If you've been catching up on episodes of "Blue Bloods" Season 1, this summer, you recently saw one of Sami Gayle's standout performances as Nicky Reagan-Boyle. In "Age of Innocence," (#16) Nicky is interviewing her uncle Danny, the hard-nosed detective, about the rigors of police work, which she aspires to, as part of an oral history project for school, when a call comes in summoning Danny to investigate a found dead body. Imploring him as only his favorite niece could do, she convinces him to let her ride along to the site, where he dutifully reminds her to remain in the car until her uncle Jamie can arrive to take her home. Curiosity inevitably coerces her from safe seclusion, though, and she sees the young woman, a teen like herself, being zipped into a body bag and rushed away. Haunted by the trauma, and realizing that the girl was someone she thinks she encountered in passing ways at school, she is gripped by fear and self-doubt, while her mom is still in the grip of rage over how she was allowed to be at the scene at all. In a memorable exchange with her granddad, Francis, portrayed by Tom Selleck, she shares her fears and failings in what she feels is still her life's calling. Her grandfather's reminiscences compel her to see that the same emotions are part of being in police work, and honesty and maturity make them easier to handle.
Gayle has seen Nicky through failed matchmaking attempts with her mom and her boss in Episode 14, and strutted her stuff on the runway, or almost, in Episode 19. She brings complete believability to her hesitant position on the bridge between her divorced parents at the dubious phase of puberty and emergent personhood. No doubt her part as Hayden Lawson on the daytime classic "As the World Turns" from 2009-2010 provided fodder for finding emotional extremes, while stage parts as Baby June in "Gypsy" and Annie Who in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" still kept her in childlike wonder. Though just two years past character Nicky's age in real life, Sami has some big-name costars for one so young on the big and small screen. She'll star with Robin Wright and Paul Giamatti in a sci-fi thriller, The Congress, in 2013, and in Medallion alongside Nicolas Cage next year. She's brought a lot of fun and tenderness to the Reagan family table in her first season on "Blue Bloods," so hopefully Sami won't grow too big for the small screen so soon.
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- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- As the World Turns