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The Most-Watched Episode Of Blue Bloods Ever Will Surprise You

"Blue Bloods" is a fantastic example of the enduring power of the television police procedural. Starring Tom Selleck as New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, "Blue Bloods" tells the stories of a wide variety of law enforcement officials who also happen to be family members. In addition to the current leader of the New York City Police Department, the Reagan family is composed of Former New York City Police Commissioner Henry Reagan (Len Cariou), NYPD Detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg), Attorney Erin Reagan (Bridget Moynihan), and NYPD Officer Jamie Reagan (Will Estes). 

Throughout its first 12 seasons on the air, "Blue Bloods" has enjoyed a remarkable consistency about its cast, with only a handful of departures or additions to the regular crew. Jennifer Esposito vacated her role as Detective Jackie Curatola in Season 3 and was replaced by Detective Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez). In Season 8, Amy Carlson's Linda Reagan also departed. Additionally, Sami Gayle, who first appeared as Nicki Reagan-Boyle in the second episode of the series, only appears as a guest star after Season 10. Besides these three exits, the only other change to the on-screen crew came in Season 5 when Vanessa Ray was promoted from a recurring cast member to a series regular (via IMDb).

In the case of another celebrated CBS police procedural, devotion to certain long-running cast members led to record ratings highs nearly ten years after the series premiere of "NCIS." However, the most-viewed episode of "Blue Bloods" came much sooner in the life of the series.

The pilot episode is the most-watched episode of Blue Bloods

The most-watched episode in "Blue Bloods" history is also the first. The pilot episode of the series introduces audiences to all of the main characters and features Jamie's graduation from the police academy. Sadly, the episode is also set about 15 months after the death of Joe Reagan, another child of Frank's. Some viewers may not have realized it at the time, but one character who appeared in the pilot episode of "Blue Bloods" has actually been portrayed by a different actress in every subsequent episode.

The premiere episode of "Blue Bloods" managed to pull in a total of 13.01 million viewers on the night that it originally aired (via TV by the Numbers). In its "Live+7" metric, Nielsen also estimates that "Blue Bloods" reached an additional 2.26 million viewers in the week after its release, meaning at least 15.27 million people tuned into watch the pilot in September of 2010 (via TV By The Numbers). 

The episode aired at 10 p.m. on a Friday night and while "Blue Bloods" has regularly held the Friday night time slot, it hasn't always stayed there. For four episodes in the first season, CBS moved "Blue Bloods" to Wednesday nights at 10 p.m., before ultimately switching it back to Fridays at the same time (via TV Series Finale). "Blue Bloods" has aired new episodes of the series on the same night at the same time ever since Season 1, Episode 15 ("Dedication") (via IMDb).