|Amy Carlson jokes she used to have the “pass the beets” role on the CBS cop drama “Blue Bloods,” where each episode includes a scene when the family gathers for dinner.|
Not this season, though. Thanks to her elevation to series regular, she’s getting meatier stuff as Linda Reagan, the wife of Danny (played by Donnie Wahlberg).
“I’m a full part of the family dinners,” says Carlson. “Now, about every third episode, they focus on Danny and Linda’s relationship.”
That happens Friday at 10, when Danny, a detective, and Linda end up in the crossfire of a shooting. The incident puts their kids at risk and exposes the hot-button topic of kids, guns and violence.
The shooting sends Danny on a manhunt to get the gunman, while also teaching his children about gun safety.
“It was a really intense story for so many reasons,” Carlson says.
The episode of the New York-based show was shot around Christmas, when the cast and crew were weary, she says. But the story line hit home on the set.
“While we were shooting one of the most powerful scenes, about introducing a child to a gun, one of our technical advisers said the same exact thing happen in his home,” says Carlson.”
“Police officers have guns in their homes,” she adds. “It’s very touchy and very personal, but it’s a required topic.”
Another equally strong story line revolves around Frank Reagan, played by Tom Selleck, who is dealing with the imminent death of a friend he worked alongside at Ground Zero on 9/11.
“Blue Bloods” is about a family of New York City cops, led by Selleck as commissioner. It is the latest in a long list of work for Carlson on series that have crime, police or first-responder themes.
She started in daytime in 1994 on “Another World,” and eventually moved to prime time with roles in such series as “The Peacemakers,” “The Untouchables,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” and “Third Watch,” where she played a paramedic split in half by an explosion.
“I think I’ve always been drawn to these roles,” she says. “It comes naturally to me. It gets me excited. To play a cop’s wife — there’s so much in that world, the wives or partners of anyone who is a first responder — it’s not an easy job. It’s not an easy way to live, to say goodbye to someone in the morning and not know what’s going to happen throughout the day.”
Carlson says she’s always been drawn to roles with a little more meat, rather than being a wife or girlfriend in a sea of men, she says.
“I feel like I kinda get them,” she says of roles in shows about the uniformed services.
“For me,” she says, “it’s about inhabiting another person and to be able to tell a story that’s real and resonates.”