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Amy Carlson
Amy Lynn Carlson

(1968-07-07) July 7, 1968 (age 55)
Alma mater Knox College
Occupation Actress
Years active 1992–present
Partner(s) Syd Butler (2004–present)
Children 3

Amy Lynn Carlson (born July 7, 1968) is an American actress known for her roles as Linda Reagan in the CBS police procedural Blue Bloods, as Alex Taylor on the NBC drama Third Watch, and Josie Watts in the NBC daytime soap opera Another World.

Early life

Carlson was born in Elmhurst, Cook County, near Chicago, and was raised in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the daughter of schoolteacher parents, Barbara Jane (Hultman) and Robert Eugene Carlson. She is of Swedish descent, with roots in Småland.


1986–1992: College and early career

She was introduced to Hollywood when she worked as a background actor in the film Lucas starring Charlie Sheen, Corey Haim, and Winona Ryder. Later she followed her older sister Betsy to Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. While in college, Carlson was active in the school's theatre department, appearing in Fifth of July, Noises Off, A Lie of the Mind, and School for Scandal. She also got her first taste of directing when she directed Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon her senior year. Carlson graduated cum laude with a degree in East Asian Studies with a concentration in theater.

After graduating college, Carlson moved to Chicago where she studied improv with Charna Halpern at the Harold ImprovOlympic, and took acting classes at The Actor's Center with Victor D'Altorio and Eileen Vorbach. She also appeared in many small theater productions including Dark City, Revenge of the Cheerleader with Warren Leight and Theater of the Film Noir at the Folio Theater Company, among many others. She also appeared in three episodes of The Untouchables starring William Forsythe and Tom Amandes as three different characters. Carlson also appeared in three episodes of Missing Persons with Daniel J. Travanti as three different characters. On Missing Persons, she met Jorja Fox and not only did they share birthdays, they became lifelong friends. Other credits from Chicago include improv with Harold ImprovOlympic. She also played in Legacy of Lies a made for TV movie with Joe Morton.

1993–2003: Television contracts, films and relief work

Amy Carlson, May 2002 (cropped)
Carlson in 2002

Carlson landed the role of Josie Watts and moved to New York in late December 1993 to make her soap opera debut on Another World. During her first year, she traveled with World Vision to Rwanda to work on an awareness campaign after the war. She used her status on the soap opera to write several articles about the suffering in Rwanda that she witnessed for the large base of fans in soap opera magazines, such as Soap Opera Weekly. Later, she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1998 but after her contract ended, she decided it was time to move on. She immediately flew to Toronto to shoot Thanks of a Grateful Nation, about Persian Gulf War syndrome.

Carlson moved to Los Angeles for the first and only time in 1998, where she guest-starred in a number of prime time shows including NYPD Blue, had a recurring role on the show Get Real which starred Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, and filmed If These Walls Could Talk Part 2 directed by Martha Coolidge. While in LA, she tested against Mariska Hargitay and Angie Harmon for the role that Mariska won in Law and Order: SVU. Soon after, Les Moonves placed her in the CBS TV Series Falcone as Donny Brasco's wife, shot in Toronto. Falcone brought her back East where she remained, guest starring in Law and Order: SVU and filming independent films such as Winning Girls Through Psychic Mind Control directed by Barry Alexander Brown starring Bronson Pinchot and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. In it, Carlson played a down and out lounge singer and the production used the voice of the at the time up and coming singer, Regina Spektor.

2004–2017: Prime Time Highlights and Children

After leaving Third Watch, Carlson went on to star on Peacemakers, a CSI-inspired show, shot in Vancouver and set in the late 1800's, starring opposite Tom Berenger and Peter O'Meara. When the show was not renewed, she worked on several TV shows and films including a Law and Order episode entitled "Dead Wives Club". Soon Dick Wolf was calling to sign her to Law & Order: Trial by Jury where she co-starred alongside Bebe Neuwirth, Jerry Orbach, Kirk Acevedo, Fred Thompson, and Scott Cohen. The series attracted tremendous guest stars whom she was thrilled to work with such as Bradley Cooper, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, Elisabeth Moss, and more. After giving birth to her daughter, Lyla Forest in 2006, Carlson continued to work on a variety of film and television roles such as Guest Starring roles on Criminal Minds and Fringe. When her son Nigel was 10 months old she landed the role of Linda Reagan on Blue Bloods. Carlson continued in the role of Linda through the seventh season of Blue Bloods. During her hiatus, she played Erin Callan in Too Big to Fail directed by Curtis Hanson from the book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin chronicling the financial meltdown of 2008 working alongside James Woods. She was also written for the role of Christina Cassertes, by her friend David Cross in his directorial debut film, Hits. After seven years on Blue Bloods, Carlson's contract came to an end. In the eighth-season premiere episode, which aired on September 29, 2017, it was revealed that Linda—who was a nurse—had died in a helicopter crash while transporting a patient.

2018–present: Current work

Amy Carlson at PaleyFest 2014
Carlson in 2014

Following Blue Bloods, Carlson worked recurring roles on The Society and The Village. She also shot films Sunny Daze, The Incoherents, A Bread Factory Part One, and the indie horror film Know Fear. Just prior to COVID-19 shutdowns, Carlson co-wrote, directed and starred in a short film, The Letter, co-written by Syd Butler. She cast her friend from Law and Order: Trial by Jury, Scott Cohen as her co-star. Her work was honored with best director and actor at the Hollywood International Women's Film Festival, as well as awards with the Cannes Indie Film Festival, Hudson Valley Film Festival and Dark Women Film Festival.

During the 2020 pandemic, Carlson and her partner Syd Butler along with his bandmate Seth Jabour (Les Savy Fav, 8G Band), who together form the band Office Romance, finished and released their second album and first full length album, Holidays of Love.

In 2021, Carlson began shooting as a recurring cast member on FBI: Most Wanted, opposite her friend and co-star from Another World, Julian McMahon.

Personal life

Carlson resides in New York City with her long-time partner Syd Butler. They have two children.


In 2018, Carlson was presented with the Muhammad Ali Award for Gender Equality. In 2021, she won a Knox College Alumni Achievement Award.



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Babe, TheThe Babe Girl on Stairs
2000 Everything Put Together Jane
2002 Winning Girls Through Psychic Mind Control Kathy
Stella Shorts Hippy Girl Video
2007 Anamorph Alexandra Fredericks
2010 Trio N/A Short film
2011 Green Lantern Jessica Jordan
2014 Hits Christina Casserta
2015 Sight Unseen Rachel Sampson
2016 Natural Selection Laura
2017 The Landline Carla
2018 A Bread Factory, Part One Grace
2020 The Letter


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Legacy of Lies Marianna Nania TV movie
1993 Missing Persons Helena Brusich "Pilot", "I'm Gonna Miss Him Too...", "Right Neighborhood... Wrong Door"
1993–1994 Untouchables, TheThe Untouchables Various "Pilot: Parts 1 & 2", "Mind Games"
1993–1998 Another World Josephine "Josie" Watts Main role
1998 Thanks of a Grateful Nation Tammy Boyer TV miniseries
1999 Martial Law Cassie McGill "Big Trouble"
Get Real Dr. Sedgwick Recurring role
St. Michael's Crossing Kelly McGloin TV movie
2000 NYPD Blue Lisa Marantz "Along Came Jones"
If These Walls Could Talk 2 Michelle TV movie
Falcone N/A "Windows"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Kate Armstrong "Friends & Lovers"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Patricia Andrews "Asunder"
2000–2003 Third Watch Alex Taylor Main role
2002 ER Alex Taylor "Brothers and Sisters"
2003 Peacemakers Katie Owen Main role
2004 Law & Order Collette Connolly "The Dead Wives Club"
2005 Franklin Charter Maggie Keeler TV movie
2005–2006 Law & Order: Trial by Jury A.D.A. Kelly Gaffney Main role
2006 Drift Lauren TV movie
2007 Kidnapping, TheThe Kidnapping Rachel McKenzie
NCIS Karen Sutherland "Corporal Punishment"
2008 Criminal Minds Cece Hillenbrand "Tabula Rasa"
2010 Fringe Maureen Donovan "Unearthed"
2010–2017 Blue Bloods Linda Reagan Main role
2011 Too Big to Fail Erin Callan TV movie
2013 This One Time N/A "Amy Carlson"
2016 A Midsummer's Hawaiian Dream Helen TV movie
2019 The Village Julie Tucker Episode: "In Your Bones"
The Society Amanda Pressman Recurring role
2020 FBI: Most Wanted Jackie Ward Recurring role
2022 Would I Lie to You? (US) Herself Episode: "Criminal Bear"

See also

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