Amy Carlson as Linda Reagan
Credit: Getty Images

When Linda Reagan left Blue Bloods in 2017, her character’s tragic off-screen death was met with outcry. Everyone was left wondering: Why did Linda Reagan leave Blue Bloods? Keep reading to learn what happened to Amy Carlson and if it was her choice to leave the CBS drama.

Blue Bloods is CBS’ long-running police procedural that follows the fictional Reagan family who have a long history with law enforcement. The TV series premiered in September 2020 and is currently in its 13th season (TV Insider reported in March 2023 that it was renewed for Season 14). The show stars Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Will Estes, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Abigail Hawk, Vanessa Ray and more.

Amy Carlson played Linda Reagan from the first season in 2010 to her character’s death in 2017. Linda was the wife of Detective Daniel “Danny” Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) and the mother of Jack and Sean Reagan. Her father-in-law, Frank Reagan, is the New York City police commissioner, and his family is positioned throughout the criminal justice system. Reagan worked as an emergency room nurse at St. Victor’s Hospital in NYC, but tragically died in a helicopter crash off-screen in Season 7.

So, why did Linda Reagan leave Blue Bloods after seven years? We’ve got the answer below — plus see the actress’ response to getting killed off screen and what she would have done differently to wrap up her character’s story.

Why did Linda Reagan leave Blue Bloods?

Amy Carlson and Donnie Wahlberg on Blue Bloods

Why did Linda Reagan leave Blue Bloods? Amy Carlson decided not to renew her seven-year contract, which ended at the end of Season 7. She didn’t give a specific reason about her exit at the time, but the actress expressed her gratitude to her fans and her character in an Instagram post on September 29, 2017.

“My heart is full of gratitude to each of you for your generous support of me and my character for the last seven years of Blue Bloods. I have been touched by your compassion and enthusiasm. I loved playing Linda: wife to Danny, mother to Jack and Sean, nurse and working mom,” she wrote in the caption. “I’m proud of my contribution to building this series. I’m so grateful to CBS and the Blue Bloods cast and crew. Mostly, I am grateful to the fans who have supported me and the show.”


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After Carlson’s exit from Blue Bloods, the actress spoke to Deadline in November 2017 about her departure. When asked what she missed most about playing Linda, she paid tribute to her former costar and on-screen husband, Donnie Wahlberg.

“What I miss most is working with Donnie, and Donnie has been a dream since I left. He said something really sweet about me on the Andy Cohen Live show the other day, and even the very first night that the series aired this season, he said something about his tears were for missing me and for loss of working with me as an acting partner. He’s just been so generous and sweet,” she explained in the interview. “I could just tear up right now thinking about how sweet he’s been. I miss working with Donnie. I miss playing those scenes with him. We had a lot of fun. We put a lot of work into those scenes, and we were both super committed to doing right by those characters.”

How was Linda Reagan written off Blue Bloods?

Amy Carlson and Donnie Wahlberg on Blue Bloods

How was Linda Reagan written off Blue Bloods? Linda Reagan was written off the show between Season 7 and Season 8 when she was killed off-screen in a helicopter accident. In the Season 8 premiere in September 2017, it was revealed in Danny’s therapy session that Linda was no longer alive. “Linda’s death wasn’t your fault. She was doing her job [as a nurse]. She died doing what she loved,” Danny’s therapist said in the episode. “She died in a helicopter crash, airlifting her patient.” In Season 9, the possibility was introduced that the medevac crash Linda was in could have been orchestrated by Mexican cartel member Louis Delgado (Lou Diamond Phillips) aka The Panther.

Carlson revealed to Deadline that she did not know her character was going to get written off in that way. “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.” When asked how she would have written her character off, she said: “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. 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.”

The actress added that she was surprised but also honored by the huge fan response to her character’s death. “I was surprised, but I’m also just so honored that all these fans connected so much with that character. It surprised me, but it really touches my heart that they cared so much about Linda and that she meant so much to so many people, I had no idea, I can’t even tell you how many messages a day I get about her and the character,” she said in the interview. “They’re so sweet, they all wish me well in my future projects, they’re all just super supportive fans of mine, and it’s just so lovely.”

When asked if she would ever return to Blue Bloods to do a flashback sequence, for example, Carlson said she was open to the opportunity. “I never wanted it to end that way, so I feel sad for the fans because everyone wants closure, and I hear that a lot from the fans. So of course I’d be open to that. Sure.”

Blue Bloods airs on Fridays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

Who is in the Reagan family tree on Blue Bloods? Check out our photo gallery of the Reagan Empire and how they are all related.