Starting out at a new job, you never know how much leeway you have until you start pushing your boundaries. How much change can you pocket from the take-a-penny before the manager gets mad? How much of the water cooler can you refill with your own saliva without being asked to leave the breakroom?
And on the set of a gangbusters television series like “Blue Bloods,” you have to assume that the stakes only get higher. One wrong move, after all, and you’re staring down the business end of Tom Selleck’s mustache — not young, whacky Selleck, either. The modern one with the reverse mortgages and the furrowed brow of a man whose grandchildren are showing him his first TikTok. Still, you have to push yourself vocationally, even when it means potentially embarrassing yourself in front of Magnum.
It must, in other words, have been quite the rush for actor Gregory Jbara, who plays Deputy Commissioner Garrett Moore on the long-running CBS drama, when he was tasked with stepping outside of his comfort zone and trying to develop his character via on-the-spot improvisation. The results of this professional stretching exercise seem to have paid off, but in the moment, by golly, it sounds like things got tense.
Gregory Jbara brought some life to his character by making stuff up
The story comes to us from Gregory Jbara himself, who shared it with Starry Mag back in 2020. Asked about the amount of agency he’d had in his character’s development over the years, he admitted that it wasn’t much but then jumped excitedly to a story about a time when he took the wheel.
According to Jbara, he was shooting a scene for the back half of the show’s first season, but co-star Tom Selleck wasn’t having it. “Tom wasn’t happy with what was written,” he recalled. “[…] Garrett had to step in and bust the Commissioner’s chops about how he’s dealing with the Mayor. Tom said, ‘What would you really say, Greg, if this was going on?'”
Jbara shot straight. “I replied, ‘If this was really going on, I would say, ‘You’re an idiot! What you did just there was stupid!'” It was a choice that Selleck apparently felt fit the scene more naturally, giving Jbara the go-ahead and fixing him up with a brand new anxiety: “I was like, ‘Oh! I better be careful about what I say because Tom is really listening to me.'”
Jbara went on to sing his colleague’s praises and point out how appreciative he was for Selleck’s faith in him on the set. Still, it’s hard to imagine the emotional fortitude it must take to look Quigley in the eye when he asks what you think you should say and reply: “You’re an idiot.”