'Blood' in his veins: Robert Clohessy is a Friday night treat on CBS

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Andrew Warren / TV Media
Robert Clohessy and Donny Wahlberg as seen in “Blue Bloods”

Robert Clohessy and Donny Wahlberg as seen in “Blue Bloods”

Build it and they will come?

Friday nights have long been a desolate wasteland in the TV world, a barren landscape filled by shows either cheap to make or with one foot out the door.

Well, that could be changing. Fridays have increasingly been showing signs of life the past few TV seasons, thanks to both changing demographics and higher quality fare on the screen.

One of the standout highlights in this Friday night renaissance is the anchor of CBS's end-of-the-week programming. And while a police procedural show may not sound like enough of a standout to make it must-watch viewing for a big audience (especially on CBS, where it can feel like these shows are a dime a dozen), "Blue Bloods" manages to grab its own share of the spotlight.

In fact, the critically acclaimed "Blue Bloods" was recently renewed for a fifth season, an amazing accomplishment for a drama airing on the night where shows traditionally go to die.

With Tom Selleck ("Magnum, P.I."), Will Estes ("American Dreams"), Donnie Wahlberg ("Band of Brothers") and Bridget Moynahan ("Six Degrees") headlining this drama about an Irish-American family of New York cops, "Blue Bloods" certainly isn't lacking in star power. It's not just the big-ticket actors that make or break a show, although they certainly don't hurt. A strong supporting cast is also a key piece of the puzzle, and it's a piece that "Blue Bloods" hasn't forgotten about.

A major standout of the supporting cast -- and with the caliber of supporting actors in "Blue Bloods," that's a heck of a claim -- is one of "those guys," an actor who's popped up in so many movies and TV shows that practically anyone can recognize him. And, in a fantastic twist, his blood runs as blue as the show's title suggests.

Robert Clohessy is a seasoned veteran of the film and television industries, and it shows in the professionalism and presence that he brings to the screen. "Blue Bloods" finds him in the role of police Sgt. Gormley, and if he ever seems a bit too at ease playing the part of a cop, there's some good reasons for it. Coming from a family with deep roots in law enforcement, Clohessy's career path as an actor almost seems like it was predestined.

"It was the one thing I didn't want to become," Clohessy said of following in his family's footsteps and becoming a cop -- sort of -- in an exclusive interview with TV Media. "My brother was in the FBI ... my dad was a cop, my uncle was enrolled in the military."

Be careful what you wish for? With his name in the credits of some of Hollywood's biggest movies ("The Avengers," 2012; "The Wolf of Wall Street," 2013), critically acclaimed TV shows ("Boardwalk Empire," "Oz") and Shakespearean plays (he works with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), he may not be as big of a draw as co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio or Robert Downey Jr., but he sure knows how to pick the good ones.

Robert Clohessy

Robert Clohessy

Staying true to his roots, a big number of Clohessy's parts find him playing law enforcement officers, with "Blue Bloods" being just the latest. "You become what you resist, and it rubs off on you," he said of his skill at playing cops so realistically.

His first big turn as a cop was also the breakout role that thrust him into the spotlight. A twist of fate landed him a spot in the final season of one of television's all-time greatest dramas, a cop show that helped define the 1980s.

A true New Yorker born and raised, Clohessy had never even been on a plane before he was flown out to L.A. for an audition. The fates, though, had a different path in store for him. "I didn't get (the job), but they said 'walk across the street, they're looking for a new character on 'Hill Street Blues.'"

"I got it, and the rest is history. I stayed out there for 12 years. I met my wife and had my kids out there."

Playing Officer Patrick Flaherty in "Hill Street Blues" was more than just a big break for a young actor: it was an emotional connection to his family. "It was right before my dad passed away," he said of his season in the iconic show, "so it was a great pleasure to actually play a cop, and have him talk to me about it and help me out before he passed away. That was a joy."

And while he'll still stay on "Blue Bloods" in his role as Sgt. Gormley, Clohessy has some upcoming roles that will further solidify his career. He'll star alongside Selenis Leyva (Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black") in the indie flick "Living with the Dead" that's due out at the beginning of 2015. You'll also find him lacing up the gloves, so to speak, in the boxing-based biopic "A Strong Collected Spirit" that will hit theaters in December.

An actor coming from a family of cops starring in a drama about the very same thing -- the coincidence can't help but bring a smile to the face. CBS's "Blue Bloods" is leading the way in redefining just what Friday night TV is all about, and Robert Clohessy is just one piece in the puzzle that's made it a favorite with critics and viewers alike.

Watch for season 5 some time in the fall.