‘9-1-1: Lone Star’s Sierra McClain on Grace’s Family Conflict, Plus Are Kids in Her & Judd’s Future?
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 5 of 9-1-1: Lone Star, “Difficult Conversations.”]
What starts as an awkward call — a man fell unconscious on top of his girlfriend — becomes even more uncomfortable when the 126’s Judd (Jim Parrack) realizes the victim is his married father-in-law.
Grace’s (Sierra McClain) father lies to his family and claims he’d been in the hotel’s restaurant … but she learns the truth when she listens in to the 9-1-1 call at work. The 9-1-1 dispatcher can’t bring herself to tell her mom, however, nor does she confront her father by episode’s end. And she’s not ready to talk to her husband, either, just yet.
“This is tough overall,” McClain tells TV Insider, comparing her character’s attempt to tell her mom to trying to handle a crisis (which makes sense, given her job). “As far as her dad, it’s heartbreaking. I don’t even know how Grace is going to respond when it’s time for her to come face-to-face with him to confront what it is that’s happened. I’m a little scared, myself.”
McClain talks about those dangling threads, what’s next for one of the most stable couples in primetime, and more.
It’s nice to see how stable Grace and Judd are considering TV romances tend to equal drama. She says she understands and appreciates why he didn’t tell her about her dad, but will we see that affecting their relationship moving forward?
Sierra McClain: Naturally it probably would. This is going to have a very emotional impact on Grace down the line, even if we don’t see it immediately. Inevitably, she’s going to have to actually face it head on because she didn’t talk to her mom, her husband, or her dad yet.
Grace and Judd are so sweet together. What are you enjoying the most about that relationship?
Working with Jim Parrack is like going into a workspace and saying, “What is this supposed to feel like? What are we going to do right here?” I feel like I’m watching two characters who have been together for a while and I’m really glad other people feel that way too because you never know how people are going to take a relationship. Like you said, [TV relationships] tend to have a lot of drama, so we play it like we’ve been together a while and it is what it is. I’m very, very blessed to see what Grace and Judd’s impact has been on other people.
I respect their relationship and how they handle things. They even went through a little bit last season. They had some ups and downs and discussed a lot of different things, had some intimacy issues, so I’ll be interested to see what sort of marital things pop up.
We saw Grace handle bedtime with Tommy’s (Gina Torres) kids, so I have to ask: any possibility of at least a conversation about kids in Grace and Judd’s future?
[Laughs] Maybe I’ll have to drop a hint in a scene or something when they don’t expect it. That would be really, really interesting, just to see Judd as a father. I’m in the show and I would pay to see that.
Is Grace ready to have kids?
Yes. Grace would make a good mother. In Episode 205, we got to see some other sides of her that she struggled with. She struggled with telling her mother what was going on with her dad, having some issues with conflict. Not to say that would hinder her from being a good mom, but it’s interesting to see the different layers of somebody and all of who they are. Her coming to grips with this at some point is going to help her overall and probably Judd, too, as maybe hopefully one day, inevitably, they become parents.
Grace is always a rock star at work, and just this season we’ve already gotten two very memorable calls, one more comedic with helping rescue a dominatrix and the very serious domestic violence situation.
What a contrast with those two. The 9-1-1 calls are probably my favorite. When we get in there, they’re three to five pages long, but I really feel like I’m in it. I’ve never had any training but it’s something about being in there and actually running through these calls as if you were there you feel like it slowly becomes a part of who you are. I remember driving down the road and seeing an accident. I don’t play a firefighter or a cop, but my first instinct was to jump out of the car and try to help the situation or figure out what was wrong and get them some help. That was super strange to experience that.
I loved finding out Tommy introduced Judd and Grace. How important is it for Grace, especially with what she’s going through this season, to have Tommy and her family?
I was so excited for Grace to have somebody like Tommy, who’s in a very similar line of work and is working directly with her husband along with being an old friend. Of course Grace has her husband but [Tommy is] a female friend who is a bit of an outlet. They can talk about marriage and family. That’ll show a more relaxed, social side of Grace I’m really excited to be able to play, especially with somebody like Gina, who is as incredible as she is.
Especially since most of the time we see Grace, it’s at work when she has to be so focused.
Exactly. And with her husband, that’s a different Grace than when she’s with Tommy and they’re hanging out or she’s trying to do bedtime duty. It’s rewarding to watch [those] different sides.
What else is coming up for Grace?
You’ll be seeing a little bit more of Grace in situations you probably don’t expect her to be in.
9-1-1: Lone Star, Mondays, 9/8c, Fox