Blue Bloods: is a well oiled machine at this point.
Having aired new episodes on CBS for over a decade, it’s safe to say “Blue Bloods” is a well-oiled machine at this point. The main cast has largely remained the same, so they understand these characters inside and out. And those working behind the scenes have developed their own cinematic language to get any message across they want.
David Barrett is a TV legend, having worked on numerous series over the years as both a director and producer. He’s given particular attention to “Blue Bloods,” directing his first episode with Season 2’s “Leap of Faith.” Dozens of others have followed, and as he explained to Stunts Unlimited, he helped create the style guide to make “Blue Bloods” what it is. This includes working with other directors so that there are consistent themes and standards built across episodes. He told the outlet, “I tell other directors ‘This show is a painting, and each storyline is a color to this painting, so let’s approach it from a cinematic rhythm, if you will.'” He goes on to explain his method, and with the attention to detail that goes into every character shot, it’s surprising “Blue Bloods” hasn’t been nominated for any technical Emmys at this point.
Every Blue Bloods character has specific parameters
David Barrett set clear guidelines for how every Reagan should be shot. For instance, Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) receives very steady camera movements because he’s the leader of the family and, therefore, the guiding force. There shouldn’t be anything frivolous, with the camera staying very still to show how resolute Frank is in his commitment to the job.
Of course, this camera work wouldn’t work with every character. Frank spends a good chunk of time sitting behind a desk, so someone like Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) needs something different. Barrett elaborated for him, “Danny’s character I shoot on a really wide, wide lens. When he’s out on location, we make him feel like he’s a needle in a haystack and we stack him up with another character, so it’s very, very gritty … We keep him alive, we keep the camera moving with him, we shoot it point of view specific from all the Reagans, but we move with him. We want to put the audience in the car with him.”
Erin Reagan (Bridget Moynahan) receives a similar camera treatment to Frank since she sits a lot of the time, but her ideas are punctuated with some kind of movement. Barrett uses warmer camera lenses when shooting scenes featuring Jamie (Will Estes) and Eddie (Vanessa Ray) to showcase their love. And when it comes to the iconic Reagan family dinner scenes, the styles can collide with one another, creating a collage of styles at points. It’s clear a lot of thought and care goes into constructing every “Blue Bloods” episode, allowing the procedural to look its best years after it started.