Donnie Wahlberg plays a seasoned detective on CBS' "Blue Bloods," but he's bringing the real life story of cops on the streets of his hometown of Boston to TNT next month, with the premiere of "Boston's Finest."
"I've played a lot of cops on TV, which may seem like it doesn't really inform me in the real world, but it actually does. I've worked with cops for the last 15 years in different forms. When I was on 'Boomtown' I worked with LA cops, on 'Blue Bloods' I work with New York cops. I've worked with Boston cops," Donnie told reporters on Friday in Pasadena, Calif., at the Television Critics Association Winter 2013 Session, during the TNT network session. "I know a lot about playing a cop and what their lives are like and what they do every day and I think I was the right person to tell the story."
The unscripted series follows the lives of Boston police on duty and off, and according to Donnie, who is an executive producer on the show, "Boston's Finest" isn't just a regional remake of one of the most famous law enforcement reality shows of all time - "Cops."
"I grew up in Boston and I would not be allowed back in the city if I just tried to make a Boston version of 'Cops,'" he laughed. "It was a very delicate process putting the show together. The cops who are in the show grew up in neighborhoods that I grew up in, a bunch of them live on a street that my older brother lives on. We found it very important to make a show that represents Boston the right way."
Donnie said he wanted to show his hometown in a positive light and not focus on the headline grabbing members of reality TV.
"Every TV network that does reality shows, they're swarming Boston right now. 'We want like a bunch of drunk ladies like 'Jersey Shore,' but they all say, 'Clam Chowder!'" Donnie said, imitating what he's hearing networks are looking for. "Everyone wants these outrageous shows that will exploit Boston. I'm from Boston. I can't make a show that exploits Boston."
When a reporter brought up that Donnie's younger brother, Mark Wahlberg, is currently producing some reality shows that the reporter suggested were possibly more in a "Jersey Shore" vein (according to reports, Mark is working on two reality show projects, one focusing on tough talking women from Boston's mean streets), Donnie seemed to suggest he has to walk a straighter line.
"Mark has a little more latitude as a producer than I do. I have to be a little more careful with the stuff I do," he said. "This is the first show that's actually on the air that I've produced. Look, it's different for me because this is something that I'm passionate about. This is what speaks to my sensibilities. And I'm in Boston all the time. I mean, I'm in those streets every day. I deal with the people there every day so for me, it's the story that I want to tell, it's about the people that I know, it's about the people I grew up with, that I grew up around, and people who are doing heroic things."
While he's hoping for a classier show than "Jersey Shore," Donnie admitted he isn't opposed to tuning in if a Boston-style version hits the air.
"I might even watch the shows about the crazy 'Jersey Shore' people from Boston. I might even get a kick out of it, but it's just not the show that I want to make," he added. "This is the show that I wanna make. I think I was the right person to make it."
"Boston's Finest" premieres Wednesday, February 27 at 9 PM ET/PT on TNT.
-- Jolie Lash
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