Which Actor on Blue Bloods is Actually a Real Cop?

Which Actor on Blue Bloods is Actually a Real Cop?
Image credit: CBS

There's a reason Blue Bloods feels so authentic.


  • One of the police officers on the show served as a real NYPD detective.
  • Fans of the show will recognize him from his appearances.
  • Blue Bloods isn't the only show he's been a part of.

Blue Bloods was an instant hit when it debuted in 2010. Thanks to quality acting, compelling storylines and a willingness to tackle complex issues, it still drew over 9 million viewers per episode in Season 14. That was down from its peak of 14 million, but still pretty strong.

One of the most successful aspects of the show was its authenticity. When it comes to police procedurals, viewers want suspense, action and intrigue – but they also want something that is authentic. Blue Bloods maintains its authenticity by employing a real-life cop among its cast.

Who is the real cop on the show?

He may not be one of the most instantly recognizable cast members, but former NYPD detective James Nuciforo has appeared as an actor in 34 episodes of Blue Bloods. Once a real-life New York City cop, he's been called upon in his retirement to serve primarily as a police technical advisor to the production team and cast.

He's also appeared on screen – most notably as a character named... Detective James Nuciforo. He also appeared as an escort in Dedication (Season 1, Episode 15), where there was an attempt on Frank Reagan's life.

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What does a police technical director do?

James Nuciforo's job is to advise the cast and crew on matters related to real police work in the NYPD. That means he's involved in several aspects of the production. When the writers are putting together a story, they rely on his expertise to figure out how to get from one point to another, for example, by closely following protocol.

Likewise, his input is invaluable to the actors who play the roles of the officers. In the past, Nuciforo has been responsible for teaching them how to wield and twirl nightsticks (back when NYPD cops used them) and how to hold a gun when entering and searching a property.

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These are the kinds of details that take a police procedural from something good to something great. And if you want to know how successful he was at instilling authenticity, Nuciforo and other cast members once tackled and arrested a mugger in the middle of a shoot after a member of the public alerted them to the fact that he'd stolen her purse. They then held him until real law enforcement arrived.

Of course, Nuciforo and the production team have to keep in mind that they're producing a TV drama. The show has to balance authenticity with storylines and action sequences that keep people coming back for more, and it's fair to say they've been pretty successful in that regard.

What other shows has he been involved in?

Nuciforo has served as a technical advisor on numerous shows, including 106 episodes of Law & Order and lengthy stints on Elementary and Unforgettable.

But his post-police career in television doesn't end there. Before working with Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg and others, he earned acting credits on Season 20, Episode 23 of Law & Order as Captain Lagle and played a military advisor in the Oscar-nominated spy thriller Salt, starring Angelina Jolie.

Blue Bloods also gave him a writing credit on Season 7, Episode 18 - A Deep Blue Goodbye.

What a busy retiree you are, Mr. Nuciforo!