Most of the talk about Blue Bloods performers tend to center around Tom Selleck, although the ensemble that also includes Bridget Moynahan, Donnie Wahlberg, Will Estes, Len Cariou, and Vanessa Ray still gets plenty of attention. Lately, though, some Blue Bloods viewers are focused on side performers.
That would be the guest stars, who have included Ed Asner and Lyle Lovett, who are making appearances on the show’s 10th season. However, Blue Bloods has had a number of notable guest stars in the past, and guest stars in general, are so important, they have their own Emmy category.
Blue Bloods fans applaud the guests
When Blue Bloods’ official Twitter account highlighted Asner’s appearance earlier this month, fans cheered as they basked in warm memories of the man they best remembered as Lou Grant from the Mary Tyler Moore show. One fan said, “I can’t wait for an all-new episode, watched all day yesterday on ion channel & with my DVD collection as well.” Another chimed in with “Ed Asner and Tom Selleck together? Cool!”
Asner appeared in episode 15 of the show’s tenth season, and it wasn’t just a cameo. Asner played Mr. Kay, an old friend of Frank’s. Someone broke into Mr. Kay’s apartment, stole his things, and assaulted him as well. Frank reassured the one-time movie theater manager, with this choice exchange:
Kay: You’ll be there for me?
Frank: Of course. Maybe we’ll take in a movie.
Kay: They don’t make movies for you and me anymore.
Frank: So we’ll go to my house and watch Turner Movie Classics.
Other notable guests have appeared on Blue Bloods
Lyle Lovett had been a guest star earlier in season 10, playing a Texas Ranger. This was hardly Lovett’s first rodeo with playing someone in law enforcement. He played a detective in the classic Robert Altman film The Player, about a murder mystery in Hollywood.
TV Insider has a gallery of other notable names to appear on the show, including Stacy Keach as the archbishop who married Jamie and Eddie, Callie Thorne as a medium, Bebe Neuwirth, who has been suggested as a possible romantic partner for Frank, and Bobby Cannavale, who returned to his season 1 role as Erin’s former boss.
Perhaps the most notable of the guest stars was Treat Williams, who plays Lenny Ross, Frank’s former partner. Williams returned for Blue Bloods’ 200th episode and even got to participate in the family dinner scene, something very few outside the Reagan family manage. Williams told TV Insider:
“I love this first episode of Blue Bloods. It’s so fun. There are many, many surprises in the life of Lenny. Frank always does the right thing and gets involved.”
Guest actors have their own Emmy category
Guest stars have been a part of TV since its inception, but the guest actor Emmy was a relatively recent creation. The category was introduced in 1975 when the first winner was Patrick McGoohan for a performance on Columbo. The most recent winner was Bradley Whitford for his appearance on The Handmaid’s Tale.
When it comes to females who won the award, it’s harder to parse, because, before 1988, the guest category was not gender-specific. The most recent guest actress winner for a drama series was Cherry Jones for The Handmaid’s Tale, and the comedy winner was Jane Lynch for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Blue Bloods has only been nominated for a single Emmy in its entire run: Outstanding Stunt Coordination. However, Asner has won a record high of seven: Three for Mary Tyler Moore, one each for Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots, and two for Lou Grant.