It's a bold analogy, but Blue Bloods star Will Estes will make it anyway.
After learning of the secret society twist in the CBS family cop drama, the actor says he immediately thought of another famed celluloid clan — albeit one on the other side of the law.
"It reminds me of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, if I may be so brave as to draw that comparison," Estes tells TVGuide.com. "I definitely wasn't expecting it, but it's so intriguing and a fantastic thing for the audience to watch."
Blue Bloods: A cop show — and a family drama
In the closing minutes of the pilot, Estes' rookie cop Jamie Reagan, the youngest member of the family, is approached by two FBI agents who share some revealing information and make him an offer that maybe he can refuse. His late brother Joe was part of a rogue group of NYPD officers called the Blue Templar, and he was working with the agents to investigate the group. "They basically said, 'Your brother, who you think died in a bust-gone-bad, actually died at the hands of these guys. Do you want to join us and finish what he started?' And it's just a complete shock to him," Estes says. "He's fresh out of the academy, [has] not even been on the streets yet, and now he has this hanging over his head."
Jamie had not decided what to do yet by the end of the pilot — and don't expect a decision from him any time soon. Although he reconnects with the agents in Friday's episode — more or less as a status check — Estes says Jamie needs a lot of time to mull it over since his job and his family are at stake. His father, Frank (Tom Selleck), is the police commissioner; hot-headed brother Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a detective first grade; sister Erin (Bridget Moynahan) is an ADA; and his grandfather, Henry (Len Cariou), is a former commissioner.
"I don't know if he'd be more apt to say yes if it were strangers, but the investigation would essentially involve his family and he wouldn't be able to tell his family," Estes says. "Or maybe no matter what he decides, he could feel like he wants to tell his family. And what happens then? [Joe] having been part of it and died because of it weighs huge on him as well."
Ratings: Blue Bloods opens strong; Smallville leads CW to super finish
Joe may not have been the only Reagan in the Blue Templar. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot in the pilot showed a blue pin embellished with a symbol in Danny's safe. Estes suspects the Reagans' connection with it runs deep — Jamie's great-grandfather was a cop, too.
That long family tradition may be what compelled Jamie to forgo a law career after graduating from Harvard. "He was lucky enough to go and smart enough and driven enough to go [to Harvard]. But I think police work is in his blood," Estes says. "He grew up around a family dinner table of cops telling cop stories. I think it's innate and runs deep for him. I think it's absolutely where he wants to be. I don't think he just wants to be a beat cop — not that there's anything wrong with that — but a lot of his dreams and ideas are getting scattered in the wind with the pending FBI investigation. His life probably feels a great deal out of control for him right now. But initially and still, he absolutely joined because he wanted to be cop."
Check out photos of the Blue Bloods cast
Jamie will work his first shift on the streets Friday, alongside his sergeant (Nicholas Turturro), very much with stars in his eyes.
"His sergeant early on says, 'Listen, you're not going to get any special quota because your dad is the commissioner and you went to Harvard,'" the 31-year-old Estes says. "Jamie finds out very quickly that all his education and his family background aren't going to help him out a whole lot. In fact, it might be a little more difficult because of it. I think there's some comedy in there. But he's motivated, and I don't think it'll be long before he kicks some ass like Donnie!"
But it will definitely be longer before Jamie and the audience — and Estes himself — get answers about the Blue Templar, as producers Leonard Goldberg, and Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess of The Sopranos, have been vague with details. Estes — whose last mystery-based series, Reunion, was axed early without resolution — believes it'll play out the first season.
"I pray and hope that we'll go long enough so we find out what happens and get to know each the characters more," he says. "I'm going to pretend you didn't bring up Reunion. No, I'm just kidding!"
Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10/9c on CBS.