The 11th season of CBS cop drama “Blue Bloods” debuted on Friday, with fans welcoming not only the long-awaited return of the show, but also the return of Whoopi Goldberg, reprising her role as New York City city council speaker Regina Thomas.

The new season is reflectingactual events, with police commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) addressing issues relating to police brutality and BLM protests as the city grapples with life amidst COVID-19.

Speaking with Deadline, “Blue Bloods” showrunner Kevin Wade discussed Goldberg’s return and the difficult decision to confront the coronavirus on the show.

“Listen, it was a conscious decision, and not an easy one,” said Wade.

“On the other hand, on a purely practical level I don’t want to watch masked actors, particularly,” he continued. “Now, I’ve seen other shows that are doing it and it feels, on the one hand, true and on another hand, anachronistic. The decision we’ve made was not to play the show that way.”

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When it comes to addressing big issues the show will do it “as we normally would,” he explained.

“We’re in our 11th season. We have an enormous fan base that not only shows up on Friday nights but shows up for the syndicated shows, for streaming them, whatever it is. They come to it expecting a certain kind of show. I believe, maybe I’m kidding myself, but I do believe that when we’ve had issues, whether they were black and white or Catholic versus something or Puerto Rican or Hispanic versus something, we would build a platform of equal dimensions for the other side of the argument,” he said.

This was definitely the case in the scenes between Frank and Regina, who is looking for big changes in the way the NYPD conducts itself.

“Certainly, in the scenes between Tom and Whoopi in the first episode I was very aware, as was Siobhan [O’Connor, who wrote the episode] of making sure not only that Whoopi’s Regina Thomas got to say her piece but that she said it as eloquently and as truly as Tom Selleck’s character does,” said Wade. “That, to me, is where the bar is set that any time we… we do and we will delve into so-called hot-button issues but we’re not doing propaganda here, nor are we doing the news. We’re just doing ‘Blue Bloods’. So, what we do is going to be done through that decade-old filter at this point.”

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As for whether the moderator of “The View” will make another appearance this season, Wade is uncertain.

“No plans right now but plans are more fluid than ever now because shortly after we started shooting I think episode 2, we were told that our order had been reduced from the usual 22 down to 16,” Wade explained. “So, I would hope to have Whoopi back in this season but there’s no date, episode slotted right now.”