Following a very rough road as of late, “9-1-1” had Maddie Buckley (Jennifer Love Hewitt) firmly in control of her life again this week and making moves that Hewitt didn’t think her character would be capable of in the early days of the Fox first-responder drama.
With Variety, Hewitt discusses Monday’s installment of the show, which saw Maddie deal with trust issues at home — where she and Chimney grapple with the reality of getting a nanny named Madga for Baby Jee-Yun — and in her home away from home, the 9-1-1 call center — where her new recruit makes the twist choice to feed personal info of people with medical emergencies to robbers, and risk Maddie’s career by using her login for the illegal activity.
New call center employee Noah’s betrayal that almost got Maddie fired was shocking. How long do you think it will take her to get over this, given her past?
This is a very personal thing that has happened with Noah, so in that big scene with him, when she expresses, you really didn’t handle this the right way, that’s big for her. And obviously, it is a break of trust and a big betrayal. But this new Maddie — Maddie 2.0, we’ll call her — is going to learn and has learned to not take everything with her for long periods of time like maybe she did before. When Noah is gone and he is karmically dealing with whatever happens to him based on his actions, Maddie will move on from it and it will be OK. But I do think that based on who Maddie is and who Doug was for her in her life, Maddie is always going to have trust issues. Unfortunately for her, she continues to just trust with such love and empathy all the time. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it’s not so good. And in this situation, it obviously wasn’t the right choice.
In contrast, can you break down Maddie’s choices in the comic-relief storyline to hire and fire nanny Magda?
It was a really fun storyline. And I’ve obviously dealt with that in my life, having kids and trying to figure out who do you trust with your kids, where do you let go, where do you hold onto your own personal beliefs and things done in the way that you want them to be done in your home. What I really loved about that storyline is that Maddie was the one — even though she had the GPS in Jee’s stuff — Maddie was really at the forefront of finding this nanny-house manager and deciding that it was what was right for them because she was ready to go back to work. And I love that ultimately Maddie was like, “I can’t take this in my own home, this doesn’t feel right.” I don’t know if two seasons ago she would have been able to do that. The woman who played Magda, Dendrie Allyn Taylor, and I have actually worked together numerous amounts of times over the last 20 years and she’s one of my favorite actresses ever. So it was also really fun for me when she showed up. It was so great, and I told her, “Thank God I don’t have to fire you on camera, because I would cry the whole time because I love you so much.”
I do hope Maddie and Chimney will find someone who can help them. Maddie has been through a lot, I don’t think her trust issues are for no reason. But it was a fun storyline, and I can’t wait to see who they ultimately end up with. And I do think that the bigger thing was less with Magda and more that Maddie, Jee and Chimney are now living in Chimney’s very small bachelor pad. And they’re expanding in their relationship, but they’re not expanding in space. So I think that’s hard.
Are you hinting at an upcoming relocation for the couple?
There will for sure, in a winter finale, fun storyline, be a relocation that will happen. It will not go as planned, I can tell you that much.
What do you think Maddie’s reaction is going to be to Buck’s choice in last week’s episode to be a sperm donor for his friend and his friend’s wife?
I don’t know how Maddie is going to react to that. We haven’t played anything so far. I don’t even know that Maddie knows what’s happening. I think Buck is a really interesting character, because he is so many people in their 20s and 30s that are constantly searching for what they’re gonna be, who they’re gonna be, what their story is, what their storyline in their life is gonna be, whether they’re the main character or the guest star and what it all what means. So I love Buck for that, but as of right now, Maddie hasn’t commented on it and there’s so many storylines going, I don’t think she even knows about it yet.
This interview has been edited and condensed.