In the Season 11 premiere of "Blue Bloods" ("Triumph Over Trauma"), fans were treated to a pleasant surprise when Donnie Wahlberg's Detective Danny Reagan finally invited his long-time partner to join him at the notorious Reagan family dinner table. The show's beloved family dinner scenes have been an integral and much-discussed element of co-creators Mitchell Burgess' and Robin Green's family law enforcement series for 12 seasons, and have become so sacred to fans that some have even called for a full episode of them (via Reddit).
Unlike the often tumultuous, musical and empty chair dinner table around which the Dutton family of "Yellowstone" takes out so much its pent-up aggression, the Reagan family dinners, while lively, provide a way to bring the family (and cast) together. Despite joining the series in Season 3, one of those cast members — Marisa Ramirez, who portrays Detective Maria Baez on the series — had yet to experience the now-requisite "Blue Bloods" meal.
In a 2021 interview with Pop Culture's Dan Levine, the star opened up about what it was like to take a seat at the infamous table, and why it was an emotional experience for her in more ways than one. When asked about her invite to dinner, Ramirez told Levine that her co-star and partner on the series, Wahlberg, had been "pushing for it for a long time," and that after eight years on the series, it was "actually very emotional" for her for reasons that she "didn't share with anyone at the time."
"Triumph Over Trauma" premiered on December 4th of 2020, and the timing of its shoot played a key role in what made the scene a powerful experience for the star. "First of all," Ramirez explained, "it was emotional and a little nerve-wracking for me as it was the first time I was in a room with so many people without masks on." Despite the fact that the cast had all been tested for Covid-19, being surrounded by and in such close proximity to other people after a long period of isolation was, understandably, a lot for the actor. What's more, Ramirez's grandmother — who was "a huge fan of 'Blue Bloods'" — had passed just two weeks prior to them shooting the scene.
"I so badly wanted to say something to Tom (Selleck)," she added, regarding her grandmother being a huge fan of the actor as well. "But I knew I wouldn't have been able to get out the words without crying and I really didn't want to look like a basket case at family dinner and not be invited back again."
Though she didn't share them at the time, Ramirez's thoughts of her grandmother helped quell her fears, and allowed her to feel "more comfortable and calm" during the shoot, despite the fact that her grandmother being unable to ultimately see the episode was "touching a rough spot in (her) heart" (via Pop Culture). While none of what the actor was feeling on a personal level sneaks through in the episode, it all adds yet another layer to the importance and meaning of her character's inaugural family dinner scene.