Few television dramas guarantee their casts will have a big on-camera meal each week.
That’s why the stars of CBS’ Friday police drama “Blue Bloods” know they’re in a rare situation every time they sit down around the fictional Reagan family’s dining table. The food in those scenes is very real, and the actors know it can be a challenge to export dialogue as they ingest calories or carbs … sometimes over and over again, if retakes are needed.
“It didn’t really occur to me” that edibles would be so prominent in the show, says Amy Carlson, now in Season 3 as Linda Reagan, the wife of New York cop Danny (Donnie Wahlberg). “In the pilot, we had this great dinner, and Tom (Selleck, who stars as Police Commissioner Frank Reagan) says he knew the whole time that it would be a regular thing. I had no idea.”
Carlson reports the filming of the dinner scene is “always a really big day. The most cast members are in, and it’s fun. It’s kind of like a minireunion. It’s a real source of bonding for us and for the [Reagan] family, so it serves a double purpose.”
So does the food, since besides serving as props, it gives the cast true nourishment. “We did an episode recently where we had all traditional Jewish food,” Carlson tells Zap2it, “and it was all from the 2nd Ave. Deli, one of my favorite places. And I ate too much; it was really good. Then we were laughing because we were back to just our regular food. I like it when there’s a theme.”
The food usually isn’t selected randomly either. “It comes from the writers,” Carlson reports. “About 75 percent of the time, it’s right in the script what we’re eating, but I think the prop people think about what they can feed us … mostly Donnie, because he’s the one who eats the most.”