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Why Did Linda Leave Blue Bloods? Amy Carlson’s Exit Explained

Why Did Linda Leave Blue Bloods? Amy Carlson’s Exit Explained

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Sometimes when a character leaves a show, it catches everyone off-guard, from the fans to the production crew. That’s what it felt like when Amy Carlson’s Linda Reagan disappeared off-screen on Blue Bloods, never appearing again.

Her abrupt exit surprised and saddened fans of the character. To them, it felt like a hasty cover-up for an unexpected departure from the actor.

But was it really a surprise, or did the writers and producers expect her to leave all along? Find out the real reason Amy Carlson left Blue Bloods and how she felt about her exit.

Why Did Amy Carlson Leave Blue Bloods?

Amy Carlson signed a seven-year contract for Blue Bloods which she chose not to renew, leaving the show after season 7.

Carlson wrote an open letter to her fans about her departure, saying, “I loved playing Linda [Reagan]: wife to Danny, mother to Jack and Sean, nurse and working mom. I’m proud of my contribution to building this series.”

However, per Deadline, her original contract was only for seven years, and she chose not to renew it. She didn’t give a specific reason as to why she didn’t renew her contract, though.

She does, however, want to make it clear that her departure shouldn’t have been a surprise to the other cast and crew.

Bridget Moynahan, who played Linda Reagan’s sister-in-law, said, “It was unfortunate that [Carlson] made that decision [to leave] at the end of season 7, so we were stuck with the storyline as we could get it.”

Carlson tweeted a response the next day, although she didn’t specifically name Moynahan, saying the comments “appalled” her.

Later, in her interview with Deadline, Carlson refuted the idea that her departure surprised her castmates.

“If someone had said they were surprised and they didn’t know I was leaving, I would just respond to them and say it’s standard to have conversations with actors whose contract are up prior to the season ending.”

In short, Amy Carlson didn’t “suddenly” leave the show, like some actors do. Instead, she had a fixed number of years contracted, and most people involved in the show likely would have known that the deadline was approaching long before it did.

“It’s not that you start to shoot and don’t know.”

Will Amy Carlson Every Come Back To Blue Bloods?

Amy Carlson says she’s open to coming back to the show in flashbacks for her fans.

Carlson says she hears a lot from her fans about coming back. “hear from them all the time, ‘we really want you to come back’, and I’m like, that’s impossible. But they also say we wish we could’ve mourned the character.”

So, in honor of her fans, Carlson says she’d be willing to return to the show in a flashback in needed. “I never wanted it to end that way, so I feel sad for the fans because everyone wants closure, and I hear that a lot from the fans. So of course I’d be open to [coming back for a flashback]. Sure.”

Fans and Cast Reactions to Amy Carlson Leaving Blue Bloods

Some of the cast of Blue Bloods said they felt just as much grief as Amy Carlson’s fans after she left.

Donnie Wahlberg, who played Carlson’s husband (now widower), sent a tweet out to the Blue Bloods audience after Carlson’s departure.

He also said in an interview, “I know the audience is grieving her loss too, a lot […]

“[…} I think if everyone rides the season out and takes that journey with the family as well, they will go through those stages of grief together and do what Blue Bloods typically does: makes us all on family.”

“Hopefully this family of our cast, the show, and the viewers will all mourn the loss together and move forward after this season.”

And the fans certainly mourned – some of them angrily.

But some fans simply wished Amy Carlson the best with her next projects:

What Is Amy Carlson Doing Now?

Amy Carlson continued to act in both TV and movies after leaving Blue Bloods.

She had a role in the films A Bread Factory, Part One (2018), The Incoherents (2019), Sunny Daze (2019), and Know Fear (2021). As for TV, she appeared on The Village (2019), The Society (2019), and had a brief recurring role on FBI: Most Wanted (2020-2021).

Her last appearance in either TV or movies was in 2021.

How Did Blue Bloods Write Off Linda Reagan?

Linda Reagan died off-screen in the season 8 premiere of Blue Bloods in a helicopter crash.

The first episode of season 8, “Cutting Losses,” does not feature Linda but doesn’t immediately explain why. Instead, it only shows that her husband, Danny, is struggling with something big. Finally, during one of his therapy sessions, Danny reveals that Linda is dead.

She was doing her job as a nurse and transporting a patient. The helicopter they were in crashed, causing her death. The show never explicitly states the timeline, but it’s likely the episode takes place several months after the tragedy.

Still image of Linda on Blue Bloods

Linda’s actor, Amy Carlson, says she was not happy with how the show wrote off her character. “I feel badly that she dies the way she dies. I did not know they would do that, I was surprised. I wouldn’t have done that.”

“It would’ve been nice for the fans to see her demise, to be a participant in it, and that was my vote for the fans. I’m not sure how I would’ve chosen it but I just know that for the fans to have a way to grieve, to move through it, I think it would’ve been nice for them.”

Carlson also says that production did not invite her back for the season 8 premiere to give her character a better send-off. “No, I was not invited, it didn’t happen.”