Emmy Hopefuls: Can Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg earn a nod?

Blue Bloods season 9

Blue Bloods has (for almost a solid decade at this point) earned a reputation for being one of Friday night’s most popular shows. This show remains perhaps one of television’s most underrated regardless of it being an incredible show — maybe its procedural nature, or maybe it is just because there are so many police shows on television that all of them start to blend in. It’s various shades of blue (to throw a nod in here to another cop show) and over time, people start to feel they all start to look the same even though that is not the case with Blue Bloods in the least!

This is where a closer look is required — not just in terms of the series itself, but also the overall performances that constitute it. Within the lens of Blue Bloods, we want to take a look at some of the excellent work that goes in every single week. This is where Donnie Wahlberg stands out — with the nuances, with the emotion, and with the ability to show that he (and Danny Reagan) are so much more than just your standard TV tough cop.

While there are a number of different examples that you could look toward in order to identify an exceptional Donnie performance, the one that stands out the most to us is in the episode “Common Enemies,” an installment that aired earlier this year featuring the return of Lou Diamond Phillips as Luis Delgado. The two ended up working together to take down (naturally) a common enemy, someone who was apparently responsible for the deaths of both of their wives. We don’t love to see Danny distraught, but there is no denying that Wahlberg shines the brightest during his character’s darkest hours. It allows him to dive into some of his sorrow and explore these difficult corners of the mind — how a tough, hardened cop mourns and deals with tragedy at his doorstep. It allows you to see a determination, but also uncertainty. Questions about what the next step should be or how even to make the next step happen.

Donnie can do a lot without saying a lot and that really says something about an actor — take the closing scene of that episode where he removes the wedding ring. You see the reverence that he has within his eyes still for Linda, and the weight of that moment and how he desperately wants to honor her memory. You see Danny the cop plenty navigating the streets of New York City with Baez at his side, but that was strictly about Danny the person, Danny the husband. There are common bonds between the two, but Wahlberg excels at finding these vulnerabilities in the characater and bringing those to light.

The fact that Donnie is still able to find and explore new emotional avenues nine seasons in is a testament to the work that he’s doing as this character. It suggests a willingness to still explore, and then also an interest in trying to tackle and work on a wide array of different genres. We’ve seen more comedic, lighthearted moments for the Danny character, but then also ones where he is an action hero and then also ones where he’s at the center of a family drama. Throughout the season we saw him clash with Jamie, search for clues where there almost weren’t any, and make incredibly tough decisions like understand the difference between justice and revenge. Wahlberg, every week, takes us on a unique journey and finds a way to make each one feel special. Anytime he has to sink his teeth further into what makes Danny tick or what keeps him up late at night, he hits it out of the park.

Is Donnie an underdog?

Almost certainly, but that does not change the fantastic work he continually does in this role, or how the Emmys desperately do need to change the way in which they examine shows and contenders. If you watch “Common Enemies” and don’t consider this many to be worthy, we don’t even know what you’re looking for.

Do you think that Donnie Wahlberg is Emmy worthy for his role as Danny Reagan? Be sure to share right now in the comments, and be sure to check back soon for some other news.

(Photo: CBS.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!