Donnie Wahlberg Premieres ‘Boston’s Finest’
Donnie Wahlberg poses with Boston’s Finest cast members Officers Diamantino “D” Araujo, Jenn Penton, and Manny Canuto. (Photo by Bryanna Cappadona)
On Wednesday night, TNT network and Boston native Donnie Wahlberg hosted the red-carpet premiere of TNT’s new docu-series Boston’s Finest at the Revere Hotel Boston Common. Executive produced by Wahlberg, the show offers an up-close and personal look at the Boston Police Department and “what it takes to protect and serve one of America’s greatest and most distinctive cities”—a flattering and accurate statement.
After the tragedy of a ‘reality’ show, A&E’s Southie Rules, was publicized, a sigh of relief came when Wahlberg stated last year that Boston’s Finest will be far from Boston’s take on COPS. Instead, the show will provide a more personal look at the officers’ lives outside of their responsibilities to their police units. Much of what viewers will see are not just risky and intense crime scenes, but relatable and sentimental moments amongst unit members and their families.
“We’re human,” cast member Officer Myles Lawton said. “I’m not always wearing a badge and gun on me, and when I go home, I have issues that I have to deal with as far as my kids and my loved ones.” Lawton, who is a native of Hyde Park, worked with fellow cast members Officers Jenn Penton, “D” Araujo, and Manny Canuto in Dorchester long before the show’s casting.
As far as casting, Wahlberg says relocation and safety were important factors to consider. “Police officers are not actors and they move around [between units],” he said. “Some of these officers we presented to TNT when we first started the show were gone in different units when it was time to make the show. They still have to work their streets long after the show is on the air. Also, a guy working undercover couldn’t be running around on our TV show.”
In spite of the intensity that comes with the plot lines, how do cast members adjust to having cameras patrol their everyday lives?
“It took a little while for those [camera] guys to gain our trust,” Lawton said. “To know what to say around them and what not to say around them, or what we didn’t want on camera. Once we broke that barrier, it didn’t seem as intrusive. They would point things out to us as well, and we’d look out for them and watch their back for people on the street.”
Considering the loyal relationship between the cast, crew, and executives, could this TV project be one of the first that is accurate of Boston life—and one that Boston residents can be proud of? No one on the cast seems to call it a reality show, instead proudly preferring the term documentary. They seemed to feel dignified and genuinely appreciative of TNT’s group of professionals associated with the show.
Wahlberg agreed. “We feel great about those who showed up and those who became a part of [the show]. When we earned their trust, they opened up and shared so much with us. The show wouldn’t exist without them, A. because they’re the officers, and B. because their personal lives are so inspiring and fascinating and wonderful.”
“They are the show,” Wahlberg finally added. “We’re just the messengers.”
Boston’s Finest premieres on February 27 at 9 p.m on TNT.