Detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) is getting a brand new temporary partner on Blue Bloods, and this time, it is the lovely Marisa Ramirez. Ramirez has been cast in the show for a five-episode arc where she will play the role of Detective Maria Baez. With the role comes the possibility that Ramirez may become a series regular next season.
Ramirez is the third actress to play a temporary partner for Danny in this season alone, following behind Megan Ketch and Megan Boone. The high turnover is a result of the void left by the departure of Jennifer Esposito, who after an indefinite medical leave and a fair amount of controversy with CBS, is unlikely to return to the show. Esposito played Detective Jackie Curatola since the first season of Blue Bloods, but was placed on temporary medical leave due to her ongoing battle with Celiac Disease. CBS studios released the following statement about the absence of Esposito: “Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work on a very limited part-time schedule. As a result, she’s unable to perform the demands of her role and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence.”
However, Esposito took to her Twitter account to say that this was not entirely the case. “CBS put me on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doctor said you needed a reduced schedule due to Celiac,” she wrote. “CBS didn’t listen to my doc and I collapsed on set. Which everyone saw! After a week off my doc said I could return to work but CBS implied that I was NOT truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise! It’s been almost two months without bringing me back to work + keeping Me from working anywhere else!… Absolutely shameful behavior.”
It looks like the door is wide open for Ramirez to return as a regular next season should she and the network decide to follow that route. The first episode of Blue Bloods featuring Ramirez will air this Friday, March 8th.