Protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been ongoing since the end of May. That has sparked conversations about police brutality and other social justice issues, paving the way for a reexamination of the ways in which police have been portrayed on television. Considering that Blue Bloods follows an entire family of police officers and detectives, series actor Donnie Wahlberg recently explained how the show will be “more mindful” of social issues when it returns for Season 11.
Blue Bloods has not resumed filming, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plans in place for tackling social issues in Season 11. The Reagan family doesn’t always agree on everything, but they all seem to be on the same page when it comes to their line of work with the NYPD. In that vein, one has to wonder how the protests and discussions of dismantling police departments will be handled on Blue Bloods when the police perspective is the focal point. Here’s what Donnie Wahlberg told TV Insider:
One of the good things about Blue Bloods is that when topical stuff comes up, the family always has different points of view, but I do think that, of course, we have to look at everything that’s going on in America right now and address it. I think we can certainly be more mindful and do a better job of how we do this. We’ve always tried to engage in tough conversations with multiple opinions. Other actors who have been part of the show have also engaged in these conversations. Whoopi Goldberg has done some amazing episodes where her character is fighting for social justice and it creates great opportunities for us to engage in these topics.
With regards to engaging in “tough conversations,” Donnie Wahlberg went on to say that current events are changing things and that Blue Bloods can’t avoid approaching these topics. In his words:
But certainly, we are aware that everybody in this country has to take a closer look at themselves right now and of course Blue Bloods has to do that as well. It’s a good opportunity for us to really engage in a lot of what’s going on, but also maybe help the discussion and be a part of the discussion.
Other cop shows are also trying to reanalyze and “be a part of the discussion.” For example, Brooklyn Nine-Nine scrapped all of its Season 8 scripts and is changing things up moving forward. Addressing topics of police brutality and racism meant starting from scratch for the writers, with series star Terry Crews calling it an “opportunity.”
At the end of it all, Donnie Wahlberg reflected on how Blue Bloods tackled social issues in the past and what the future holds. Here’s how he put it:
Yes. Truthfully, we’ve had a lot of episodes that addressed what’s coming to the surface now. At times, we’ve done a great job of it, at other times, an OK job, but not our best. We’ve done episodes on the question of systemic change as well. We’ll continue to deal with these issues and do it in a way that’s appropriate for the times we’re in. Our show may be fiction, but it’s fiction that’s close to reality. Blue Bloods is a scripted version of real-life events.
Blue Bloods Season 11 does not yet have a scheduled premiere date, but stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV schedule for more on what to watch.