Why Did Amy Carlson Really Leave 'Blue Bloods'? (2024)

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The main cast of Blue Bloods has remained pretty consistent throughout the show's history, with familiar faces like Tom Selleck signing on for each new season year after year. But last fall, fans were shocked by the abrupt departure of actress Amy Carlson. Here's a breakdown of everything that happened around the death of her beloved character Linda Reagan.

Amy Carlson as Linda Reagan on Blue Bloods

Amy starred as Linda Reagan, the wife of Danny Reagan and mother of Jack and Sean Reagan. After taking some time off to be a stay-at-home mom, she returned to work as an ER nurse at St. Victor's Hospital in New York City. Linda first appeared in the show's pilot episode and remained as a main character throughout the seasons, as the show explored her occasionally tense but loving relationship with Danny.

Though Linda didn't work in the line of duty like her husband, she's had more than one run-in with death over the years. First, the mother of two was mugged at knife point. In another episode, Linda was caught in gunfire after a coworker's son was pressured into carrying out a hit on one of her patients at the hospital. She was shot twice, but again survived.

How Did Linda Die on Blue Bloods?

Why Did Amy Carlson Really Leave 'Blue Bloods'? (1)

During the season 8 premiere of Blue Bloods last fall, it was revealed that Linda had died in a helicopter crash. Her death was not shown on camera and had never been hinted at prior to the episode. Fans were upset about the fact of Linda's demise, but more distraught by the way her character had been suddenly written out of the show after so many years.

Wait...what?! Linda is dead? This is confusing. #BlueBloods

- Ashley Griffith (@ashRN2204) September 30, 2017

Seriously??? You cannot kill off Linda and just casually metion it in a therapy session! WE DEMAND DETAILS, TEARS, A FUNERAL! #BlueBloods

- ❌🌺Deb 🐝 K🌺❌ (@my2gr8girls) September 30, 2017

Following the premiere and Linda's death, Carlson confirmed her departure in an Instagram post. "My heart is full of gratitude to each of you for your generous support of me and my character for the last seven years of Blue Bloods – Linda Reagan," she wrote. "I have been touched by your compassion and enthusiasm. I loved playing Linda: wife to Danny, mother to Jack and Sean, nurse and working mom. I'm proud of my contribution to building this series. I'm so grateful to CBS and the Blue Bloods cast and crew. Mostly, I am grateful to the fans who have supported me and the show. Peace, blessings and many 'love you mores' to all of you."

The actress later revealed that she had some mixed feelings about the off-screen death herself. "I feel badly that she dies the way she dies," Carlson said in an interview with Deadline. "I did not know they would do that, I was surprised. I wouldn't have done that."

Asked how she would have preferred Linda to be written off, she said "I could've shown the death. I guess it would've been nice for the fans to see her demise, to be a participant in it, and that was my vote for the fans." Carlson also confirmed she made the decision to leave the show herself, but noted that she was not asked to return for the season 8 premiere to give Linda's story the ending that she and the fans wanted.

Blue Bloods Cast Reacts to Amy Carlson's Departure

Why Did Amy Carlson Really Leave 'Blue Bloods'? (2)

Fans weren't the only ones devastated by Linda's sudden death and Carlson's exit. Her cast members opened up about their "grief" and "disappointment" during a panel discussion at New York's PaleyFest, shortly after the season premiere.

Asked about how he approached playing Danny as a widower, Donnie Wahlberg said that he "thought about all the years together and all the highs and lows and the ups and downs and the journey. Any tears I shed in that scene was really Donnie shedding them for Amy."

Co-star Bridget Moynahan admitted to EW that she was "disappointed" by Carlson's decision to leave. "It was unfortunate that she made that decision at the end of season 7, so we were stuck with the story line as we could get it," she said. "But I'm really thrilled for her to go off and pursue other things and follow what she felt was best for her."

Will Amy Carlson Ever Come Back to Blue Bloods?

Though Carlson chose to leave the show, she says she would consider returning. When asked in an interview with Deadline if she would consider coming back to do a flashback of her own death, Carlson said she would be "open to that" to give fans "closure".

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As a seasoned enthusiast with an in-depth understanding of television series dynamics and character developments, particularly within the context of Blue Bloods, I can provide valuable insights into the abrupt departure of Amy Carlson from the show and the subsequent events surrounding her character, Linda Reagan.

Amy Carlson portrayed the character Linda Reagan, the wife of Danny Reagan and mother of Jack and Sean Reagan, in Blue Bloods. Linda initially appeared in the pilot episode and continued as a main character throughout the show. Her character's storyline involved a complex but loving relationship with Danny, exploring challenges both in her personal life and as an ER nurse at St. Victor's Hospital in New York City.

Linda faced various life-threatening situations during the series, including being mugged at knife point and getting caught in gunfire at the hospital. However, her unexpected demise occurred in the season 8 premiere, revealing that Linda had died in a helicopter crash. This revelation shocked fans, who expressed their dismay at the sudden and unanticipated exit of a long-standing character.

Amy Carlson confirmed her departure through an Instagram post following the premiere, expressing gratitude to fans and the Blue Bloods team for their support over the seven years she portrayed Linda. The actress later revealed mixed feelings about Linda's off-screen death, mentioning that she was surprised by the decision not to show the character's demise on camera.

Fans were not the only ones affected by Linda's departure; the cast members, including Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynahan, expressed grief and disappointment during a panel discussion at New York's PaleyFest. Donnie Wahlberg, who played Danny, shed light on his approach to portraying a widowed character, emphasizing the emotional investment in the years of on-screen partnership with Amy Carlson.

Amy Carlson, in an interview with Deadline, disclosed that she had made the decision to leave the show but would be open to returning for a flashback sequence of her character's death to provide fans with closure. Despite her departure, the possibility of a return remains open, allowing fans to hope for a resolution that aligns with their expectations.

In summary, the departure of Amy Carlson and the exit of Linda Reagan from Blue Bloods left a significant impact on both the audience and the cast, prompting discussions about the handling of character exits in long-running TV series.

Why Did Amy Carlson Really Leave 'Blue Bloods'? (2024)
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