In a controversial announcement earlier this week, CBS placed Jennifer Esposito on indefinite medical leave from its police drama Blue Bloods because the actress required a reduced work load due to her struggles with celiac disease. Although Esposito disputed the network's account and informed them that she could return to work, CBS sidelined her character and is in the process of casting actresses to fill in as temporary partners for Donnie Wahlberg's Detective Danny Reagan on the show.
Beginning with the November 2 episode entitled "Nightmares," Megan Ketch is slated to appear in four episodes as Danny's new partner. A recent guest star on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Ketch is a graduate of the New York University Acting Class of 2011 and also starred in an ABC pilot called Gotham that wasn't picked up for this season.
Following young Ms. Ketch will be another Megan—Megan Boone, best known for her role on Law & Order: Los Angeles as Junior Deputy District Attorney Lauren Stanton. Recently seen in the movie Step Up Revolution as well as the 2009 remake of My Bloody Valentine, Boone's arc on Blue Bloods includes three episodes, plus an option to become a series regular if the need arises.
While CBS had originally left the door open for Esposito to return, these moves seem to convey the opposite intention. The fact that both Ketch and Boone are of caucasian heritage wasn't lost on the 39-year-old Italian-American actress, who retweeted the following message on Twitter today: "There it is. CBS got rid of the only minority cast member so they can have an ALL WHITE CAST like CSI." Probably followed by a sad face with angry eyebrows.
Ironically, Esposito acquired her role on Blue Bloods in much the same way during the first season. She was one of several actresses who appeared in guest arcs as temporary partners for Danny before she landed the role permanently. The big difference is that she wasn't being brought in to replace an established regular who had medical issues.
Judging by the online petitions initiated by fans of Blue Bloods, CBS really botched this up and came off very insensitively. I can understand the need for a full-time actress, but I've never heard anything bad about Jennifer Esposito and I'm sure they could have worked this situation out amicably to accomodate her medical needs.
How do you feel about it?