June 01, 2013 3:27pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Blue Bloods': Marisa Ramirez Promoted to Series Regular (Exclusive)
CBS' Blue Bloods has found a permanent replacement for Jennifer Esposito.
Following a recurring arc at the end of season three, Marisa Ramirez has been promoted to series regular, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
Ramirez will stay on as Detective Maria Baez, the former and now full-time partner for Donnie Wahlberg's Detective Danny Reagan.
“It all still feels a bit surreal," Ramirez tells THR. "From the first day, everyone was so welcoming. Working with Donnie and the cast and crew of Blue Bloods can spoil a girl. Total pros, each and every one, and all so supportive. I just enjoyed every minute. Truly, I never dreamed I would be coming back as a regular. To say I am grateful is an understatement.”
The promotion comes after the CBS drama tried three different female leads opposite Wahlberg last season. Megan Ketch had a four-episode trial and Megan Boone filled in for three. The void was created when series regular Esposito was put on an indefinite medical leave by producer CBS Television Studios.
Esposito, who has celiac disease, was put on medical leave and ultimately parted ways with the drama. The actress has opened her own gluten-free bakery in New York to meet the needs of those suffering from the disease, which attacks the autoimmune system.
Ramirez's credits also include ABC's recently canceled Body of Proof, Against the Wall, Spartacus and The Young and the Restless. She's repped by the Kohner Agency, Harrison Stokes and Kraditor & Haber.
Blue Bloods returns Fridays in the fall on CBS.