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The characters of Blue Bloods weren’t wearing masks in the premiere of season 11. But the season does take place during the pandemic. That means Eddie (Vanessa Ray), Jamie (Will Estes), and more will be walking the streets uncovered. The showrunner explained the reason behind the decision.

‘Blue Bloods’ Season 11 takes place after the pandemic

Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan in 'Blue Bloods'
Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan in ‘Blue Bloods’ | Patrick Harbron/CBS via Getty Images

Season 11 will somewhat reflect our world with it taking place after the COVID-19 pandemic. The episode, “Triumph Over Trauma” showed Eddie helping a woman locate the body of her dead father. Her father died from coronavirus and was placed in a grave site for people who weren’t claimed.

That was the only story that acknowledged the pandemic. But there possibly will be more. Showrunner Kevin Wade previously told ET Canada it wasn’t possible to avoid covering it.

“I don’t think you can run far away from it, it’s something I’ve been talking about with our writers, with [showrunners] Warren Leight from Law & Order and Glenn Caron from Bull and with a lot of people, just how do you go back embrace it and yet how not have it drive the show, because at the end of the day we were never sort of making a documentary of life,” Wade said.

The producer didn’t want masked actors

The characters weren’t seen wearing masks in the premiere episode. This was mostly because the producer doesn’t like to see the actors covered up.

“On the other hand, on a purely practical level I don’t want to watch masked actors, particularly,” showrunner Kevin Wade told Deadline. “Now, I’ve seen other shows that are doing it and it feels, on the one hand, true and on another hand, anachronistic. The decision we’ve made was not to play the show that way.”

He went on to explain how they still made the pandemic part of the show. “We thought we can acknowledge the pandemic, which we do with a story in our first episode, and we acknowledge the rise of a very visible conflict really chasmed between Black communities and police forces in a lot of cities,” he said.

“So, we thought we need to acknowledge that, address is, but it was really considering do people tune into this show to see a reflection of the daily news? Or do they tune into it be entertained and possibly look for a reflection but not a documentary?” he continued.

The cast did wear masks and get tested to film


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Things might look normal in the episodes. But the cast did wear masks and get tested to film the show.

It sounds like the people who make the show want to balance telling new stories through current events, and having Blue Bloods being an escape for audiences. Fans will have to keep watching season 11 to see if the approach to covering the pandemic will change or stay the same.

[Correction 3/8/21: A previous version of this article claimed the events in season 11 take place during the pandemic.]