Tom Selleck stars as NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan on CBS'...

Tom Selleck stars as NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan on CBS' "Blue Bloods." Credit: CBS/Peter Kramer

The final season of “Blue Bloods” begins Friday (WCBS/2, 10), and we wouldn't be giving anything away by telling you this much: Expect classic “Blue Bloods.” Principled stands are taken, loyalties are tested (the episode is, after all, entitled “Loyalty”), while New York City's migrant crisis envelops both the mayor (Dylan Walsh) and his police commissioner (Tom Selleck).

In fact, all this feels like business-as-usual for a beloved series wrapping 14 seasons — far from one preparing for the end.

I spoke recently with Kevin Wade, “Blue Bloods'” longtime showrunner, about his endgame over these final 18 episodes (the final eight will air in the fall).

What's the plan for the 14th season?

We've looked at other shows taking that last lap after a long run, and the job first and foremost is to do good [episodes]. The audience neither wants, nor expects, nor welcomes a season of patting yourself on the back, or getting self-referential or self-reverential.

Will the theme of the 14th season remain much as it always has?

Personal responsibility, a sense of fairness — that if you take a stand for one social or law enforcement side, then you build a soap box of equal dimensions for the other side. If people felt respected by the show [it's because] that if we took one side, we certainly gave air to the other.


Family — or blood — is in the title; what sort of conflicts will arise out of these unshakable blood ties?

We'll be putting the main characters into conflicts that they could not genuinely walk back, and doing quite a bit of that, so that when they do resolve it, it strengthens [them] — you can't build a monument then stand back and look at it.

Anyone new?

We're bringing back actors in recurring roles who we've grown over the years, whether Stacy Keach (Archbishop Kevin Kearns] or Dylan Walsh [Mayor Peter Chase] or Jennifer Esposito [former NYPD officer Jackie Curatola] and a bunch of other people, but sadly not Treat Williams [who died in a motorcycle accident last year].


How will you say goodbye to the NYPD — which possibly more than any show in TV history, with the possible exception of “NYPD Blue” — “BB” has both lionized and criticized?

We have a fictional world and a fictional NYPD but … our approach has always reminded me of the end of 'Some Like It Hot,' when Jack Lemmon removes his wig, and says 'I'm a man!' and Joe E. Brown says, 'nobody's perfect!' That's always been our attitude about the NYPD — good people doing a hard job, some of them led astray, some too cynical to carry it out.


Thoughts about the finale this fall?

We'll have done 290 episodes with well over a thousand stories, so there's not a single plot thread or arc that we have to come back to [or resolve]. But obviously, it will be more in thematics — that family is important, and it's important to exercise that muscle, and challenge it.

How does it feel wrapping after a run like this? 

I don't think [Selleck] does want it to end, and I'm sure a majority of the crew doesn't either, but I'm gonna reverse the question in the sense that this has been an extraordinarily satisfying period for everyone who worked on the show. They'd all worked before but no job in show business ever lasted 14 years unless it's an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical or a handful of others, like Dick Wolf's wonderful 'SVU' or 'Grey's Anatomy.'


I do find it hard to believe someone at CBS hasn't thought about continuing in some capacity. Has there been any discussion — a movie perhaps?

I think there is some idea on the part of the current CBS to maybe [explore] a 'Blue Bloods 2.0,' but I don't know what it is or what the appetite is either. We're just trying to finish the job well. My point of view is that this was a wonderful epic run, but that everything ends. I don't think it's an open-ended thing, frankly, and the first axiom of show business is very simple — always leave 'em wanting more.


Final question — will you be shooting on Long Island?

About three weeks ago we were at a stable in Old Westbury. And yeah, if I have anything to do with it, we'll be out there at Youngs Farm (in Old Brookville) and Bayville again.

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