Pixel Tracker

Monday, March 25 , 2019, 5:13 am | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 

Diane Dimond: NYPD Retired Sgt. Edward Burns — The Father Behind the Scenes

Generally speaking, law enforcement types are a quietly proud bunch. They are proud to put on the uniform every day, proud to catch the bad guys and proud to dedicate their lives to keeping the public safe.

There might be no prouder cop these days than Sgt. Edward Burns, the retired New York Police Department’s media liaison. Besides dedicating 27 years of his life to public service — much of it as the TV face representing the NYPD — Burns has much to brag about. He has a lovely wife named Molly and three beautiful children. His daughter, Mary, was celebrating her 28th wedding anniversary the day Burns and I last spoke. And, oh yeah, his two sons are famous.

The sons didn’ go into law enforcement, but each has dedicated parts of their careers to cops in another way, telling captivating stories about the job to which their old man dedicated his life.

“I just tell people the boys are writers and leave it at that,” Burns told me. “I try not to brag. That’s not really a good thing ...” And as his voice trails off you can hear the justifiable and modest pride in his voice.

The oldest Burns son is Ed, 46, a multitalented bona fide movie star. He started out writing, directing and starring in films like The Brothers McMullen, She’s the One and Sidewalks of New York. He played opposite Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan.

Brother, Brian, is just 13 months younger.

“They were Irish twins, as we call them,” their father told me. And their former production company of the same name produced, among other things, The Fighting Fitzgeralds, which starred Brian Dennehy as a retired New York firefighter.

Brian also wrote for the hit HBO series Entourage. His latest screenplay, Daddy’s Home, starring Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg, goes into production this month.

As I talked with Burns Sr., it was easy to see that after all his sons’ accomplishments, nothing has made him more proud than what “the boys” are doing right now. They have turned their storytelling ability to a subject they know first hand — what it’s like to be part of a police officer’s family.

Brian is currently a writer for the hit CBS series Blue Bloods, which features a family of New York cops. Tom Selleck’s portrayal of the widowed NYPD commissioner helps audiences get inside the minds of officers as they make tough decisions. It helps the public get past today’s headline-making stories about police brutality and truly understand the daily life of a cop. The real-deal stuff, not the stilted scripts of older TV shows.

Big brother Ed is now writing, directing and starring in a new police drama for TNT called Public Morals, which takes a look back at vice squad cops working in the 1960s.

As their dad put it, “You know, prostitution, gambling, drugs and so forth ... all the stuff the Public Morals Division used to deal with.” Since that’s the era in which Ed Sr. began wearing the uniform, he is a consultant on the show.

“I make sure the procedures and language are right for the time,” he said.

The upcoming TNT series is described as portraying the real life of a police officer as he grapples with the fine line between morality and criminality. Ed Jr. stars as an officer determined to raise his sons to have integrity as he faces a daily dose of ugliness on the street.

Burns Sr. is much too modest to brag about it, but I’m thinking that’s exactly what he tried to do with his boys and daughter, Mary.

Oh, and one more tidbit about the Burns brothers that makes their dad’s chest puff out just a little more? Ed is married to supermodel Christy Turlington. Brian married Christy’s equally beautiful sister, Kelly. The Burnses now have nine gorgeous grandchildren.

Wait. Maybe someone should write a TV series about the Burns clan.

Think of it: An Irish cop who rose in the ranks of the nation’s largest police force, produced three accomplished children and picked up two gorgeous daughter-in-laws. Sprinkle in nine rambunctious kids, and I can’t think of a better cast!

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

Email
I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.