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Blue Bloods May Get Its Name From A Phrase Dating Back To The 8th Century

For more seasons than you (in all likelihood) have fingers, "Blue Bloods" has enchanted viewers with stories about the Reagans, New York's oft-admired family of police officers. It is an unfortunate fact that the Reagans, despite their noble aspiration, live on top of one of Manhattan's only still-active mercury mines, and the runoff gives each of them a deathly, azure pallor and indigo-blue blood. Hence, "Blue Bloods."

Or that would be the case, in a stupider world. Instead, we're stuck with the real fact: "Blue Bloods" takes its name from a combination of terms, one of which dates back to 8th-century European royalty and, inescapably, some racist, classist, decidedly not-awesome quirks in the education system at the time.

"Sangre azul" was the term used to describe the light-skinned members of Castile's most powerful families. The idea was that they were so pasty as to border on translucence, thanks to their refusal to intermarry with anyone whose skin tone was deeper that the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man's. As a result, you could tell who was royal by eyeing their milky white forearms and spotting the blue veins running underneath. They were, to the eyes of the public, "blue-blooded."

The name Blue Bloods has a pedigree

With the designation "Blue Bloods," the series marks its protagonists as royalty — a dynastic line of law enforcement officers, with a line of succession that goes back generations.

Then there's the second meaning, associated with the phrase "I bleed blue." It's a charming idiom that implies that a person is so pro-cop that their blood runs the same blue color as a law enforcement officer's uniform. It's a designation that fits the Reagan family like a glove. Combine the two meanings and you've got yourself a show title boasting more subtext than most network TV. Like, "60 Minutes" is only called that because that's how long the episodes are. This is a huge step up.

Alternate theory: Did you know that some octopuses have blue blood? It's true. Maybe every member of the "Blue Bloods" Reagan family is secretly an octopus. Maybe that's the big reveal that they've been saving for the end of the series. Picture that: A bunch of octopuses, eight guns each, in an all-out firefight for the soul of New York City. That finale is going to rule.