HOLLYWOOD—I rarely watch TV shows when they are recommended to me by others. Why? I’m a busy person and sometimes I just don’t have the time to watch everything. I mean let’s face it; there is a lot of stuff to watch on TV nowadays. After weeks of being pushed by my siblings and friends to watch the FOX series “9-1-1,” I gave the show a chance and I’m hooked.
I’m trying to put into perspective what it is about this series that I thoroughly enjoy. It’s not just the characters, because their stories alone are quite captivating. It is the notion that we have a series putting a spotlight on a profession that doesn’t always see the light of day in respect to firefighters, paramedics and police officers. I will argue that “9-1-1” focuses a bit more on the firefighters and I love that aspect.
Are some of the incidents our characters encounter a bit of a stretch? Without a doubt, but I would not pass the notion that such things have transpired in real life. I mean we’ve recently seen someone get stuck between two buildings, a woman get stuck after putting her head in a tail pipe, not to mention a body builder getting stuck in a pose. The narrative centers on Los Angeles Fire Station 118, which is manned by Captain Robert ‘Bobby’ Nash (Peter Krause).
His crew consists of unique characters in their own facet. We have Evan ‘Buck’ Buckley (Oliver Stark), who some would consider a playboy, with a heart of gold. He was in an interesting relationship with Abby Clark (Connie Britton) in the first season. However, Abby is not on this season, so Buck has been mending a broken heart in recent weeks wondering when his love would return if ever. A new edition to the team this season was firefighter Edmundo ‘Eddie’ Diaz (Ryan Guzman), whose life is a chaotic one to say the least.
Eddie tale is front-and-center this season and delivers a strong emotional burst for the series because while working as a firefighter, he is a single parent to his son who has cerebral palsy. It is so heartwarming to watch, and nice to see a series put a spotlight for parents who go above and beyond to ensure the best care for their children. As a viewer you want to tear up at times witnessing the bond between Eddie and his son.
Another new edition to the season is Jennifer Love Hewitt as Maddie Buckley Kendall, a 911 operator, who is Buck’s sister. Maddie has an interesting story as well because she has fled an abusive relationship and is hiding from her ex. Hewitt is fantastic in the role with her ability to convey nuanced emotions of fear, anxiety and stress. I have a feeling at some point this season, Maddie’s ex will locate her and it will be utter chaos.
Other important members of the team include Henrietta (Aisha Hinds) and Howie (Kenneth Choi), both characters who provide a bit of laughter, but also heart to the fire station. It looks like the writers might be pairing Howie and Maddie as a couple in the near future, just as Henrietta made peace with her dying father. If we’re looking at our lead characters, I would have to crown the sensational Angela Bassett as Athena Grant, a LAPD sergeant, and Bobby.
As a viewer, it is a surprise in the first season when we discover that Athena and Bobby are a couple. That was a direct result of Athena learning that her husband Michael (Rockmond Dunbar) is gay. Athena had some hostility against her husband, but that has slowly dissipated since the first season. Athena is a fierce character and takes mess from no one. In the season 2 premiere episode, she didn’t falter from doing her job after a prep helped her rescue another man. I thought her reaction was cold, but now that I think about it, I respect her that much more for not wavering from doing her job.
Bobby is a stone cold leader; he keeps his team focused and does his best to navigate tricky situations. You can sense he is still adjusting to his relationship with Athena and her kids. It’s always messy when you find yourself in a situation of a divorce. No one truly wins, but the series finds a way to highlight that glimmer of hope for viewers.
Watching “9-1-1” gives me a sense that I’m actually in that fire truck, I’m in that fire station, I’m in the police cruiser, I’m in the 9-1-1 operator room; Ryan Murphy and crew know how to suture the audience into each episode to where it’s so seamless you don’t even realize it. That’s a testament of strong storytelling and riveting character development. I wish I had NOT waited so long to catch onto this stellar series. For those who are NOT watching “9-1-1” it is a series that is not to be missed. It airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.