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Why Showrunner Kevin Wade Was Prepared For Blue Bloods To Wrap After Season 11

When "Blue Bloods" made its network debut back in 2010, there wasn't any real reason to suspect we'd still be talking about it more than a decade later. That's less a reflection on the quality of the show than it is the fact that the series was then entering a network landscape bursting at the seams with procedural dramas. Of course, "Blue Bloods" had a couple of things going for it that its network counterparts didn't, primarily a cast that fronted the talents of Tom Selleck (Frank Reagan), Bridget Moynahan (Erin Reagan), Will Estes (Jamie Reagan), and Donnie Wahlberg (Danny Reagan), among others.

It also boasted a narrative that cleverly fused its procedural merits with those of a tender-hearted family drama. Perhaps more than any other element, the family-centric aspects of "Blue Bloods" are arguably what hooked viewers early in the show's run. And the ongoing travails of the Reagan clan are no doubt a big reason viewers have kept coming back to the series' storied dinner table year in and year out. And yes, that drama was as potent as ever during the 11th season. However, despite that, one of the key creative forces behind "Blue Bloods" was actually convinced Season 11 of the show would indeed be its last. Here's why. 

A mid-season note from CBS had Wade thinking the Season 11 finale could be the series ender

That key creative is, of course, longtime "Blue Bloods" showrunner Kevin Wade. And despite the fact that he'd anticipated his beloved series to end with Season 11, it eventually did earn a Season 12 renewal, and was even gifted renewal for a 13th in 2022 (per The Hollywood Reporter). Longevity aside, Wade claimed in a 2021 interview with Deadline that a mid-season note from his CBS bosses regarding the Season 11 finale led him to believe the series was about to get the axe. "We were told pretty early on, I think before Thanksgiving that our season finale would be the last two episodes and would air back to back which I immediately took as they're planning to wrap up the series," Wade told Deadline.

Wade's assumption is not totally unfounded, as it has become common practice for long-running shows to tap out via a supersized series finale. And given what he suspected to be a heads up to the series' cancellation, Wade promptly re-evaluated how the season would end. "Yeah, so I started to think about how do we do something that could serve as a season finale but also if need be as a series finale," he explained. As Wade notes, that approach led to an emotionally charged narrative that called back to the Season 1 finale of "Blue Bloods." And according to Wade, the cast and crew wrapped filming on the episodes not knowing if they'd be the series' last. 

To the delight of fans, the Reagans are still convening for family dinners every week. And given the enduring popularity of "Blue Bloods," it'll be a while before they serve up their last supper.