“Blue Bloods” is an ongoing police procedural that’s centered on family even more than the “Fast & Furious” franchise … which is saying a lot, by the way. Starring talents such as Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, and Abigail Hawk, the series follows the Reagan family, all of whom work in law enforcement.
They eat together, fight together, bicker together, and, if the fans are correct, abuse the English language together. Here’s the setup. “Blue Bloods” uses certain words with notable frequency (it’s called a formula, folks), “forthwith” being chief among them. Seriously, it’s not so much peppered into the dialogue as it’s poured. For the CBS show, it might as well be the new “uh.”
A quick google is all it takes to find viewers who flock to community forums like Reddit to see if others have clocked the same repetition. Some view it as another reason to dislike the show, while others are just curious. Either way, it’s happened enough that fans formed their own theory as to why: “Blue Bloods” is using the term as a running in-joke. According to the showrunner, however, that’s not the case. Here’s the story, as shared by Kevin Wade, the showrunner himself.
Cops speak like Shakespeare, apparently
During an interview with TV Line’s Matt Webb Mitovich, as shared by Express, “Blue Bloods” showrunner Kevin Wade denied the existence of a long-running wordplay gag. While he loved the idea that fans thought there was a joke hidden in plain sight (plain hearing? No, that sounds weird), he assured Mitovich that any perceived over-usage of “forthwith” stemmed from actual police lingo.
“We used to use forthwith a lot in the early, early seasons because it’s an incredibly arcane NYPD thing that’s actually still used,” admitted Wade. “We were always like, ‘Nooo, some guy on the street with a cup of coffee and a donut is saying, ‘Yeah, do that forthwith?’ … We use it occasionally, but this reader is perhaps thinking we use it more than we do.” Wade went on to say that he’s found himself actively cutting the word more often because of the fan response but that there are times when the term serves too vital of a narrative function to excise.
In the end, this is a case of art imitating life until life told art to get more creative. Which begs the question, then, how long before the actual NYPD changes the term to avoid the same sort of comic backlash?