UPDATE: On Twitter, Jennifer Esposito disputed CBS TV Studios’ account of why she is going on a leave, slamming them for sidelining her and callling it “absolutely shameful behavior”.
“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.”
PREVIOUS… EXCLUSIVE: Jackie Curatola is leaving the force, at least for now. Blue Bloods co-star Jennifer Esposito, who plays Detective Danny Reagan’s (Donnie Wahlberg) partner, is departing the CBS drama series for the foreseeable future. “Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work on a very limited part-time schedule,” CBS TV Studios said in a statement. “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.” The studio would not comment on Esposito’s reasons to ask for the significant workload reduction, but the actress has been public about her struggles with Celiac Disease. She has become a Celiac advocate, educating people about disease and helping those like her who have it.
Esposito has already shot her final Blue Bloods episode (for now), which will air Nov. 2. In the meanwhile, CBS and CBS TV Studios are lining up actresses to do guest arcs as Danny Reagan’s temporary partner. First off is Megan Ketch, who will be introduced in the same Nov. 2 episode, titled Nightmares, and is signed for four episodes. (This is picture of her filming the episode.) CBS TV Studios is leaving the door for Esposito to come back. “She is a wonderfully talented actress and we hope that she will be able to return at some point in the future,” the studio said.
But if that doesn’t happen, the studio and CBS will likely go for a permanent replacement, likely with one of the actresses who guest starred on the show. Coincidentally, Esposito was among several actresses tried out as temporary partners for Danny in guest arcs at the beginning of Season 1. Shortly thereafter, she was promoted to regular. Ketch is with ICM Partners.