(CBS) – Blue Bloods is back tonight at 10:00PM ET/PT on CBS and available to stream live and on demand with Paramount+. Season 12 kicks off with an all-new episode titled “Hate Is Hate.”

CBS’ Matt Weiss spoke to Vanessa Ray (Eddie Janko) and Will Estes (Jaime Reagan) about tonight’s new episode and the show’s commitment to covering real-life topics.

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MW- Vanessa, Will good morning, hope you’re both doing well. Blue Bloods is back for season 12 tonight at 10:00PM on CBS and Paramount+. Last time we saw you there was the big wedding so now that your characters are wed how is that going to change the dynamic of the show moving forward?

WE- I was concerned about it to be honest, I thought we had something really good going on with the whole will they/won’t they. I was nervous about losing what these two characters have together but it seems to me like against the odds, it’s working.

We’re playing a couple that’s now getting into life after getting married. They’re still working together, though they’re not partners anymore.

VR-They’re a couple that’s finding their way to navigate through all of these different obstacles. There’s a power dynamic, gender, quality of work, how do we navigate the next steps of being married. we’ve gone through that big explosion of love and now you’re dealing with the day to day acts of kindness and acts of service towards each other. You’re still trying to find your voice within your first year of marriage and finding your identity as a couple and as individuals.

So this season we come up against a lot of those issues on the show. We want to show what real married couples go through. It’s a lot to work through it and it’s hard to always find that through line of love and respect for one another. There’s a lot of juicy stuff going on between Jaime and Eddie this season.

WE- Our love language is when your partner knows their lines. [Laughs]

MW- You mentioned gender equality and the show touches on a lot of very timely topics this season. How do topics like that alter the way you prepare to take on these roles?

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VR- Yeah I think it’s tremendously affected the way that we approach our characters. You know there’s no denying that there’s a lot of scrutiny on police officers right now and the toll that that can take. For all of our characters it becomes kind of a question of why you got into it at all to begin with.

We really take a hard look at what good they’re doing, why they got into police work in the first place, if they’re serving their community in a way that they hoped that they would. This is sort of like the second half of Cinderella. You go to the ball you think you’re gonna fall in love, you’re gonna go change the world, you’re gonna make the world a better place. Then after going to the ball, you’re like oh so this is the ball, this is a pretty intense place to navigate.

WE- It’s just a tremendous responsibility. We’re playing characters on our show that are hopefully three dimensional or flawed, but are good guys. So we’re telling it from that perspective.

We’re also people though and we have personal experiences and I think it’s just a tremendous amount of responsibility to tackle these types of issues. The societal consciousness is so polarized right now on so many issues, and it’s challenging to folks. But it’s sort of what we signed up and it’s just a lot of responsibility to get it right. As human beings we want to do a show from a perspective of these characters that are police officers and do it the right way.

MW- And Blue Bloods is over 200 episodes in now so clearly doing something right! Thank you both for the time and congrats on tonight’s premiere!

WE- You too, take care.

VR- Thanks Matt!

Tune into Blue Bloods Friday nights at 10:00PM ET/PT on CBS or streaming with Paramount+. Check your local listings for more information.

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