What's the secret ingredient in the success of Blue Bloods?
It could be the trademark family-dinner scenes. In every episode of the CBS drama, the Reagan clan gathers for a Sunday meal and chews over issues in their law-enforcement-centered lives.
"People gravitate toward the dinner scene," says Bridget Moynahan, who plays Erin Reagan, an assistant district attorney. "It's a unique piece of a cop show, that you actually get to sit down with these people. You don't just follow a crime — you get to hear how they feel about it."
But is the cast really consuming all that meat and potatoes? Emmy contributor Bruce Fretts cross-examined the stars to find out.
TOM SELLECK (Police Commissioner Frank Reagan): "I always have my spit bucket ready. And I'll have a light lunch. But I try not to rationalize it and say, 'Oh, Frank wouldn't eat in this scene because he's so preoccupied.' I try to be truthful.
AMY CARLSON (Linda Reagan, Danny's wife): "I pick something easy: vegetables. I don't go for meat. In season one, I had an episode where I had to eat turkey meatballs in every take, and I was lying on the floor, so ill. It was horrible."
DONNIE WAHLBERG (Detective Danny Reagan): "I do get gas a lot. I try to be polite, but sometimes things happen. I see people shifting in their chairs, though. I don't think it's just me — I'm just the worst."
BRIDGET MOYNAHAN (ADA Erin Reagan): "The first couple of seasons I mashed a lot of food, and Tom called me out on that. So I ate for maybe a year, which I totally regretted. So this year I moved on to cutting meat. Now that you're writing about it, I'm going to have to find something new. I may move on to buttering bread."
SAMI GAYLE (Nicky Reagan-Boyle, Erin's daughter):"Some days I'll just eat lettuce, and other days I'll eat more. We do 60-some-odd takes. It's a lot. I stick to veggies. I can't eat red meat, so that helps me. Because I honestly can't digest it."
WILL ESTES (Officer Jamie Reagan, Frank's youngest son): "I try to eat light. I've got to — especially because they serve osso bucco and tryptophan-laden turkey, which makes it so you can't act worth beans."
LEN CARIOU (Retired police commissioner Henry "Pops" Reagan): "We set it up at the beginning that Henry was preparing the meal, but we've gotten away from that. The women have been bringing it over. The kids don't mind coming over to Henry and Frank's house because that's where they grew up. It may be a pain in the ass to schlep dinner over, but they do it.
It's tradition. And isn't it nice to have it?"