Will Estes has been sitting down at the Reagan family table for Sunday dinners since 2010 as Sgt. Jamie Reagan, the Harvard-educated youngest son of New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) on Blue Bloods. Jamie was only promoted to sergeant in season 9, and for most of the CBS cop procedural’s run he was a rank-and-file officer at the 12th Precinct, the NYPD’s only beat cop with a Harvard Law degree.
Convincingly playing a New York City cop required a lot of preparation on Estes’ part, especially back when the show was new and he had never played a cop before. In a 2010 interview with liveabout.com, Estes said he received “a huge packet on the NYPD” from the show’s technical advisor, Jim Nuciforo, before he began playing Jamie Reagan in order to study up on everything he needed to know about life as one of New York’s Finest.
Nuciforo is a former NYPD officer who was on the force for almost 24 years, according to an interview with CBS 58. As Blue Bloods’ technical consultant (and occasional actor), he is responsible for making sure all the law enforcement stuff feels as real as possible. Details like the detectives leaving their jackets unbuttoned — because if you have to unbutton your jacket before you reach for your gun, you’re dead — come from him.
And according to AMNY, he’s taken every cast member except Tom Selleck to a shooting range to train them on how to properly handle a gun. He makes sure they get the same firearms training he got at the police academy in 1982. Selleck didn’t go because he’s Magnum P.I. and already knew his away around a handgun, but presumably Will Estes made the trip at some point.
From a Marine to a police officer
Estes also told liveabout.com that his prior experience playing a Marine prepared him for portraying a cop on Blue Bloods. “That action kind of transfers over,” he said. Before Blue Bloods, Estes’ most prominent role was on the ABC drama American Dreams as JJ Pryor, a Marine who fought in Vietnam.
“I know the police force likes the Marines,” he added. “You have to have 60 college credits in order to join the New York police force or have been in the military.” Estes is correct in this assertion, according to nyc.gov. Qualifying military service is one of the main reasons why so many police officers are also veterans.
Estes told liveabout.com that he hoped to do a ride-along and hang out at a precinct house to get to know some real cops. We can’t confirm if he ever did a ride-along, but Vanessa Ray, who plays Jamie’s NYPD partner-turned-wife Eddie Janko-Reagan, told Niagara Frontier Publications in 2014 that she and Marisa Ramirez, who plays Detective Maria Baez, did a ride-along, so maybe Estes did a tag-along.
Blue Bloods is currently in its 11th season on CBS, and airs Friday nights at 10/9c. Prior seasons are available to stream on Hulu and CBS All Access.