Len Cariou has had great successes onstage, but he’s happy television is his prime home now.
The star of such hit musicals as “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “A Little Night Music” and “Applause” is in his fourth season as Henry Reagan, family patriarch and former New York police commissioner – the position now occupied by his son Frank (Tom Selleck) – on CBS’ Friday drama “Blue Bloods.”
Cariou is guaranteed at least one scene a week by the Reagan dinner-table gathering, and he’s happy with the job in general.
“It’s a great pleasure,” he tells Zap2it. “We all have a great relationship, and I think it gives the show a uniqueness for a cop show. We get to know the family members and their different perspectives, and it’s a very pleasant working situation. It’s like I’ve gone to heaven.”
Cariou credits that in large part to Selleck, who also has a big creative say in “Blue Bloods” behind the scenes. “He knows the business inside and out, and he’s just a great influence on everybody. The writers respect him a lot – he’s a pretty good writer himself – and he’s got a really good sense of what’s going to work and what isn’t. That’s a big asset for us, I think.”
Even if Henry isn’t the focal point of a “Blue Bloods” story, he’s kept relevant by some connection to the given case, even if it’s just a matter of tying his own police experience to it during the dinner conversation.
“That keeps it to the point of what’s going on,” Cariou notes with appreciation. “We keep adding new writers, and they know what the modus operandi of the show is. Our head writer Kevin Wade always says. ‘You’ve got to keep everybody involved.’ Henry sat in those shoes before any of the others, and the writers are told, ‘Remember that.’ “
Birth date: Sept. 30, 1939
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada
Current residence: New York
Marital status: Married; has a daughter
Other television credits include: “Damages,” “Law & Order,” “Brotherhood,” “CSI; Crime Scene Investigation,” “NUMB3RS,” “Ed,” “The West Wing,” “D.C.,” “The Practice,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Murder, She Wrote”
Movie credits include: “Prisoners,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Secret Window,” “About Schmidt,” “Thirteen Days,” “Executive Decision,” “The Four Seasons,” “A Little Night Music”
Favorite movie: “I think one of the greatest movies ever is ‘The Godfather.’ “
Favorite television series you’re not in: ” ‘Homeland’ is wonderful.”
Favorite singer: “Tony Bennett. He always has been. He did a guest shot (on ‘Blue Bloods’), but I didn’t even see him.”