linda had been a key character of the entire run of the series prior to Season 8, and it was a shock to fans as her death was revealed. Now, we know why Carlson is no longer on board.
Amy Carlson fulfilled her contract with Blue Bloods, which had kept her on the show through the end of Season 7. Deadline reports that Carlson felt that the time was right to move on from the show, and so the premiere revealed that Linda had died in a helicopter crash between the Season 7 finale and the Season 8 premiere, leaving her husband and two sons behind.
The Season 8 premiere didn't reveal Linda's fate right away, although it was clear that something was wrong in Danny's life. The revelation finally came during one of Danny's therapy sessions, and it was definitely not something viewers were expecting. Amy Carlson was a part of Blue Bloods going all the way back to the pilot; major cast members departing long-running series usually get a certain amount of fanfare when they depart, and the news that Carlson would be leaving wasn't even broken ahead of time.
Blue Bloods and Amy Carlson herself keeping the secret of what happened to Linda guaranteed that the show delivered one of the biggest surprise departures on the small screen in Fall 2017. She wasn't the only major actor to depart a series over the summer hiatus, but the others made a lot more noise ahead of time. It was no secret at all that Erinn Hayes would be leaving Kevin Can Wait, with her character dying over hiatus and the show picking up again after a time jump. Meanwhile, over on Hawaii Five-0, the show returned without Chin Ho and Kono on board, as Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park had decided not to renew their contracts with CBS for another season.
Fans of Kevin Can Wait and Hawaii Five-0 had time to prepare for the heartache of losing these characters, although fans still didn't respond well to how Kevin Can Wait handled Donna's death in the Season 2 premiere. At least Amy Carlson reportedly chose to leave the series of her own volition. It would have been a shame if she was given the boot from Blue Bloods because the producers ran out of story for Linda. While Linda's death does mean that Carlson won't be able to reprise her role for anything other than flashbacks, at least the premiere proved that the surviving characters won't forget her.
You can catch new episodes of Blue Bloods on Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. If you're still figuring out what else to watch in the coming weeks, take a look at our fall TV schedule for some guidance.