How Will ‘Blue Bloods’ Help Donnie Wahlberg on His New Show?

If you haven’t caught an episode of Donnie Wahlberg’s Very Scary People on the HLN network yet, you’re missing, well, some pretty scary people. Wahlberg takes the audience through the lives of some of history’s most notorious criminals from Charles Manson to the Zodiac Killer.

It’s hard to say if Wahlberg would have such an interest in true crime if he had not been portraying New York City detective Danny Reagan for the past nine years. But most likely because of how closely Blue Bloods has approached accuracy in depicting law enforcement is a contributing factor to Wahlberg’s dedication to the accuracy of Very Scary People.

Learning from real-life investigators

Wahlberg revealed to Tracy Swartz for a March 2019 Chicago Tribune article: “It’s a little less hollow when I’m speaking on these topics than maybe someone else might be. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, I’m just saying I’m an actor on a TV show. I’m not a real cop, I’m not a real homicide detective, I’m not a real investigator, but I work closely with a lot of them and study them intensely to be prepared to do my job and so I think that’s helping me prepare to do this job.”

“The access to actual news footage we have … makes us able to tell these stories in a way that really haven’t been told yet, in much greater detail and much more authenticity than a crime show you might find on another network that’s mostly re-enactments,” said Wahlberg, who also serves as a series executive producer.

Wahlberg’s training for his role as Danny Reagan on ‘Blue Bloods’

Since the beginnings of Blue Bloods, Wahlberg has spent time in the cars off and on the streets with NYPD officers learning how it is really done. He wanted to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk,” and he does just that.

The show’s technical advisor, James Nuciforo, spent more than 20 years as a police officer. He spends a lot of time each episode perfecting the language and actions of the show’s actors for their portrayal of NYPD officers and command staff.

“Let’s say [they get] a 56-page script, I’ll give them anywhere between five to 10 pages of notes on the script, just plugging in dialogue with more jargon,” Nuciforo told Country Living last December.

Tom Selleck, who portrays Frank Reagan, police commissioner and father to Wahlberg’s character, has said the actors, directors, and producers don’t claim to or try to make the show a perfect image of the real thing, but it often comes pretty close.

Furthering ‘Blue Bloods’ authenticity

Blue Bloods is filmed in various locations throughout the New York boroughs — the landscape is New York City’s own. The outside image of the Reagan family home, for example, is a house located in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge. The inside scenes of the home, including the Sunday dinner depicted in every episode, are actually shot on set in the studio, as are the scenes located in the police commissioner’s offices.

What about the authenticity of ‘Very Scary People?’

No doubt dealing with Blue Bloods authenticity has made Wahlberg even more aware of real life crime and the presentation of such on television.

“[There] are real victims, real bad guys and gals and real consequences,” Wahlberg shared with Madison.com’s Ileane Rudolph in March. “Its heavy stuff, and I take the responsibility seriously.”

As for true crime in general, Wahlberg had this to say, “When my son was young, he was obsessed with Godzilla movies and toys. He didn’t love Godzilla; he was terrified of Godzilla and that was a way to control his fear. That’s what crime shows do for us; they help us fear the unknown a bit less. HLN’s Forensic Files is one of my favorite shows.”