How beloved is TV icon Tom Selleck in his latest role, as NYPD Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on CBS's hit drama Blue Bloods? So beloved that real NYPD officers salute him while he's out and about in the city filming the show.
"My favorite reactions, the ones I get quite touched with, are getting salutes from real cops," Selleck said during Saturday's Blue Bloods panel at PaleyFest NY. "They'll salute me sometimes."
Blue Bloods executive producer Kevin Wade added that he's also experienced some less touching but still practical perks from his association with the series.
"I made an illegal turn onto 47th Street, and the cops were waiting for it," Wade shared. "I rolled down the window, and three cops come around, and I say, 'I'm sorry, I didn’t see the sign.'" Moments later, after he mentioned he works on a TV show — and tells them exactly which one — they waved him on.
You can watch the full Blue Bloods event, above, and read on for more highlights, including Selleck's surprising reveal about his lack of experience with technology, how the cast deals with all those eating scenes for the series' signature family dinners, and Selleck giving credit to his mentor, the late James Garner, for the biggest role of his career.
That's what Selleck called himself — well, we added the "P.I." — when asked why he and most of the other male cast members don't have Twitter accounts. "I am trying to master the intricacies of the iPhone 3," he joked, while adding that he's never sent an email (!) and has only sent one text message. Ever. His co-star, Len Cariou, said he's never sent an email, either.
"Don't eat," joked Amy Carlson, when asked how she and the cast avoid gaining weight, given all the noshing they have to do while filming the Reagan family dinner scenes. Selleck piped in that they use spit buckets, while Sami Gayle said they eat a lot of vegetables, and eschew the meat portion of the meal. Well, except for Mr. Selleck: "I start off with the meat."
Thank You, James Garner, for Magnum, P.I.
Selleck on how his mentor, James Garner, led him to his biggest career success, Magnum, P.I.: "I was a fan, and then I got to work with him on [The Rockford Files]. He gave me the pivotal advice of my career… I said, 'I had an old contract at Universal, it's over, and they've assigned me this show called Magnum, and I hate it. This guy's got a Ferrari, and women on his arm, and I don't like it.' And [Garner] said, 'Well, I'm not gonna give you any advice, except this: You don't have any power. You've never done a show… if they want you, and they do, you'll never have any more power than you do right now. And that's all I'm gonna say.' Well, I called my agent, and we told Universal, 'I ain't doing that show.' And they said, 'Who in the hell do you think you are? You've never been on the air, and you'll never work again.' I said, 'Well, OK.' And then they brought in [producer] Don Bellisario, who put a whole new show [together], much more Rockford-esque, and it changed my life."
Will They or Won't They? Should They or Shouldn't They?
Fans are waiting to see if Vanessa Ray's Eddie and Will Estes's Jamie will become a couple, but Selleck definitely has his own opinion on whether the show should answer that question definitively. "Remember Moonlighting," he said.
Selleck said it was briefly considered that Frank Reagan would not sport the famous Tom Selleck facial fur. CBS felt very strongly that he would. Crisis averted.
Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on CBS.