Tom Selleck isn't the New York Police Commissioner, but he does play one on TV in Blue Bloods on CBS. Like all his TV roles, he comes across as so believable that members of the NYPD actually salute him on the street. It's a role he's cherished for years.
Frank Reagan is a no-nonsense commissioner that deftly balances the modern pressures on cops with old school respect for the people on the job. On the show, Tom Selleck's character is careful not to throw any of his officers under the bus without a fair investigation. He treats all the members of the force with dignity and respect. It seems the real officers on the force in New York appreciate that.
Though he lives in California with his wife Jillie Mack, Blue Bloods films in New York City, so Tom Selleck is often on the streets about town, either shooting exterior scenes for the show or just going about his daily life while in the city. On the show, Selleck's character demands respect, on the set, the veteran actor has earned. With the cops, it seems, he's earned it as well. He once told TVinsider, "All cops have to salute the police commissioner, and sometimes I get a salute! That's a big deal."
Selleck gives the credit for that to the writer, saying, "The actors, writers, and producers don't want to make NYPD officers perfect, but I know that a lot of cops think we are presenting a three-dimensional picture of who they are in life." The real-life officers respect that, it seems. Though it's not all on the writers. Selleck does his homework.
When asked about former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, who served in the post during some of the show's run, Tom Selleck praised him. "Bratton had a lot of influence on me. I read his book Turnaround, about his first time on the job under Rudy Giuliani. Though they were on the same page philosophically, there was a lot of conflict between the mayor and his police commissioner."
That conflict is something Tom Selleck also uses in the show, as Frank is often shown sparring with whoever is the current mayor on the show. Selleck says, "We've shown conflict between Frank and Mayor Poole [David Ramsey] for three years. When we do handle difficult storylines, we feel a responsibility to show both sides in a dramatic way. Not balance for balance's sake, but because it makes Frank stronger if you don't dumb down his opponents."
Selleck has been rumored to be ready to leave the show, and the future of his role or that of the show for a season 11 in 2020-21 hasn't been announced yet. The tabloids falsely predicted in the past the Tom Selleck was leaving the show for health reasons, but even at age 75, he doesn't seem ready to retire. Time will tell.