Joe Hill (Will Hochman) has only been on "Blue Bloods" for a couple of years, and his presence has sent ripples through the Reagan family. As the son of the late Joseph Reagan, Hill is still brand new in the Reagan family, trying to get to know the great-grandfather, grandfather, aunt, uncles, and cousins that are all incredibly close with each other, but strangers to him. The fact that he decided to be a police officer without knowing his family's history in the NYPD is also something he has to deal with, as he comes to realize the Reagan name changes the way his fellow detectives treat him. "Joe Hill is faced with a decision of 'does he go public with the fact that he is part of this family or is he forced to go public with the [truth] and what would that affect be on him," executive producer Kevin Wade recalled to Deadline in 2020.
Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), especially, feels a duty to protect Joe, because he carries guilt about Joseph's death and also because he realizes how much of his first grandson's life he's missed out on. But it's all been a bit overwhelming for the young man, especially when he attends the Reagan family dinners. It's easy for newcomers to feel lost at the meals, but for Joe, it's even more disconcerting, because watching the blunt, affectionate interactions of his family reminds him how much time he's missed — something even viewers were able to pick up on.
In Season 11, Episode 1 ("Triumph Over Trauma"), "Blue Bloods" viewers were just starting to see more of Joe Hill, the previously unknown grandson of Frank Reagan. Jamie (Will Estes) and Joe team up to locate Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez) after they get locked in a basement while searching for a killer. When they find them and Danny and Jamie hug in relief, Joe looks on, jealous and crestfallen. The moment was so powerful that on the "Blue Bloods" subreddit, someone started a thread to address what happened.
"The look on his face when he saw Jamie and Danny hug was so sad," the original poster, u/kayky97, wrote. "He knows he'll never be that close to anyone in the family, no matter how many Sunday dinners he attends." A second user, u/Used_Ad_240, called out Danny for his behavior in the scene but praised his younger brother, writing, "Good on Jamie for trying to include Joe."
Since that episode, Joe has begun appearing in more family dinners and has slowly been warming up to the Reagan family. But it's not too hard to see the mixed feelings Joe would have, longing for the close bond he sees between his uncles, but also being hesitant to get too close too fast. While Joe is still getting used to them, members of the cast are excited about the new addition, with Estes telling PopCulture, "It's just been a new cool thing on a show that's run so long to have a new character come in like that ... is really a cool bit of oxygen for all of it."