Texas Ranger Waylon Gates Returns to 'Blue Bloods' — Let's Revisit His Character

Katherine Stinson - Author

Mar. 10 2023, Published 6:59 p.m. ET

Waylon Gates (Lyle Lovett)
Source: CBS

They say everything's bigger in Texas, from the barbecue, to the phrase "bless your heart," to a strong, southern sense of justice — and nobody exemplifies that last part more than Texas Ranger Waylon Gates (Lyle Lovett), a recurring character on Blue Bloods that's spurring his way back to New York City on Blue Bloods Season 13, Episode 15, titled, "Close to Home."

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So why is Waylon's return causing such a stir? He hasn't appeared on Blue Bloods since Season 12, after all! Let's revisit this character who leaves criminals quaking in their boots.

(L-R) Waylon Gates (Lyle Lovett) and Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg)
Source: CBS
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Waylon Gates's 'Blue Bloods' character, explained.

Waylon Gates is basically an old cross-country co-worker of Danny Reagan's (Donnie Wahlberg). Danny worked with Waylon in the past to track down the Lone Star Killer (who ironically, committed crime in NYC) in Blue Bloods Season 10.

The crime-fighting dream team reunited again in Blue Bloods Season 12, when Waylon needed Danny's help intercepting some illegal drugs for a case.

The Texas Ranger speaks with a charming southern drawl, even politely informing a child unaware they were stuck in a dangerous situation at a school that he needed to help her evacuate as quickly as possible without betraying the gravity of the situation.

When the child innocently asks, "Did I miss recess?" when law enforcement enters her school, Waylon replies, "No ma'am. But we need to get out of here right quick!"

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So what inspired this southern gentleman to return to NYC in Blue Bloods Season 13, Episode 15?

According to the official synopsis for the episode, "Danny partners with Texas Ranger Waylon Gates again to deliver an infamous drug cartel boss to arraignment, but the mission becomes complicated when the criminal threatens to harm the Reagans."

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Waylon is played by a bona fide country star.

Adding an extra-thick layer of genuine Texas authenticity to Waylon's Blue Bloods character is the fact that he's played by a country music star who hails from Houston.

Lyle Lovett has release a whopping 13 country music albums over the course of his musical career, and was even married to Julia Roberts from 1993 to 1995 (the '90s were a different time, y'all).

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Still a dedicated country music artist at his core, Lyle actually wrapped up his latest concert tour a day before the episode of his Season 13 Blue Bloods return aired.

So is this the start of a multi-episode arc for Waylon on Blue Bloods Season 13, or is his appearance just a one-off? The answer is unclear for now. However, Waylon Gates and Danny have proven to be an unexpectedly fun crime-solving dream team on Blue Bloods, so it would definitely be fun to see Lyle return again to the show in the future!

Watch Lyle reprise his role as Texas Ranger Waylon Gates tonight on Blue Bloods on CBS at 10 p.m. EST.

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