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Warning: Spoilers ahead for the eighth season finale of Blue Bloods.

Well, Blue Bloods fans, they finally did it.

In the CBS procedural’s eighth season finale, fan-favorite pair Jamie (Will Estes) and Eddie (Vanessa Ray) finally got together after years of playful squad-car flirting and bickering, no doubt granting the wishes of many an audience member.

Titled “My Aim Is True,” the episode tied up many of the season’s loose ends, as well as completing a year of grieving for Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) after the sudden death of his wife (Amy Carlson, who exited the show), but nothing was as surprising as when the show headed into its final Sunday family dinner of the season. For the first time in the show’s 100-plus episode run, a Reagan family member introduced someone new to the table. In this case, it was Jamie, bringing Eddie along — and announcing their engagement.

That wasn’t all, of course: The couple even shared their vows in one of the most romantic moments in the show’s history. But things weren’t entirely rosy, as Frank (Tom Selleck) couldn’t help but remind the lovebirds that some changes were afoot.

To break down why now was finally the right time for Jamie and Eddie to get together, what the mood was like on set, and what fans can expect next, EW chatted with Blue Bloods showrunner Kevin Wade. Read on below for all that and more.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What made you decide to finally bring Jamie and Eddie together?KEVIN WADE: The writers recognized early on that these two actors had a terrific chemistry together. It played very well for a number of seasons, just as people riding along, but also, two attractive people who recognized an attraction to each other. I think we played that out. Then the question becomes, “Are you going to throw the baby out with the bathwater?” If two people recognize that they love each other and they’re happy enough together to say that they want to marry each other, you set up the problem that there are no good scenes in a happy marriage. Once you put a couple together and they’ve said, “This is it, I’m so happy!” there’s nothing there for the audience. So it was really a matter of, if we do this and they double down, but we manage to keep the obstacles alive — like the fact that they probably won’t be able to ride together anymore, that one of them may move precincts or get a promotion — it just gave a bigger landscape to play out the relationship. I think it needed to change. You can only have two people riding along in a squad car for [so long] without going, “We need to change it up a little bit.”

The audience was also waiting for this.There was also some recognition — not that I get a retail fee back — that the audience felt like, “When are the writers going to wake up and realize that these two should be together?” There was some sense of audience expectation, which is part of my job, too. All that being said, pretty on early in this season, I just had the idea that, “Well, if we wait until the very last scene of the last episode of the season, we can probably pull this off.” And then do a reset when we come back for season 9 with a heightened sense of expectations, and certainly heightened stakes for these two as a couple.

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How did Will and Vanessa react when they heard the news?Will was cautious, at first, and rightly so, because he had the fear that, frankly, he had every right to have: “Are we going to be playing scenes where we’re holding hands, gazing into each other across a checkered tablecloth in a dimly lit restaurant?” I assured him we had no interest in writing those stories, and I know he has no interest in playing them. We talked a lot about the dynamic that was there — the chemistry that was there in front of us — and having to push it further. The nature of a show like Blue Bloods is [that it’s] obviously not a serial — it’s a procedural, so it’s close-ended every week — but there is a character evolution that has to happen, to keep the characters growing and the audience interested. This seemed like the prime candidate: Let’s grow these characters into a real couple and see where we can take it from there.

Vanessa has become an increasingly major part of the show; it wasn’t until season 4 that she was even introduced.Yep. And Vanessa and Will together make almost a third [major] thing, and I really wanted to capitalize on that. So once Will and I and Vanessa talked it through, and then when they got the script, I think they were pleased with how it turned out. And it was a great scene to shoot. We’d never, in 170-odd family dinner scenes, introduced a new character into that Sunday dinner.

It did feel almost poetic that this engagement was announced there. What was the mood on set like?The mood is very much reflected in what you see onscreen: a genuine sense of, “Wow! We’ve never done this before, how do we deal with this?” The actors reacted in character. In Donnie, there was a twinge of “happy for him and sad for himself.” Certainly, for Frank, it was like, “Okay, I can’t really upset the mood here, but you guys realize you can’t ride together anymore.” And then when they go, “Well actually, that’s not written anywhere.” And he’s like, “Well, okay.” I wanted to make sure that it had an impact that would make the audience go, “Huh, they’ve done something nice here, but they’ve also painted themselves into a bit of a corner.”

You’re headed into season 9. Why do you think the show continues to resonate with viewers?If I knew, I could probably do it better. I don’t know exactly. I think that there’s an aspirational quality, almost, in a very elemental way of being close to your family, of being close to different generations of your family, of having those people to lean on. It’s a very last century — or even century before that — small-town way of living, and a small-town values system. Everything has gotten so spread out and isolated that I think, at the end of the day, it’s a nice place to go on Friday night.

You touched on it a bit, but what can you tease about where we’re headed with Jamie and Eddie?They’ll have to deal with a couple of things. We laid in a couple of episodes earlier that there was a sergeant’s exam that at least she was taking, and we left it open-ended [as to] whether he was going to take it too. And we’ll have to deal with how Jamie and Eddie as an engaged couple manifest in their work life.

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