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Len Cariou reflects on how long he wants Blue Bloods to last

Blue Bloods
Len Cariou as Henry Reagan on Blue Bloods. Pic credit: CBS

Len Cariou is enjoying getting another year to play the patriarch of the Reagan clan.

The Tony-award-winning actor is happy that Blue Bloods will be getting a 13th season this fall. He also discussed his connection with his on-screen family and how many years they hope the series goes. 

Henry Reagan and his Blue Bloods power

While Frank Reagan is often seen as the heart of the Reagan family, his father Henry is its soul. 

The former police commissioner still has a feisty side, able to put any of his grandchildren and even his son in their place. While he reflects on the changing times, Henry supports his family in their problems and is always there to help.

Season 12 has seen some intriguing plotlines for Henry. He once took to stopping crimes on his own just to prove he could still do the job. He also became convinced a former aide had been murdered as he couldn’t accept the younger man died in a freak accident.

There were also worries about Henry’s age catching up to him which could be a focus in this week’s coming episode.

But speaking to Looper, Cariou talked about how he’s loved 12 seasons working with Tom Selleck and the rest of the cast and hopes to continue. 

“It’s great fun. I’m very proud of him. He’s doing an excellent job. It’s not an easy job. I know because I had it. Tom is a great guy. He’s our fearless leader, for sure. He’s been at it all his life, in the television business. He knows all the ropes, and it’s a great pleasure to be with him. He’s a fine actor and we enjoy one another’s company. All of us. It’s a very happy company.

When the proposition came to me, my wife got the appointment on the internet from my agent and said, “This show, you’re going to get this role playing Tom Selleck’s father and it’ll run for ten years.” I laughed at her. In the first place, Tom and I … Who’s going to buy me being Tom Selleck’s father? We’re only about a generation apart. Lo and behold, [about] 13 years later…”

Cariou noted the biggest challenges are those famous Reagan family dinners and how tricky they can be to film.

However, it also allowed him to get into the character of Henry and show the strength that made him so popular. 

“We’re there for a long time. There’s nine of us, so the scene takes a long time to film. When we filmed the pilot, it was the very first scene that we did, and I said to Leonard Goldberg, our founding exec producer, “Why are we doing this first? We hardly know one another.” He said, “Well, I want there to be one of these scenes in every episode. So, I figured baptism by fire. Let’s see if it works.” He came back the next day and said, “It works like gangbusters.

The first thing that we filmed was the first dinner scene, and we all had to make up a history, right then and there, on the spot. Who was the oldest in the family? What was our background? What was my background? We made one up and established the family business right then and there.”

Naturally, like a real grandfather, Cariou refuses to say which of the co-stars is his “favorite” but “we all respect one another greatly, because everybody’s doing such a great job.”

Cariou on the future of Blue Bloods

Len Cariou
Len Cariou as Henry Reagan on Blue Bloods Pic credit: CBS

The interview had been conducted before the confirmation that Blue Bloods would get a Season 13. Cariou was confident of it and is hopeful the show would continue for many years. 

“We’ve all said, “Hey, we want to do 20,” and that’s even from Tom’s mouth. We met with the new mayor of New York [Eric Adams] and he said, “Keep it going, guys. Keep on going.” We’ve injected a lot of money into the city of New York over those 12 years, and the mayor’s saying “keep it going” because it’s good for their commerce.”

Cariou credits the writing staff for keeping the show up to date on the debate on police conduct even as he tries to skirt a few notable real-world events. 

“The writers have to stay as current as they can. For instance, they decided that COVID didn’t exist because our executive producer said, ‘Nobody wants to see you and Tom and the kids with masks on. This is fiction. It’s not reality.’ But stealing from the headlines is pretty easy to do in these times.”

While fans may be a bit worried about Henry’s health, Cariou’s words indicate the Blue Bloods cast is ready to keep on entertaining viewers for many seasons to come.

Blue Bloods Season 12 airs Fridays at 10/9c on CBS.

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