Why We Still Love Family Dinners on ‘Blue Bloods’

Will Estes, Vanessa Ray, Bridget Moynahan, Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Len Cariou in Blue Bloods
John Paul Filo/CBS

Now that we’re full from our own dinners for Thanksgiving, it’s the best time to take a look at our favorite family meals on TV. We’re, of course, talking about the Sunday dinners for the Reagans on Blue Bloods.

These weekly gatherings, at Frank (Tom Selleck) and Henry’s (Len Cariou) house, have been part of the show since the premiere in 2010, and for the longest time, only Reagans sat at the table. “It was sort of traumatizing for me to sit there and have to come in on my first day of shooting the series and just basically take over the dinner table,” Donnie Wahlberg (who plays Danny Reagan) recalled to TV Insider in 2019.

“But I knew if I didn’t do it successfully, the show wouldn’t have a chance to thrive. We had to be able to speak our own voices and stand up for our characters’ points of views on the show or it wouldn’t work,” he continued. “[After, Selleck] gave me the biggest smile and pat on the back after and said, ‘That’s what’s going to make this show magic.’”

We take a look at why we still love these dinners 12 years later below.

The Debates

Conversations usually (and quickly) turn into debates, especially if Danny and Erin (Bridget Moynahan) have clashed on a case, or there’s any sort of friction with any of the siblings. It’s a great way to catch up on what’s going on in the Reagans’ professional lives as well as find out where the rest of the family falls on certain topics.

The Occasional Guest

Over the years, only a few people who have not been Reagans (or weren’t yet or weren’t married into the family anymore) have been granted a seat at the table, and that’s what makes the experience so special. Jamie (Will Estes) told the rest of the family he and Eddie (Vanessa Ray) were engaged by bringing her to dinner. (Watch it above.) Erin’s ex-husband Jack (Peter Hermann) has attended one. Outside the family, Frank’s old partner Lenny (Treat Williams) and Danny’s partner Baez (Marisa Ramirez) were the lucky ones to score invites.

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The Obvious: Everyone’s Together

While a majority of the family may work for the NYPD — or adjacent, in Erin’s case, as a lawyer — these dinners are really the only time we see everyone together, especially if one of Danny or Erin’s kids is in town visiting. Whether the atmosphere is light or tense, happy or solemn, there’s something special about the family at that table.

Blue Bloods, Fridays, 10/9c, CBS