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April 16, 2014

'Blue Bloods' is a New York Show... Or So They Say - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 29th 2010 6:01AM
Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg on CBS's ' Blue Bloods' panel at the Summer 2010  TCAsOne of the more overused cliches spilled by panelists at the press tour is that a show's locale is like another character on the show. Why is it cliche? Because those producers are only right half the time; they may shoot a show on location, but for some reason the location doesn't seem to come into play in the show's action at all. In fact, the show could be shot anywhere and it would feel the same.

Both the producers of 'Hawaii Five-O' and Tom Selleck in 'Blue Bloods' mentioned that their respective locales are characters in their shows. But, while you could feel the Hawaiian vibe in 'Five-O,' the New York in the 'Blue Bloods' pilot felt weirdly sanitized, even though the show was shot there.

One of the things that did it for me was the fact that Selleck's character, New York police commissioner Frank Reagan, is called the police chief. It's a small thing, but one that grates on an east coaster like myself.

Not to get too deep into the explanation of why it grates, but suffice to say that it's not like most of the rest of the country isn't familiar with the fact that New York has a civilian police commissioner. Many have been high-profile, especially since 9/11, and one of the most high-profile ones, Bernie Kerik, is currently sitting in jail. Why would producers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, who both worked on 'The Sopranos,' let such a detail slip.

"He's the police commissioner," Selleck confirmed after I asked the panel about that confusion. "He came up through ranks and was a beat cop and ‑‑ and ceremonially, I think, as a matter of leadership and all, he prefers to wear his chief's uniform."

"We wanted him in the uniform because we wanted it to read chief of police, because commissioner is not ‑‑ it's only ‑‑ happens in New York City, I think, pretty much," said Green.

Selleck said that he wasn't going to go back to series TV, and relocate to New York, unless the material was good. "This really just seemed to fit perfect," he said.

There wasn't much info imparted in in the panel that you probably wouldn't know from reading my preview of the show, aside from the fact that in the reporter scrum that the family dinner depicted in the pilot will be a recurring device, as a way to bring the family together while cases are being solved and the overarching internal affairs scandal is being unraveled.

That'll make Selleck's co-star, Donnie Wahlberg, happy; he cited that scene as his favorite scene in the pilot. "It's really a place where work comes -- the work and the procedural stuff comes into the character stuff directly. And you see how everyone is connected."

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