Donnie Wahlberg freely cops to getting caught up in the role of Det. Danny Reagan, the resident loose cannon of “Blue Bloods.”
“A lot of what’s onscreen is stuff that just flies out in the moment,” he says. “I smack people that aren’t even suspects. Then as soon as they say, ‘Cut,’ I’m like, ‘Dude, I’m so sorry. Is your head OK?’ ”
The actor’s unpredictable performance made for arresting television during the CBS drama’s rookie season. As inhabited by Wahlberg, Danny is all rough edges and soft center — a man willing to employ questionable tactics, like shoving a perp’s head in a toilet to crack a case, even as his devotion to family never wavers.
“He can cross a lot of lines, but his heart is in the right place,” Wahlberg says. “I think that’s really the magic of the character.”
The performer’s own family ties attracted him to the plum part. Growing up in Boston as one of nine kids, including fellow actor brother Mark, Wahlberg was “always the peacemaker at the dinner table,” he says. “So it’s fun for me now to play the complete opposite — the one who throws fuel on the fire.”
Wahlberg’s acting career has been a slow and steady burn. While he’s turned in critically acclaimed performances in films such as “The Sixth Sense” and the short-lived NBC series “Boomtown,” he considers “Blue” his finest moment yet.
“It’s the right character for me at the right time,” says Wahlberg, who’s spending his summer hiatus on tour with his group New Kids on the Block. “Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had the life or acting experience to play Danny as good as I feel I can now.”
Supporting drama actor race wide open| Shows elevate when ensembles gel
Peter Dinklage | Michelle Forbes | Irrfan Khan | “The Killing” cast | Kelly Macdonald | Margo Martindale | Denis O’Hare | Amy Ryan | Michael Shannon | Donnie Wahlberg |