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Stars who left Blue Bloods and why: Amy Carlson, Jennifer Esposito & more

The hit CBS drama has said goodbye to a number of fan favourite characters over the years 

Megan Bull
TV Writer
April 29, 2024
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Blue Bloods is drawing to a close. After 14 years on the air, the popular CBS drama has officially been cancelled, with the final episodes set to premiere this fall. Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg and Bridget Moynahan are just some of the stars to have addressed the 'sad' ending, with the cast and crew noting that they've become a family on and off-screen. 

Since its inception in 2010, Blue Bloods has welcomed and waved goodbye to several stars across its 14-year run and with the end in sight, we're taking a trip down memory lane. From Amy Carlson to Jennifer Esposito and more, we remember the actors who made their mark on the series before taking a final bow…

Amy Carlson

Amy Carlson appeared as Danny Reagan's beloved wife Linda for seven years. Written out in the season eight premiere, the character was killed in an off-screen helicopter crash that left fans devastated. 

Amy Carlson and Donnie Wahlberg in Blue Bloods© Getty
Amy Carlson was written out of Blue Bloods in the season eight premiere

Speaking to Deadline in 2017, Amy suggested that while she'd simply decided not to renew her contract, she was surprised by the character's demise, telling the publication: "I feel badly that she dies the way she dies. I did not know they would do that, I was surprised. I wouldn't have done that."

Explaining that she was not invited to wrap up the storyline in the season eight premiere, Amy was asked how she would have handled it. "I could've shown the death. I guess It would've been nice for the fans to see her demise, to be a participant in it, and that was my vote for the fans," she noted. 

Amy Carlson in Blue Bloods© Getty
The actress decided not to renew her contract

"I'm not sure how I would've chosen it but I just know that for the fans to have a way to grieve, to move through it, I think it would've been nice for them. That's just what I hear from them all the time, 'We really want you to come back', and I'm like, that's impossible. But they also say we wish we could've mourned the character." 

Jennifer Esposito

Jennifer Esposito played Detective Jackie Curatola in the first three seasons of Blue Bloods but in 2012, her character was written out of the show after showing signs of stress and burnout, prompting her to leave the New York Police Department. 

Jennifer Esposito in Blue Bloods© Getty
Jennifer Esposito left Blue Bloods during season three

Before her departure, Jennifer had revealed that she'd been diagnosed with Celiac disease – a serious autoimmune disease which can develop at any age following the consumption of gluten. 

The actress had also tweeted about CBS' poor treatment of her following the diagnosis. "CBS…PUT me on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doc said you needed a reduced schedule due to celiac," Jennifer previously wrote. 

The TV star explained that CBS had treated her badly after she was diagnosed with Celiac disease© Getty
The TV star revealed that CBS had treated her badly after she was diagnosed with Celiac disease

"CBS didn't listen to my doc and I collapsed on set. Which everyone saw! After a week off my doc said I could return to work but CBS implied that I was NOT truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise!"

Responding to her comments, CBS eventually released a statement. "Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work on a very limited part-time schedule," the network began. "As a result, she's unable to perform the demands of her role and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence . . . We hope that she will be able to return at some point in the future."

Jennifer Esposito filming Blue Bloods in New York 2011© Getty
CBS released a statement explaining that Jennifer was "unable to perform the demands of her role"

Reflecting on the situation to Fox News in 2016, Jennifer has since declared that CBS failed to understand the severity of her medical condition. "I have been in the business for 20 years. There has been so many [types] of injustice in this business, but it's what you sign up for; it is what it is," she said. 

"This, though, is something that is not about me. This is about a disease that people don't understand. What happened was ugliness. It makes me sick."

Flex Alexander 

Flex Alexander made a brief appearance as Danny Reagan's partner, Detective DeMarcus King, in the Pilot but by episode two he'd disappeared off the face of the earth.

Flex Alexander in the Blue Bloods pilot© Getty
Flex Alexander appeared in the pilot but was let go

Speaking to Urban Bridgez in 2010, the actor revealed what happened. "I did a Pilot with Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg and Bridget Moyahan and it got picked up by CBS. There's this group called Poll Tracks, they came in and said they felt a woman should be his [Donnie Wahlberg's] partner. 

"It didn't have anything to do with me or my skills but it's what they want. So you go from you're doing a show, to now you're not. So those things and I have to admit, it rocked me for a minute. But I just felt you know what, I gotta get back up refocus and just work harder!" 

Sami Gayle

Sami Gayle is known and loved for playing Erin Reagan's daughter, Nicky. After becoming a mainstay on the show, however, the actress began making fewer appearances in series 10 and was notably absent from the 13th instalment. 

Sami Gayle in Blue Bloods© Getty
Sami Gayle took a break from Blue Bloods to attend Columbia University

As it turned out, Sami had taken a break from Blue Bloods to study for a degree at Columbia University. And, in a nod to the star's latest venture, the show even explained Nicky's absence by having her character focus on her education at the same school!

Sami is yet to rule out a return to Blue Bloods and with the series coming to an end this fall, we're hoping she might pop up in the final episodes.

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