The following contains major spoilers from the Season 8 finale of CBS’ Blue Bloods.
CBS’ Blue Bloods this Friday capped a tension-filled Season 8 finale with more than a bit of feel-good sunshine.
After tugging at heartstrings with Danny’s visit to Linda’s grave, abruptly assassinating Erin’s boss, Monica Graham, and then spending much of the next 40 minutes fretting over which Reagan might land in the vengeful gunman’s crosshairs, viewers were probably and understandably spun up. Right up to and including a sequence where Jamie (played by Will Estes) came thisclose to being popped at close range, as a distraught Eddie (Vanessa Ray) raced to avert the tragedy.
That cheating of death gave the NYPD partners the push they needed to embrace life by not only copping to their feelings for each other, but take things ever further — which they announced at the family dinner, after Jamie had a place cleared for… his fiancee. (Damn, it’s dusty in here all over again….)
TVLine spoke with showrunner Kevin Wade about the very happy finale twist, its timing and the cast members’ own reactions.
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TVLINE | I have a sense you put a lot of happy tears in people’s eyes at the end of this year’s finale.
Oh, I hope so. And I’m especially pleased that it seemed to have remained a surprise up until [the time of this interview] almost 24 hours before it airs.
TVLINE | I was keeping an eye on the promos, because the promo people are always full of surprises. But they didn’t hint at it, didn’t even show Jamie and Eddie’s embrace in the street.
No, CBS has been great. I said, “You know, we had to surprise people with a not-pleasant surprise [Linda’s death] in the season premiere, so if we have a pleasant surprise in the finale, let’s at least endeavor to keep it secret.” And it looks like we have, which is great. I’m glad you liked it.
TVLINE | So, why now with Jamie and Eddie?
Well, it had run its course. It was clear from the start that the two actors had great chemistry and that all our writers were able to write to that chemistry, and then at a certain point in a long-running show, which this has certainly become, you do need to change things up. We played the “Will they/won’t they?,” the “Which one’s going to get seriously involved with someone else?,” and then I thought, “This isn’t ringing true anymore.”
What we had to really figure out was, how do we do this without throwing out the baby with the bath water? There are no good scenes about happy couples, so we have this one finale to have this one moment where you go, “Oh, that’s great, they finally recognize what the audience has known for three seasons.” Really, the last scene of the last episode of the season seemed like the only place to do it, so that’s the “Why now?”
TVLINE | The great “zag” was that if you simply had them recognize their feelings for each other in the finale, the audience would’ve been like, “Huh, that’s nice. We’ve been waiting for that.” But the fact you made the leap to engagement, that’s kind of fun and different.
I hope so. We kind of doubled down by having them share these vows that they’ve written for each other, which were about the exact same thing that cop partners would say to each other, you know? “I’ve got your back, I’ll wait for you, you can count on me,” all those things. It hopefully paves a road to go on, where we get to see those people together still, but they’ve recognized and shared with the audience that they get it, too, they’re kind of meant for each other.
TVLINE | I’ve got to ask, because we’ve presumed it all along and every time I’ve interviewed Will [Estes] and Vanessa [Ray] they’ve quoted it chapter and verse, how partners can’t be romantically involved, can’t be married: Did you have to fudge anything about the facts of the situation there?
No, it turns out it’s bulls–t. [Laughs] It’s not written anywhere. What is said in that scene is the absolute truth. It’s not written anywhere.
TVLINE | There’s nothing, no deterrent?
The only thing that has to happen is that their CO has to be informed — if not by them, then by somebody else. Two cops who are engaged to be married and working in the same precinct would be beholden to tell their CO of their plans, so we will deal with that in the beginning of the next season. But I think it was a surprise to even Jim Nuciforo, who’s a veteran NYPD and our long-standing tech advisor. I said, “Jimmy, is it written anywhere?” He said, “Of course it is, let me get back to you….” And he came back and he said, “Actually, no, it’s not.”
TVLINE | What kind of reaction did you get from the cast?
Pleasant surprise. Will and Vanessa needed to come around a bit; I needed to put it in some context, and assure them that we weren’t going to turn them into “the happy couple staring at each other over a checkered tablecloth at their neighborhood Italian restaurant.” I told them, “We have no appetite for that as writers and the show has no room for it, so we’re just going to acknowledge that you guys have grown this relationship into it and move on. You will continue to have to be each other’s advocates and devil’s advocates and we’ll go from there.”
TVLINE | Was it planned symmetry that you started the season with an empty chair at the table, Linda’s, and you ended the season filling it?
If you write it that way, I would look really good, but no. No, I’d say around the middle of the season or a little before I sort of went, “I think this is where this is going and I think this is how we could do it.” It was always going to be the last scene of the season, so then we got to go, “Oh, we’ll just make it the family dinner scene and he brings her in.” For 178 episodes or whatever it is, there’s never been a non-family member at that table so this is a great way to break that pattern but keep the tradition alive. It’s a new family member.
TVLINE | Lastly, tell me about the crazy weather you got for this finale, because in the cold open with Danny at the cemetery, there’s snow everywhere — and then there wasn’t. What happened?
[Laughs] It was one freaky week in New York. The open was not written to be the open, but once I got there and looked around, and we had to shoot it, I thought, “OK, well, this is going to be kind of a standalone [moment].” [Director] Dave Barrett shot it beautifully, but God and nature provided this sudden April or late-March snowstorm that I think really sets a very nice mood for the finale.