Blood ties that bind

Actress Bridget Moynahan is thrilled that Blue Bloods, a police drama which focuses on family intrigue, is in its fifth season

Bridget Moynahan plays an assistant district attorney in a family of law enforcers in Blue Bloods.
Bridget Moynahan plays an assistant district attorney in a family of law enforcers in Blue Bloods.PHOTO: AXN

There are so many TV shows in the United States competing for viewers that it can be a brutal battle for any title to survive beyond two or three seasons.

One of the latest casualties is the critics' darling Hannibal. American broadcast network NBC announced last month that the thriller, starring Mads Mikkelsen as the titular sociopath, will be cancelled after a three-season run due to falling ratings.

In the midst of this, actress Bridget Moynahan cannot be more thrilled that Blue Bloods, the police drama in which she plays an assistant district attorney, is in its fifth season. Better yet, it represents the longest she has held any role.

Moynahan, 44, says there is no risk of complacency for her as she still "finds each episode a bit of a challenge". "Probably the biggest challenge is that you have to keep each new episode fresh," she tells Life and other regional media in a telephone interview.

"Hopefully, I am still putting the work into it, still caring about every episode. It's important for it to not just be a job. Even in those episodes that you have very little work, we try to still keep it present and alive and interesting."

While police dramas in the US are a dime a dozen, she thinks one of the reasons Blue Bloods is doing well is its focus on family intrigue.

The series follows the lives of the Reagans, a family of law enforcers in New York City.

In the three-generation household lives a former police commissioner, the current police commissioner and his three adult children, two of whom are cops.

Moynahan plays daughter Erin Reagan, a assistant district attorney who has to grapple with not just her family relationships, but also the demands of her job, which includes being held hostage at gunpoint and chased by mobsters.

She says: "I think what stands out about the show is the family aspect. We're not just solving a crime every episode, but through each episode, you're learning something about the characters, their struggles, their conflicts, their relationships.

"You get to understand them as people, not just as members of their professions. Viewers have grown to love these characters intimately. I don't know if you really get attached to the characters in other police dramas the same way."

Erin, she adds, is "independent, confident, intelligent, with a lot of conviction", yet another in a string of strong females she has played. Her breakout role was in the movie Coyote Ugly (2000), where she played rambunctious barmaid Rachel, and she has also starred as heroine Dr Susan Calvin in I, Robot (2004).

If it seems that she has been typecast for such roles, it does not bother her.

"I'm happy that a lot of my roles have been such strong ones. I think that's what the industry looks to me for," she says. "Obviously as an actor, it would be interesting to play different kinds of roles, but that's a lot of different roles, different women in different professions and situations, so it's not like I'm playing the same role over and over again."

That said, she admits to having a yearning to play more light-hearted roles in the future.

"It's always fun on Blue Bloods when it becomes a little bit lighter, so if we have moments between Erin and (Erin's detective brother) Danny that might be light... you get glimpses of it from time to time, so it's refreshing."

Despite having filmed Blue Bloods for five years, she has managed to find time for her family, specifically her seven-year-old son from her two-year relationship with National Football League star Tom Brady.

"The beauty of being on an ensemble cast is that we all have our time off. I have a lot of time to be a parent and spend time with my son," says the single mother.

"I love to have friends over to cook. I like to surround myself with good friends and family and kind of not really go out that much, just staying in and having a nice, easy time."

• Blue Bloods 5 premieres tomorrow on AXN (StarHub TV Channel 511) and airs from Monday to Thursday at 8.50pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2015, with the headline 'Blood ties that bind'. Subscribe