The death of Blue Bloods‘ Linda Reagan was as tragic as it was sudden. A recent Season 13 episode alluded to Danny’s years-ago loss, and maybe got you wondering if you know the full story behind his wife’s demise. Well, here it is.
WHEN DID LINDA REAGAN DIE?
In the CBS drama’s Season 8 premiere (circa September 2017), the revelation that Linda (played by original cast member Amy Carlson) had died — off-screen, in May of that year — trickled out slowly over the first half-hour, via vague references to her not being in Danny’s life.
Our eavesdropping on a therapy session found a retirement-pondering Danny angrily accepting “fault” for whatever happened with Linda after the fire that destroyed their home, yet thankfully left the family unscathed, in the Season 7 finale.
Then, in a second session, Danny’s shrink made it clear to us that Linda was dead.
“Linda’s death wasn’t your fault. She was doing her job [as a nurse]. She died doing what she loved,” Danny’s therapist noted, dropping the bombshell on viewers. “She died in a helicopter crash, airlifting her patient.”
WAS LINDA REAGAN MURDERED?
Blue Bloods‘ Season 9 premiere introduced the possibility that said MEDVAC crash had been orchestrated, by Mexican cartel member Louis Delgado aka The Panther (played by guest star Lou Diamond Phillips).
“First your house burns up and then a chopper goes down — that’s some pretty bad mojo you carry around,” Delgado said to Danny upon being brought in for questioning about a cartel-related murder.
Since Delgado had already (and gladly) taken credit for the torching of Danny’s home at the close of Season 7, it could be inferred that he was hinting at having a hand in Linda’s work-related tragedy as well.
As Blue Bloods showrunner Kevin Wade told TVLine at the time, “The fact that Delgado brings it up certainly sounds alarms for Danny, and likely does for the audience as well.”
WHO KILLED LINDA REAGAN?
Later in Season 9, in the episode titled “Common Enemies,” it was confirmed for us and for Danny that Linda’s MEDEVAC helicopter crash was ordered by murderous cartel member Jose Rojas (guest star Danny Trejo), who had also just killed Delgado’s own wife.
“We both want Jose Rojas. He’s responsible for the murder of my wife and of yours,” Luis told Danny, before the unlikely allies teamed up to find Rojas and… almost kill him in cold blood… but instead cuff him and bring him to justice.
WHY WAS LINDA KILLED OFF?
Weeks after the episode that revealed Linda’s death, TVLine learned that original cast member Amy Carlson had elected to part ways with the show.
“Amy made the decision to leave, but we adore her,” Sami Gayle, who plays Nicky, told us at a PaleyFest event for the well-watched CBS series. “We’re very sad she left.”
Showrunner Kevin Wade in turn told TVLine in spring 2018, “I was between a rock and a hard place, because the simple fact of the matter was that [Carlson] decided not to renew her contract. And because that happened after we’d wrapped the previous season, we really had very little wiggle room, but we did the best we could with a tough situation.”
Shortly after Linda’s off-screen sendoff aired, Danny’s portrayer, Donnie Wahlberg, shared this about Carlson via Twitter: “In my 35-year acting/singing career, I’ve worked with some great talents. Amy Carlson and [original Blue Bloods partner] Jennifer Esposito are two of the greatest!
“I know many Blue Bloods fans will miss Linda Reagan. None more than me,” he added. “Amy Carlson is a gift, a light and a true friend on- and off-screen.”
WHAT DOES AMY CARLSON THINK OF LINDA’S DEATH?
Like many Blue Bloods fans, Amy Carlson was not fond of Linda’s hasty, off-screen exit.
“I feel badly that she dies the way she dies,” Carlson told our sister site Deadline in November 2017. “I did not know they would do that. I was surprised. I wouldn’t have done that.”
Although Carlson did not discuss the circumstances that led to her departure, she did say that she “was not invited” to appear in the Season 8 opener. Had she turned up in the episode, it might’ve cushioned the blow for fans, she posited. “It would’ve been nice for the fans to see her demise, to be a participant in it,” she lamented. “They also say [they] wish [they] could’ve mourned the character.”