Carlson, who had been with the show since the pilot, chose to leave the CBS cop series before Season 8. Her character's death in an off-screen helicopter crash in the season premiere came as a total shock to fans, many of whom are still processing the surprising reveal.
At a PaleyFest event in New York Monday night, the cast revealed that they're still struggling with it, too. Donnie Wahlberg, who plays Danny Reagan, the husband of Carlson's character Linda, said it's been hard to move on, but that he channeled his real-life sadness into his first scenes playing a widower.
"Rather than try to act or find something to do, I just thought about my friend Amy Carlson," he said, according to EW. "I thought about all the years together and all the highs and lows and the ups and downs and the journey. Any tears I shed in that scene was really Donny shedding them for Amy... She's a dear friend. I cherish our friendship."
Wahlberg also acknowledged that it must be hard for viewers too, who got no advance notice of Carlson's departure. "I know the audience is grieving her loss too, a lot, and I think if everyone rides the season out and takes that journey with the family as well, they will go through those stages of grief together and do what Blue Bloods typically does: make us all one family," he said. "Hopefully this family of our cast, the show, and the viewers will all mourn the loss together and move forward after this season."
Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10/9c on CBS.
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