Of the many kinds of television dramas, two versions that rarely fail to deliver thrills are family stories and crime procedurals. What is rare, however, is when a show aims to combine the common themes from each kind of show into one addicting narrative. There is one CBS series that has achieved this rarity and that is what the Blue Bloods cast is known for.
Co-created by Emmy-winning writers of The Sopranos Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green, the long-running series (still trucking since its 2010 premiere) follows the Irish-American Reagan clan - many of which have a career in law enforcement in some fashion, hence the title. As I previously alluded to, Blue Bloods has the DNA a family drama, but with all the energy of a police thriller, chronicling how the Reagans’ blood ties affect their jobs and vice versa.
Fueling this familiar fire is the top-notch cast, made up both of lesser-knowns who would cite Blue Bloods as their claim to fame as well as a few familiar faces whom a TV history aficionado would cite as a legend of small screen. So, what are these veterans best known for and where else might you recognize the rookies from? Take a look at the following 12 most notable regulars from the series to find out.
Tom Selleck (Frank Reagan)
Playing New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods is something of a promotion for Tom Selleck, who rose to fame as the title character of Magnum, P.I. - the 1980s original, that is - and would later bring literary L.A. cop in small town Jesse Stone to life in several TV movies. He and his mustache are also remembered as Peter in the 1987 comedy Three Men and a Baby, Monica’s infamous ex Richard on Friends, and, he could have been Indiana Jones in an alternate reality.
Donnie Wahlberg (Danny Reagan)
Hard-nosed detective Danny Reagan is also one of several cops this Blue Bloods star has previously played on the big screen (the Saw franchise) and the small screen (Boomtown), in addition to running a burger joint with his brother Mark, as the Emmy-nominated reality show Wahlburgers captures. What might not have realized you also knew Donnie Wahlberg as is Bruce Willis’ failed patient Vincent in opening of The Sixth Sense, the clairvoyant alien Duddits in the polarizing Stephen King adaptation Dreamcatcher, and a member of legendary boy band New Kids on the Block, to name a few.
Bridget Moynahan (Erin Reagan)
As a district attorney, arguments are a constant in Erin Reagan’s life (especially with her siblings), but before landing the part Blue Bloods, Bridget Moynihan’s most famous argument was with a technophobic Will Smith over the morality of artificial intelligence in I, Robot - an Isaac Asimov-inspired action thriller. The real-life New York native also witnessed interplanetary warfare in Battle: Los Angeles, married into the business of war as an arms dealer and entertained thirsty bar patrons in the 2000 cult favorite Coyote Ugly, but perhaps her best known feature film role is as John Wick’s late wife, Helen.
Will Estes (Jamie Reagan)
NYPD rookie Jamie Reagan would initially get teased for being one of the younger officers (especially by his siblings), but Will Estes is certainly no rookie to acting, which he has made a career out of since childhood with recurring roles in nearly any ‘90s show you can think of, such Boy Meets World, Full House, or 7th Heaven. In 2000, he starred along rock star Jon Bon Jovi in both his “It’s My Life” video and the submarine epic U-571, later earned a starring role in the period drama American Dreams, and, before donning blue in Blue Bloods, played a rookie from the Gotham Police Department in The Dark Knight Rises.
Len Cariou (Henry Reagan)
Far from a rookie is Henry Reagan - Frank’s old school father and former commissioner himself played by 81-year-old Len Cariou who, despite acting for years, is best identified by audiences as an older gentlemen, such as from his recurring role on Murder, She Wrote, guest spot on Star Trek: Voyager, three guest appearances on Law & Order as three different characters, and Emmy-nominated turn as Franklin D. Roosevelt in the post-World War II Winston Churchill biopic Into the Storm. More recently, and concurrently with Blue Bloods, the Canadian actor played a member of the clergy in both Prisoners and Spotlight, a district attorney in When They See Us, Bruce Willis’ father-in-law in Death Wish, and marine mechanic suffering from Cold War paranoia in Bumblebee.
Abigail Hawk (Abigail Baker)
Another Blue Bloods star who has played multiple characters on Law & Order (Special Victims Unit, specifically) is Abigail Hawk, who shares a first name with her best known role - the commissioner’s primary aide, Abigail Baker. She made her feature film debut in the Beatles-inspired musical Across the Universe as “Flower Child” and has also popped up on various series like The Jim Gaffigan Show or another crime drama (but far shorter-lived) called Body of Proof, but her first acting credit was Reality Check, a sci-fi children’s education program from 1995 about two kids (one of them played by Hawk - née Gustafson) who discover a young inventor (Ryan Seacrest) trapped inside a special computer inside their new house.
Amy Carlson (Linda Reagan)
No longer on Blue Bloods is Amy Carlson, whose longest-running starring role on a TV series (after years on soap opera Another World and NBC drama Third Watch) was ER nurse and wife of Danny, Linda Reagan, until her tragic, off-screen death in the Season 8 premiere. Since her exit, the Illinois native has appeared on The Society, Netflix’s 10-episode suburban reinterpretation of Lord of the Flies and has been tapped to star on another CBS crime drama from her former colleague Dick Wolf - the spin-off series FBI: Most Wanted.
Marisa Ramirez (Maria Baez)
Longtime friend and current partner of Danny Regan on Blue Bloods is Detective Maria Baez, which is not the first cop role for former teen model Marisa Ramirez (i.e. Lifetime’s Against the Wall, Body of Proof), but also one of several diverse professions she has tackled on TV. She played an attorney on General Hospital, a demon vessel on Supernatural, and a sex slave on Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, but some may also recognize the Latina actress as one of the six young ladies whom each member of the Backstreet Boys auditions for in their “As Long As You Love Me” video.
Sami Gayle (Nicky Reagan-Boyle)
Joining the cast of Blue Bloods at age 14 was Sami Gayle as young cop hopeful Nicky Reagan-Boyle, Erin’s only child with ex-husband Jack (originally played by Marlene Lawston in the pilot) - which is the actress’ second acting credit after a recurring stint on As the World Turns and best known to date. She has otherwise played Nicolas Cage’s kidnapped daughter in Stolen (a 2012 thriller awfully similar to Taken), a fanged student in Vampire Academy (which is thematically and wittily different enough from Twilight), and a high school debate prodigy in the Netflix original teen comedy Candy Jar.
Gregory Jbara (Garrett Moore)
One of Frank Reagan’s most trusted advisers is Garrett Moore, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, which is easily the best known dramatic role for Gregory Jbara outside of his Tony-winning origination of Billy Elliot’s father in the 2008 Broadway musical adaptation of the 2000 film chronicling the titular boy’s passion for ballet. He also had landed smaller roles in films like Crocodile Dundee II, the 1997 LGBTQ+ comedy In & Out (alongside Blue Bloods star Tom Selleck) and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, as well as guest appearances on Friends or Family Guy, but his other well-known TV role was as on Fox sitcom Grounded for Life as Sean Finnerty’s (Donal Logue) rivalrous next door neighbor, Dan O’Keefe.
Vanessa Ray (Eddie Reagan)
Working her way up from a recurring role to a series regular on Blue Bloods is Vanessa Ray as Jamie’s former partner and now wife Edit “Eddie” Reagan (née Janko), who was previously known best from recurring roles on FX drama Damages, legal dramedy Suits, and the smash-hit series Pretty Little Liars on Freeform. She also plays the lead of the Canadian TV mystery thriller Serialized from 2016 and had an earlier supporting role in Devil’s Due, a a 2014 found footage flick from Radio Silence - the directorial duo behind Ready or Not and the upcoming fifth installment of the Scream franchise.
Jennifer Esposito (Jackie Curatola)
Stepping in as Danny’s third partner, Jackie Curatola, was Jennifer Esposito, whose 46-episode stint on Blue Bloods is just one of many short TV series stints for the Italian-American actress who has practically made a career out of them, from joining the cast of Spin City for two seasons, appearing on NCIS for much of Season 14, and being a relatively large presence on The Boys until her death in the Season 2 premiere, to name just a few. She has also had a notable film career, including the 2004 action comedy Taxi and the 2006 Best Picture Oscar-winner Crash - both of which she starred as a cop in, too.
What do you think? Does Jennifer Esposito deserve to return for the next season of Blue Bloods after her “explosive” exit from The Boys, or is there another veteran of the CBS show you would much rather see make a comeback? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the hit family crime drama, as well as even more retrospectives at the careers of your favorite TV series cast members, here on CinemaBlend.