‘9-1-1’: Angela Bassett & Peter Krause Talk Teaming Up on Athena’s Personal Cold Case

Angela Bassett and Peter Krause in 9-1-1
Spoiler Alert
Jack Zeman/FOX

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for 9-1-1 Season 6 Episode 3 “The Devil You Know.”]

The devil can wear a familiar face and trick you with lies, Athena (Angela Bassett) knows well from her police work. But in the latest 9-1-1, she had to contend with the possibility that someone very close to her killed the young girl who disappeared from her neighborhood 45 years ago after her body is found buried under an addition to her parents’ house.

“I think that it’s a beautiful story. I’m glad we told it through Athena’s perspective and through this character’s storyline about the sanctity of girls and of Black and brown girls in particular, and that they should not be forgotten. And Athena as a character has never forgotten Tanya,” Bassett told TV Insider.

To Athena and her mother’s surprise, her father ended up the prime suspect. And Athena started to wonder if there was something she missed, especially since she remembered her father coming in late, his shirt dirty the night Tanya disappeared. “I’m afraid he could’ve done it,” she admitted to Bobby (Peter Krause) after insisting he not look through her father’s papers.

Peter Krause and Angela Bassett in 9-1-1

Jack Zeman/FOX

But how much of that was Athena thinking he could truly be guilty and being influenced by the loved ones she’s seen over the years who thought they knew a killer so well? “Because of who Athena is, I think [with] all that she had seen, [she knows] you cannot be surprised by human nature,” Bassett said. “But the one individual that she could depend on who was steady and sturdy, I believe, was her father. But even still, because of all that she’s seen and experienced, I think there was sort of that 1 percent, 2 percent of her that would be devastated if it were true that he were involved in this this gruesome murder.”

Bobby was on the other side of the argument. “Bobby has no idea that Athena suspects that her father could remotely have something to do with this, so he’s more concerned with clearing her father’s name than digging anything up which might implicate him there,” Krause explained. “There’s not any part of Bobby than believes her father had anything to do with this. Athena, because of her work as a police officer, I think, is more fearful that her father may have had something to do with this. So she’s more reluctant, I think, to dig through his things than Bobby. But Bobby is a good judge of character.”

Once Tanya’s sister revealed what she’d kept from the police about that night — she snuck out to meet friends, including Junior, who, in the present-day was going to fix Athena’s parents’ house — the truth slowly was revealed. It was Junior, as Athena and Bobby both realized due to the sound of the family truck, a noise that Tanya’s sister remembered from that night.

Angela Bassett and Peter Krause in 9-1-1

Jack Zeman/FOX

“Athena understands human nature and the smallest details — you know the ‘devil’s in the details.’ So I think Athena really pays attention to detail and words and the most natural occurrences. Sometimes there’s a clue and she pulls these strings — from various places, from the antique truck, and the noise that it makes, the experience she had of always this running away from this young man when she was a young girl,” Bassett said. “It could have been her. She could have been on the other end of that tragedy.”

Yes, a chase through an orange grove ensued during the takedown, following Bobby initially being the one to intervene as Junior was about to kill Tanya’s sister to take care of loose ends. “I was looking forward to it,” Krause said of that scene (his favorite to film of the episode). “I had to roll around in some rotting oranges and a little orange grove in Pomona for that scene and got home and looked at myself in the mirror and had more dirt and bruises on myself than I thought I would, but we had a good time.”

Now that the case has been solved, “I feel like a weight’s been lifted from [Athena],” Bassett shared, “[as well as] from [Tanya’s] sister. We see who she became, and how she dealt with it. So I think for all them, that weight has finally been lifted. I can’t imagine having that lack of closure and the pain that is ever present.”

Peter Krause in 9-1-1

Jack Zeman /FOX

If you enjoy seeing Athena and Bobby investigate together, you’re not the only one. Krause does too, likening it a bit to Hart to Hart, starring Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner. “That’s one of the fun things that we get to do in 9-1-1. We get to mix it up, sometimes it’s about the emergencies and sometimes it’s about solving a crime.”

Athena and Bobby had been planning to take a vacation together (a cruise to be specific) when her father’s medical emergency led to a change of plans. And in planning that time away, Bobby’s drinking — which was raised at the end of last season, too — came up. Krause thinks “Bobby’s quite on top of his addiction at this point in time,” and while Bassett did say that Athena’s “concerned,” she’s “not overly worried. … I think she trusts that he’s reworking diligently every day on his sobriety.”

So will Athena and Bobby be able to get away for an actual vacation anytime soon? Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like it. “They haven’t gotten it yet, so I hope that they will. But they may have to wait ’til next year,” Bassett said with a laugh.

Krause agreed, teasing a lot “more exciting, wacky emergencies” coming up. Among them, he previewed, “there’s a famous singer that Eddie [Ryan Guzman] gets involved with.”

Speaking of emergencies, the premiere saw Athena save the life of a young girl with an artificial heart following the blimp crash. “That artificial heart is heavier than you know,” Bassett revealed. “That was satisfying. Episodes like that are so eye-opening to me, because we learn so much from our medical technicians, and they’re always gonna be right on point, making sure it’s authentic as we play it.”

But while the calls may be wild, Krause is enjoying the stability of the 118 right now. “Given the pandemic and everything everybody’s been through, it’s kind of nice to see a stable firehouse and some stable relationships. It’s a nice place for audiences to go,” he explained.

9-1-1, Mondays, 8/7c, Fox