'Blue Bloods' Wouldn't Work Without Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck: The Glue Holding the 'Blue Bloods' Family Together 📺💙

Tom Selleck Blue-Bloods
  • Blue Bloods is one of the oldest and most beloved police procedural shows on television. It follows a blood-dwelling family with a long history in law enforcement, which sets it apart from other police shows.
  •  Tom Selleck plays Commissioner Frank Reagan, the family patriarch and head of the New York Police Department, who epitomizes the values of law enforcement.
  •  Selleck portrays an understated yet tenacious man, who holds himself to be a respected leader and gives the show a strong and lasting presence.

One of the longest-running and most beloved police procedural shows on television, Blue Bloods is the second longest-running police drama on CBS today (behind only NCIS) and has just been renewed for season 14. Unlike other popular cop shows, Blue Bloods doesn’t focus on a particular precinct or squad, but rather the lives of a family. The Reagans are a well-known and influential New York City family with a long history in law enforcement. Members of the family range from detectives to district attorneys, and even the Commissioner of the New York Police Department!

Blue Bloods is not only one of the most popular law procedural shows on television, but it also has a unique atmosphere and longevity that makes it feel more timeless than other series. Of course, a lot of that comes from the amazing ensemble cast and some of the show’s best writing, but there’s one character in particular that sets Blue Bloods apart from the rest. Tom Selleck’s portrayal of commissioner Frank Reagan has cemented Blue Bloods as TV’s king of the hill.

Selleck Is the Father of the NYPD's First Family


At the heart of 'Blue Bloods' is its focus on a family entrenched in the realm of law enforcement. Unlike other well-known procedurals that might center around chosen or acquired families, 'Blue Bloods' revolves around a genuine biological family that grew up together and maintains strong bonds. This distinctive aspect sets the series apart from its counterparts. The Reagans, true to the title, represent the epitome of New York's law enforcement heritage, renowned for their exceptional accomplishments in their respective careers.

Amidst the backdrop of the customary police drama, the series delves into intricate family dynamics, where Frank takes on the responsibilities of being a leader, peacemaker, and an exemplar for his relatives.

Three main characters within the series are Frank's children , each pursuing distinct yet interconnected paths. Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) serves as a detective, Erin Reagan (Bridget Moynahan) as an assistant district attorney, and their younger brother Jamie (Will Estes) commences his career as a beat cop before eventually ascending to the rank of sergeant. Their roles within the NYPD are distinguished, and while they are not afforded preferential treatment, their familial surname carries a sense of legacy and high expectations due to the remarkable contributions of their kin to the police force. The family's lineage is further enriched by their grandfather, Henry Reagan (Len Cariou), a former police commissioner. Despite being senior to Frank in age, Henry has retired both from active police duty and the role of the family's head, primarily assuming a role of offering timely paternal advice concerning leadership and familial matters.

The significance of family dynamics in 'Blue Bloods' is underscored through its recurring weekly dinner scenes featured in every episode. Demonstrating the close-knit nature of the Reagan family, they convene every Sunday for dinner, creating a backdrop where all characters interact, resulting in some of the series' most emotionally charged and pivotal moments. Frank, positioned as both the family head and the dinner table's centerpiece, assumes an irreplaceable role within this familial framework. He intervenes to quell disputes among the siblings, dispenses profound guidance to others grappling with personal and professional challenges, and serves as a guiding example, contributing to the family's esteemed reputation in New York. Given his central role in each character's life and his unwavering position as the family's cornerstone, Frank emerges as the linchpin of the series, making him the most essential character.

Tom Selleck Plays a Unique Role Among Police Characters

100 faces of frank Blue bloods
"Unwritten Rules" -- Tom Selleck plays Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on BLUE BLOODSCBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Frank plays one of the most distinctive and multi-dimensional roles within the realm of law procedurals. Apart from his role as the family patriarch, he assumes the position of the commissioner for the NYPD – an internationally renowned and contentious police department. Like many police-centric shows, 'Blue Bloods' presents characters who epitomize the ideal image of law enforcement and generally avoids intense criticism of the police; this aligns with the concept of "copaganda" ingrained in its premise. The show's success in endearing a family of cops to the audience largely hinges on the benchmark set by Frank and his authoritative position. In the show's narrative, it becomes more plausible to embrace the idealized notion of police officers due to individuals like Frank and his family holding the roles they do. Frank's position at the pinnacle of the hierarchy amplifies his affirmative impact on the force, accentuated by how he leads his own family.

While it's inherent that a series like 'Blue Bloods' can't fundamentally deconstruct policing concepts, it doesn't dismiss the negative aspects of law enforcement entirely. In Season 6, Episode 8 titled "Unsung Heroes," protesters voice their dissent and disrupt a speech given by Frank at Columbia University. The show also acknowledges the existence of corrupt officers, illustrated by the backstory that one of Frank's children, Joe, was killed by a group of corrupt cops prior to the series' beginning. However, by the conclusion of Season 1, the Reagan family achieves justice for Joe and dismantles the corrupt organization. While shows like 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' might more overtly engage with notions of police reform, 'Blue Bloods' offers a form of television escapism grounded in the precedent set by the Reagan family, which was initially established by Frank.

Tom Selleck Was Destined for This Role

Image via CBS.

Just as 'Blue Bloods' would lack its essence without Frank, no other than the unparalleled Tom Selleck could aptly embody Frank Reagan. When 'Blue Bloods' made its debut in 2010, Selleck, a distinguished 65-year-old, found himself in an ideal position to assume the role of the patriarch of an extended family. Already renowned for his dynamic portrayal in 'Magnum, P.I.,' a standout action series of the 1980s, Selleck's transition from a skilled private investigator to the NYPD commissioner is the picture-perfect definition of "aging gracefully."

Selleck's performance is a prime instance of subtle yet enduring masculinity showcased on TV. Beyond his renowned mustache, which has achieved legendary status, Selleck's role as Frank radiates that unmistakable "dad strength" that people are aware of. While he might not engage as frequently in street-level action, his resolute dialogue and serene self-assurance make Selleck deserving of the profound respect and admiration he receives.

Like the real-life Reagan family, Blue Bloods has become the de facto “policeman’s paradise” of police shows. It’s no coincidence, then, that the show’s success is largely due to the popularity of its main character, (Tom Selleck). Thanks to Selleck, the show has been able to embrace its family dynamics and evolve into one of the longest-running law procedural shows on television. As we wait for the 14th season of “Blue Bloods” to air, there’s still plenty of ‘Blue Bloods’ to watch on Paramount Plus platform.

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  1. Mary Reid says:

    My favorite show on Tv!!!!

  2. Gloria Hall says:

    Tom Selleck is what makes Blue bloods the great show it is.

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