PASADENA, Calif. — When he was younger, actor Donnie Wahlberg often was on the wrong side of the law. Now he’s not only on the right side, he’s leading a cheering section for the boys in blue.
Wahlberg, one of nine kids from a blue-collar suburb of Boston, not only has played a policeman on two impressive TV series: “Boomtown” and CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” but he’s producing his own reality show about Beantown’s cops, “Boston’s Finest,” airing on TNT.
“It’s a big risk for any police department to do something like this, and I think, for them, they would only entrust it to a local boy,” he says in a noisy lounge of a hotel here.
“I speak the same language as the people that the show is about, and I come from the streets that they patrol and that they grew up on themselves.”
Wahlberg’s own problems with the police happened when he was a kid scaling the charts with his band, New Kids on the Block. “My troubles were not in Boston, thank goodness. I didn’t get into trouble back home,” he says.
Indulging in tattoos, piercings and belligerent behavior, Wahlberg was charged with arson for setting fire in the hall of a Kentucky hotel. Charges were later dropped.
“I think my intentions when I started my band in 1984 or ‘5 were to be a straight-ahead guy, to take the right path,” he says, the afternoon sun backlighting his round face.
“When I became famous at such a young age and got in the spotlight, I really didn’t expect the negative part that came with it. I didn’t understand that; I wasn’t prepared for that. I thought maybe I’d walk down the street and the pizza guy would go, ‘Hey, Donnie, proud of you, come in and have a slice.’