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What Has Amy Carlson Been Doing Since Leaving Blue Bloods?

From its series premiere in 2010 to its Season 7 finale in 2017, former "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" star Amy Carlson portrayed Linda Reagan, wife to Donnie Wahlberg's Danny Reagan, in creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green's hit police procedural/family drama, "Blue Bloods." Her abrupt absence at the start of Season 8, coupled with some clumsy explanatory dialogue about her off-screen death, prompted fans to suspect she'd been written off the series for a litany of non-story-based reasons, and ultimately led to a well-publicized back-and-forth between Carlson and co-star Bridget Moynahan after the latter implied in a Paley Center interview that it was the star's choice to leave (via Entertainment Weekly). 

Following her controversial departure from the series, Carlson did indeed go on to pursue other projects (as Moynahan suggested), though her comments in an interview with Deadline strongly imply that this wasn't the real reason for her character's clumsy death. Though she hasn't found herself in a recurring television role since her final appearance in "Blue Bloods," the actor has nonetheless been quite busy.

Carlson has been making her mark on the indie film scene

By all appearances, after leaving one of the most mainstream universes on television, Carlson shifted gears dramatically by starring in a number of smaller, independent films. In 2018, directly following her "Blue Bloods" exit, the actor appeared in writer-director Patrick Wang's "A Bread Factory, Part One." The film was nominated for two different Independent Spirit Awards (via IMDb) and told the story of a beloved local art space that struggles to stay afloat after a celebrity couple moves to, and in-on, the surrounding community. 

The following year, Carlson starred as bigwig music festival promotor Jerry Evans in Jared Barel's "The Incoherents." Written by Jeff Auer, the movie told the story of four middle-aged former bandmates who reunite to make one last go of leaving a lasting music legacy, and, like Carlson's last film, impressed a number of independent film critics. The movie either won or was nominated for best feature, best director, or best feature comedy across a variety of different cities' film festivals, and boasts an 80% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. By 2019, when Carlson appeared in writer/director Jason Wiles' also critically-lauded "Sunny Daze," it had become clear she knew how to pick a winning project on the independent film scene. This didn't mean, however, that Carlson was leaving television behind for good.  

Carlson appeared in some very un-Blue Bloods series

In 2019, Carlson starred in two lesser-known series that couldn't be further from the world and atmosphere around and in which "Blue Bloods" operates. First, she appeared as Julie Tucker, the mother of a teenage boy who's recently impregnated his classmate, in Mike Daniels' "The Village." The short-lived NBC series starred two other police show veterans — Michaela McManus of "Law & Order: SVU" and Lorraine Toussaint of the original "Law & Order" — and revolved around the daily lives of a collection of residents in a Greenwich Village apartment complex who form a familial bond with one another. 

After her guest appearance in the family drama, Carlson went on to land a two-episode arc in Christopher Keyser's "The Society" on Netflix. Despite the similar-sounding titles, the two shows had little in common. In Keyser's YA mystery drama, a group of teens forms their own society after they return from a field trip to find the rest of the population of their small Connecticut town has vanished without a trace. Carlson portrayed Amanda Pressman, the mother of one of the show's central teens, in the first two episodes of the series. Unfortunately, "The Society" was canceled after just one season, as Deadline reports, as a result of COVID-19 and its impact on filming.  

Carlson wrote, directed, and won critical acclaim before starring in FBI: Most Wanted

In 2020, Amy Carlson slipped seamlessly back into procedural primetime TV, but not before realizing what an interview with her alma mater (Knox College) reveals was a longtime goal. Alongside her husband, Syd Butler, Carlson wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed short film, "The Letter," and was honored with the Hollywood Women's Film Festival award for Best Actress In A Dramatic Short for her performance in it (via IMDb). 

Rather than rest on her laurels, Carlson then appeared in two episodes of "FBI: Most Wanted," in a recurring role. In Season 2, Episode 3 ("Deconflict") and Episode 7 ("Winner"), the actor tackled the role of the tough-talking, sharp-as-a-tack bounty hunter Jackie Ward, and butts heads on more than one occasion with Julian McMahon's Special Agent Jess LaCroix and his FBI investigation. The two projects might stand at the polar opposite end of the entertainment spectrum in terms of public perception or artistic echelon, but in regard to genre, it's Carlson's most recent role that most stands out from the vast majority of her prolific resume. 

Most recently, Carlson tried her hand in horror

In 2021, Amy Carlson starred in writer-director Jamison M. LoCascio's supernatural thriller, "Know Fear," as a homeowner named Wendy, who becomes possessed by a demon after finding an old notebook in her new house. The film marries haunted house and occult/possession tropes, stars Mallory Bechtel of "Hereditary" and "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin" fame, and — in a surprising turn of events for a horror film — claims a higher critic than audience score on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer. 

Though the actor's film and television credits currently end there, she has long had one foot in the music industry via husband Syd Butler's independent label, Frenchkiss Records. What's more, she's also been active in a number of charities, including Habitat for Humanity's Help Women Build project, Hearts of Gold, and organizations raising funds and awareness for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (via Knox Alum). 

However her abrupt and unexpected departure from "Blue Bloods" went down, it doesn't seem to have kept the actor from moving on to a wide variety of projects, and taking on a range of roles since her time on the show.