‘Blue Bloods’ Season 12: How Much Could Joe Hill Be Around?

'Blue Bloods' Guest Star Will Hochman
John Paul Filo/CBS

At the end of Blue Bloods Season 10, we met a surprise member of the Reagans: Joe Hill (Will Hochman), the son of the late Joe Reagan. Surprise, Frank (Tom Selleck), you have another grandson! Since then, Joe has pretty much been a very lightly recurring presence in the family. But the end of Season 11 set up a way that could change, at least a bit.

After the Reagans rallied together to keep him alive as an undercover op went sideways, he once again joined them for family dinner. And since it seems like he’s more accepting of what it means to be a Reagan in the NYPD — his great-grandfather Henry (Len Cariou) and grandfather are the former and current commissioners, his uncles are a detective (Donnie Wahlberg’s Donnie) and sergeant (Will Estes’ Jamie) — is he going to be around a bit more often?

At the time of the finale, executive producer Kevin Wade told TV Insider that he likely won’t be around full-time in Season 12. However, “we’d like to be able to weave him in and out of stories,” he explained. “He obviously has a great chemistry and connection to our cast, and my anecdotal evidence is that the audience really liked what he brought to the show. He has a fresh relationship with the characters that they’ve been with for 11 years.”

However we see him next, expect to continue to see him not fully embrace being a Reagan. “He recognizes it for what it is and for the value of it but also wants to be his own person, which seemed to me to be a very useful wrinkle to use however we’re going to grow this character and however often we get to do that,” Wade said.

Since Blue Bloods already covered that in his previous appearances, we are hoping that’s not too much of Joe’s story moving forward, especially if he’s only around in a limited capacity. It can still be addressed — it could make for an entertaining conversation between him and Jamie’s wife Eddie (Vanessa Ray) away from the rest of the family — but let’s see more of him as a cop.

'Blue Bloods' Season 11 Reagan Family Dinner

John Paul Filo/CBS

And if that means some sort of joint task force work with the ATF again to bring back Special Agent Rachel Weber (Gloria Reuben), we are completely on board with that. “If he were to stay as kind of a lend-lease detective with the ATF, there would certainly be an avenue for that,” Wade pointed out.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Joe’s character is how having him around — and in danger, as he was undercover in the Season 11 finale — affected Frank. He’s a father to cops. He’s lost a son in the line of duty. But for the first time, we saw him be a grandfather worried about his grandson before being the commissioner of the NYPD. “What we tried to write, and certainly what Tom played, was 99 percent a family man faced with his worst nightmare,” Wade said.

But that’s something we can’t see too often, especially if Joe has a more permanent presence in the family. Watching Frank accept that and figure out how to have that be the case could be quite the fascinating mini-arc for Selleck to play, especially to see how the rest of the family reacts to that.

What should also be interesting is to see how Blue Bloods handles his absences at the weekly family dinner. Will he simply not be coming to every one? (Since every episode has one, it’s impossible to say he’s attending off-screen.) Will work (perhaps more undercover assignment) be the excuse? A mix of both? (We’re leaning towards that.)

However Joe Hill is part of Blue Bloods Season 12, we just have one request: let’s see him getting one-on-one time with the entire family. He’s too entertaining a character not to take advantage of in that way.

Blue Bloods, Season 12 Premiere, Friday, October 1, 10/9c, CBS