Donnie Wahlberg has established himself as something of a renaissance man since he burst onto the scene as a member of the ’90’s boy band New Kids on the Block. Aside from an acclaimed stint on the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” he had a multi-volume supporting part in the “Saw” series of horror movies, was a co-lead in the short-lived NBC drama “Boomtown,” appeared in the reality shows “Wahlburgers” and “Donnie Loves Jenny,” and co-founded the Wahlburgers casual dining restaurant franchise.
Wahlberg and the rest of the band reconnected in 2008 following a nearly two decade split. Since then, the guys have sporadically released new music, including the track “House Party” in early 2020. But, Wahlburg’s NKOTB past continues to be a part of his life in other ways, too. So is the CBS police procedural “Blue Bloods,” where he has played Detective Danny Regan since 2010. There’s something about Donnie’s portrayal of Danny that might go over the heads of even the most dedicated “Blue Bloods” fan, but keep reading and we’ll help clear things up for you.
These NKOTB references in Blue Bloods have the right stuff
According to an interview with Showbiz CheatSheet, Donnie Wahlberg admitted that he’s slipped a few verbal references to his biggest hits with New Kids on the Block into “Blue Bloods” dialogue.
“The first season I snuck a New Kids On The Block title in every episode. So I would tell, like Bridget [Moynahan, who plays District Attorney Erin Reagan, Danny’s sister]’s character, ‘Hey, hang tough’ and ‘Call It What You Want,’ ‘Step by Step.’ I was speaking in song titles pretty much every episode and nobody was really catching it because of the way I did it. But my music fans and the [New Kids On The Block] fans definitely were catching it. And every week they would hashtag whatever the song title was. It would usually end up trending on Twitter. I love it.”
That isn’t the only NKOTB-related Easter egg featured on “Blue Bloods.” According to Wahlberg, bandmate Jordan Knight appears in one episode as a criminal being handcuffed. He says he’s also trying to get Joey McIntyre to appear on the show.
Donnie Wahlberg hangs tough with Blue Blood fans on Twitter
Not only does Donnie Wahlberg like to slide references to his music career into “Blue Bloods” and then ask his fans if they’ve caught what he’s laid down (via his Twitter), even dropping some slightly obscure nuggets, such as this April 2020 reference to the song “Remix,” he even came very close to performing on the show in 2019.
In the 2019 episode “The Price You Pay,” Danny investigated a case involving Cameron Gooding (Leon), a rapper who appeared in the previous season. In “The Price You Pay,” he’s involved in a shooting that kills someone he knows. Danny eventually figures out that Cameron’s bodyguard fired the shots and planned to off his boss in the middle of a concert, forcing Danny and his partner Maria (Marisa Ramirez) into action.
Gooding tries to show his appreciation for Danny’s solid police work by inviting him onstage for a round applause from his fans. Danny humbly declines, to which Gooding counters, “You sure? You could help me open up. I know you know all the lyrics.” Danny, who Showbiz CheatSheet notes “has been portrayed as a contemporary music buff throughout the series,” cleverly replies, “In another life.” Get it?
Naturally, fans of both NKOTB and “Blue Bloods” hope the actor manages to find himself onstage and singing on the show soon!