Warning: This post contains spoilers for season 6, episode 3 of 9-1-1, titled "The Devil You Know."
9-1-1 is known for its outlandish emergencies and rescue scenes, but Monday's episode of the Fox first responder drama offered something a little different.
"It's something, of course, that's prevalent in the news cycle today, that sometimes the lives of black and brown girls are not taken as seriously when there's this cry for help," Angela Bassett tells EW of "The Devil You Know," which centers on a cold missing child case that has been reopened with her character Athena's father (Henry G. Sanders) as the prime suspect. "This episode takes us back to Athena's origin story. It's her reason for becoming a cop in the first place — someone that she was familiar with disappeared. There's this understandable fear that it can happen at any time, to anyone, when you least expect it."
"One of the great things about the type of storytelling 9-1-1 is doing is that it's not just about the big emergencies or tidal waves," adds Peter Krause, who plays Athena's husband, fire captain Bobby Nash. "Every now and then there are some crime solving mysteries. This one is a little bit darker than we normally go, I would say — you know, it's a real murder mystery."
While Bobby dives into clearing his father-in-law's name, police officer Athena is hesitant to get involved.
"She's put him on this pedestal, but her faith in her father is tested," Bassett says of her character. "Athena is very principled, but she finds herself questioning what she would do for him. Would she sit on the truth?"
That inner turmoil results in tension between Athena and Bobby, with the latter excited to solve the mystery.
"I think that Bobby sometimes questions, 'Well, what if I had become a cop or a detective instead of a firefighter?' So I think that there's a part of Bobby that enjoys this sort of thing," says Krause, who enjoys playing those stories as an actor as well. "Every now and then there's a little feeling of Hart to Hart — the Robert Wagner and Stefanie Power series — to the capers that Athena and Bobby find themselves in. I enjoy them, and this one is even more special because it is really personal to Athena."
Ultimately, the killer is revealed to be Athena's childhood friend. The reveal culminates in a climactic tussle in an orange grove, but allows Athena to "come back stronger with that same faith that [her father] is the man she's always believed him to be," says Bassett. "She also gets that extra love of coming to know her mother," continues the star, whose mom is played by Beverly Todd. "They had this mother-daughter strain, but this brings them closer together."
Jack Zeman/FOX Angela Bassett and Peter Krause on '9-1-1'.
It also brings Athena closer with her husband: "I think the relationship between Bobby and Athena is as solid as it has been. And that they walk away from this one feeling better, happy to have been with her parents."
With their Florida detour behind them, the 9-1-1 stars tease what's to come for the rest of season 6. Krause promises "more wacky, fun emergencies" while Bassett details a "big episode" they are currently filming centered on Aisha Hinds' Hen: "These last two episodes have been centered on Hen and her wife [Karen, played by Tracie Thoms.] It examines how Hen has always had this dream of being this doctor, but how that takes you away from the people that you love and fight with every day. Sometimes there are sacrifices that have to be made, and she's dealing with that."
New episodes of 9-1-1 air Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
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