Emmy Hopefuls: The case for Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg

Blue Bloods season 8 episode 7We’re back with another edition our Emmy Hopefuls article series today, and we’re shifting over to someone who managed to have a revelatory performance during the 2017-18 season in Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg.

Don’t get us wrong, as we certainly knew that Wahlberg was a strong performer going into season 8 of the CBS crime series. Yet, this is where we started to see him take things to another level. There was a great sadness that came in losing Amy Carlson from the series, as the death of Linda Reagan remains to this date one of the biggest surprises of the past year of television. Yet, through that sadness Donnie was able to deliver some of his strongest, rawest work as Danny Reagan. From the premiere episode onward, you saw a side of Danny that hadn’t quite been there before: He was lost. This was a main who was always confident in his abilities as a husband, as a father, and of course as a detective. He had his flaws and insecurities much like anyone else, but he still somehow figured out a way in which to get through them.

In season 8, however, Danny was questioning everything. He didn’t know how to move forward without the love of his life, he questioned being a cop, and he didn’t even know how to cook proper food for his sons. This was an emotional side to the character who was devoid of any walls — he was broken, and we saw him struggle to stay afloat in the first part of the season. This allowed Wahlberg to take the character into a place he hadn’t been before and take on fascinating, difficult material with several co-stars. Blue Bloods is often a show that is so much about a format, and losing Linda did serve as a way to break that down and force Danny into different roles and situations. The writers and Donnie as a performer turned a negative into a positive as best they could. There’s still no replacing Amy Carlson.

While eventually Blue Bloods started to settle back into its groove, Danny’s story still was not what it once was. There were little moments of vulnerability for him sprinkled into almost every episode, and then a powerful reminder in the finale of what he went through as a whole. The scene by Linda’s grave in that episode was a harrowing remainder of her death and Donnie was able to slip back into that place before decided to keep pressing on. We saw the darkest side of Danny Reagan this season, though there were also some moments of humor and frustration for the character, as well. The rebellious side of the man is still there, as is his determination. We just had a few new dimensions present to go along with them.

What are Donnie’s chances at an Emmy nomination? – More than any other year we’d love for it to happen, but it probably remains a longshot given that A) the Emmys don’t often recognize network shows and B) they also don’t tend to recognize those that have been around longer than five or six years. Yet, our hope is that in floating Donnie’s name out there, at least some within the critical community will pay attention and really consider his body of work this year. Fingers crossed this gets the ball rolling.

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