‘9-1-1’s Jennifer Love Hewitt on Maddie’s Necessary Move & Relationship With Chimney
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 14 of 9-1-1, “The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1.”]
The call center was taken over in Monday’s episode of 9-1-1, but fortunately, help was on the way — and the dispatchers saved themselves.
The attack on Josh (Bryan Safi) was part of a plan for his (awful, awful) “date” Greg (Sean Kleier) and his crew to rob a museum; they diverted first responders away from the area by maintaining control of the call center. However, the real mastermind was Tiffany, presumably just the driver, who tried to get away with the stolen goods and her call center security guard boyfriend. (The cops caught them at the train station.)
But in the process of the dispatchers taking back the call center, while Chimney (Kenneth Choi) and Buck (Oliver Stark) rallied Athena (Angela Bassett) and the police outside, Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) used an EpiPen to take down Greg — and feared she killed him. (She didn’t.)
Here, Hewitt breaks down “The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1” and previews what’s next.
This was a crazy episode, seeing inside the 9-1-1 call center and the dispatchers in a way that we haven’t before. Usually we just see them answering the emergency calls, and here, they were the call and their hands were tied as to which calls they could respond to.
Jennifer Love Hewitt: It was really crazy. One of the first questions all of us asked, the first day when we’re doing rehearsal, is, “But with this going on, how will we answer the calls?” As actors and as people who play these [characters], that was our biggest concern. Will we look like we’re not helping people still? The answer was, “It’s going to be okay because we’re going to explain and have people on your case with guns explaining why you can’t answer the calls or when you do, why you’re answering the way that you are.” But it was a big concern for us, and it felt strange.
We also were very surprised at the end when they brought in new call center people to sit at our desks. We all had this weird moment of, “Hey! That’s my desk! I’ll answer that call, get up.” We had to learn so many new protocols and things for this episode, of how this stuff is really handled, if and when it was to happen. That was interesting.
The dispatchers came together to fight back, but Maddie made the biggest move. Did any part of her regret what she did when she couldn’t find Greg’s pulse? Or did she still realize that she did what she had to?
She did what she had to do. Ultimately, Maddie did not want to have to kill another person — she had to do that once already with her husband — and that wasn’t her goal, so it was a moment of, “Oh my gosh, please tell me I did not have to do this again.” But ultimately, to save everyone, Maddie would have done whatever she needed to do. It just worked out better for her this time.
Yes, fortunately, Greg survives, but will we see Maddie dealing with the aftermath of that and the hostage situation moving forward? Will it change her?
I don’t think so. Because we watched her deal with so much after her husband, what Maddie is going to be awarded after this situation is some joy and some relief. She’s just been through so much. Hopefully the connection with Chimney and that being deeper after this scenario will allow her some joy. Knowing how connected now she truly is to all of the call center people and them being her tribe will lift her. You will definitely see in all of them some differences and some trauma, but not anything that’s too crazy.
So this won’t change anything at the call center going forward? It’s just going to be minor things?
Yeah, for at least the episodes that we’ve already shot. I don’t know going forward if there will be bigger changes or if there will be other things.
Maddie and Chimney’s relationship has been so sweet, and we saw how much trust she put in him with that message on the call, which is so important given what happened with her husband. And she met his family a couple episodes ago. What’s next for them?
They’re moving in the right direction. What I love about them is they have taken it slow. They are very thoughtful in their relationship about making sure that they, in each moment, take into consideration what they have both been through separately and in coming together.
They have been through a lot. They almost lost each other dying twice, and they’ve only been together a year and a half, which does not happen for most couples. That’s a big thing for them to consider, and I love that our writers and producers and the network are really allowing this relationship to be well-earned for the audience. I think that’s part of the reason the audience is as crazy about them as they are, is because we’re earning it slowly. But anything that you earn like that is deep and profound and important, and that’s who Chimney and Maddie are for the audience watching, and for Kenny and I as well.
They’re going to be in a really great place, and you just never know with those two.
She’s taking over his closet. Could we see them officially moving in together before the end of the season?
[Laughs] I know! I think it’s more spending more time together and then they’ll talk about moving in together soon.
And I like getting the small moments we do with them, even though Chimney’s brother didn’t really understand their relationship.
Yeah, it’s a really special thing. I don’t know two better people honestly than Chimney and Maddie, and they deserve another really good person and they have found it. It’s really good, and it’s just nice to see them have that, particularly when you see how crazy and intense their jobs can get and they really are putting themselves in harm’s way most of the time. It’s really nice to see them get joy and love.
I’ve absolutely loved seeing Maddie and Josh’s friendship. Are we going to see more of it this season?
You will definitely see more of that, and Josh is really now effortlessly folding into Maddie and Chimney’s relationship, a friendship with Buck. He’s reaching out into more of the group. You will definitely see more of him this season and I hope next season.
Bryan and I are really good friends off camera, and we just adore working together. I don’t know if they even knew how many episodes they were going to have him in when he started, but he’s given such a great performance and made a character that people love and root for so much that he has just now become a really huge part of things for us at 9-1-1 and I love him to pieces, so it’s just really fun for us.
Please say we’ll get more of those dinner scenes with Maddie, Chimney, Josh, and Buck.
[Laughs] Yes, you will get more of them. And those two are really funny together, they crack me up.
There’s been talk of seeing Abby again, and while I know nothing is confirmed, what can you say about how Maddie might feel about her brother’s ex reappearing in his life?
It would be complicated. Maddie has to tiptoe in the Abby situation because she and her brother were strained at the time Abby was in his life. I’m sure Buck would have loved to have had a sister around to talk about all of that stuff, but Maddie obviously had her hands full in her very destructive relationship and so chose to remove her family from her life for that period of time.
Then when she came in, hearing about Abby and Buck’s relationship was a nice distraction and a nice sort of, “Let me talk about what’s going on with you versus living in my nightmare anymore.”
She’s a protective older sister. She would want to know if Abby showed back up again, why and what she was there for. I don’t know that she’ll have that opportunity, but Maddie’s feelings about it would be complicated.
And now Maddie’s the one in a settled place in her life, while Buck is figuring things out.
I and Maddie hope that Buck gets to have a great love again because he deserves it.
There’s an event that affects the entire city in the penultimate episode and a giant disaster in the finale. What can you tease about those two episodes?
It’s not a tsunami, and it’s not an earthquake. We’ve done those. It involves a lot of people. You’ll have a lot to digest. And whatever the event is may or may not, in moments, be as big or traumatic as what is going on with the characters in the midst of it.
9-1-1, Mondays, 8/7c, Fox