Since 2010, the CBS police drama “Blue Bloods” has invited viewers to join New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) and his kin for hundreds of family dinners. His retired father Henry (Len Cariou) dispenses wisdom gained during his tenure in Frank’s job, and Frank’s children — police Sergeant Jamie Reagan (Will Estes), Assistant District Attorney Erin Reagan (Bridget Moynahan), and Detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) — share stories of their crime-fighting exploits.
Four generations of Reagans, including Erin’s daughter Nicky (Sami Gayle) and Danny’s sons Jack and Sean (Tony and Andrew Terraciano), take this time together to hash out their professional and personal problems. “Blue Bloods” family dinners are dear to viewers and the Reagans alike (with at least one fan on Reddit requesting an all-dinner episode) and Season 2 is filled with important meal gatherings. In Episode 17, “Reagan v. Reagan,” Danny and Erin have a tense, but amusing, passive-aggressive argument after clashing in court that day, and in several early-season episodes, the family has nuanced discussions about the role of race in policing. But one particular family dinner stands out for its special meaning to a beloved character.
Henry’s heart attack almost ruins the year’s most important family dinner
In Season 2, Episode 8, “Thanksgiving,” Henry is hospitalized after he suffers a heart attack while preparing the turkey with Danny’s wife Linda (Amy Carlson) the day before Thanksgiving. With the most important family dinner of the year in jeopardy, Henry asks Frank to find a way to get him out of the hospital, but Frank declines, and Henry tells him to go home. Frank returns momentarily, however, and wheels Henry to the hospital cafeteria, supposedly to buy him a turkey sandwich as a tiny consolation for missing dinner with the family. But when they reach the dining area, the Reagans are there waiting at a fully-dressed holiday table, complete with the family’s turkey platter, a giant cornucopia, and the same bird Henry basted a night earlier just before collapsing on the kitchen floor. The grandkids smother him with hugs and kisses before the family sits to enjoy their holiday meal.
It’s the most touching and meaningful dinner of the season, and Henry delivers a special prayer that would make any clergy member proud. The meal is a surprise for Henry and viewers alike, and after almost losing their beloved patriarch, his family has some beautifully kind words for him. This particular gathering may not have the tension or exposition that sometimes comes with “Blue Bloods” dinner scenes, but it is beautifully executed and reminds us that the show is a family drama first and a police procedural second.