The seating chart at the Reagan family dinner table has changed a lot over the past 13 years. As the younger generations grow older and start to expand their own lives, fans are introduced to new characters and storylines. And easily one of the most beloved additions to the Blue Bloods cast is Vanessa Ray's character, Eddie Janko.
Now Officer Edit "Eddie" Marie Janko is by no means new to longtime fans. She was first introduced to the crime drama series in season 4 as Jamie Reagan's (Will Estes) partner. But -- spoiler alert -- the undeniable attraction between the two eventually led to a whirlwind romance that ended in marriage. That solidified not only her seat around the dinner table but also Ray's place as a major cast member on the show.
"I loved this role immediately because when we first met her, she was a rookie, but it was obvious she was following a calling to service," Ray said in a 2021 interview. "She was eager, messy, and flawed. I mean, who wouldn't love Eddie? Although, I am a bit biased."
But it's not just Blue Bloods fans who recognize Ray. Her talent has been featured in a variety of other projects over the years. Read on to discover just where you might have seen this skilled actor before.
Ray's first steps into the world of performing arts happened not in front of a camera but on stage. While little is known about how she first got into theater, she's credited with originating the role of Nemo in Finding Nemo: The Musical, which ran at Disney World in Orlando. Ray's theatrical resume? also includes playing Olive Ostrovsky in a national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and as Crissy in the Broadway production of Hair.
"I got my roots starting in theater, and a multi-cam is the closest thing to live theater on TV I can think of," she said in an interview with Nerds of Color. "I miss taking a bow at the end of an epic performance!"
While she eventually went on to star on the small screen, she made a few returns to the stage. In 2022, she played Yvette in Clue at the Portland-based Anonymous Theatre Company.
Soap Opera Star
After spending some time in the literal spotlight, Ray started landing some guest roles in TV shows such as Bored to Death and Damages. It took a few years of auditioning, but in 2006 she landed the gig that would eventually put her name on the map, playing Teri Ciccone in the popular soap opera As the World Turns.
In a 2009 interview, she talked about the mental hurdle she had to overcome going from theater to soaps. When asked about what the major differences are between the mediums, she said: "Probably the choices you have to make, as quick as you have to make them."
"There's memorizing, then doing it, and just trusting that your instincts are right," she added. "I'm really impressed by all the actors on the show. They take it so seriously. They really force you to up your game."
Ray kept the role of Teri alive for six years and over 50 episodes before moving on to bigger and better things.
Pretty Little Liar
Between 2010 and 2012, Ray was everywhere. She guest-starred on some of the most popular shows at the time, including White Collar, Nurse Jackie, Girls and Suits. But her highest-profile role -- before Blue Bloods, of course -- was as CeCe Drake in the teen drama Pretty Little Liars.
She only appeared in 19 episodes throughout her five years on the show, but her character played a pivotal role in the plot. Since the series ended, Ray has spoken publicly about how completely different the two major characters she's known for were.
"It is just so cool that I get to kind of live out these two little dream fantasies," she told StyleCaster. "One of being a super girly girl with extensions and nails and lashes and pastel clothing, things that Eddie Janko would never wear. And then I get to explore a little more vulnerable side with Eddie. I think with all of the things that are happening to her, she is constantly discovering what her job really is.
"I am just really lucky that I get to play a role as sort of silly as CeCe and as complex as Eddie. And Eddie is pretty silly, too. I feel like I should do a YouTube video of the two of them having a conversation. They would have nothing to talk about."
Is Vanessa Ray Still On Blue Bloods?
Fans of both Eddie Janko and Vanessa Ray will be happy to hear that her character is still alive and well on Blue Bloods. You can catch her and the rest of the Reagan family every Friday night at 10/9 Central on CBS.
READ MORE: Who Is Bridget Moynahan's Husband? Meet The 'Blue Bloods' Star's Longtime Partner Andrew Frankel
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