9-1-1: Lone Star boss unpacks Pearce's explosive return and Owen's American Gigolo romance

Did anyone see that explosion coming?

9-1-1: Lone Star is known for putting its characters in peril, but there's usually a bit of warning: a volcano here, a serial killer there. But Tuesday's episode turned on a dime as two-time short-lived 126 member Pearce (Andy Favreau) goes from paramedic to "client" — er, patient — when his Paragon ambulance explodes due to faulty, aged equipment.

"We love Andy. He's just so funny," Lone Star co-creator and showrunner Tim Minear tells EW of bringing Favreau back to the show, this time working for the private company the 126 paramedic had worked for when the firehouse was shut down at the beginning of season 3. "We had been talking about the idea of our medical team going up against a private ambulance company for a while — and we also love [Adam Ray as Paragon boss Jacques], he's also hilarious. So we thought, 'What if we put these two obnoxious characters in the same world? What if Pearce was actually working for Paragon and for Jacques?'"

Minear says the creative team "loved the idea of the competition" between the 126 and Paragon, a dynamic that harkens back to the rivalry with the police officers last season.

"It was just an interesting dilemma for our medical team to go up against this private company," he says. "And of course it's not a private company that has the best standards. For all their smoothie slinging and probably playing Frank Sinatra in the ambulance, some of the equipment is not really up to standards. And so the thing blows up, and Tommy [Gina Torres] gets to save her arch-nemesis."

Elsewhere in season 4, episode 10, Owen (Rob Lowe) takes home a wealthy fundraiser attendee whom he begins to think considers him as a sex worker. "I wanted Owen to meet somebody super rich," Minear says. "The idea of Owen almost being the blue collar arm candy for this kind of socialite, I thought that was kind of a fun idea."

Michaela McManus and Rob Lowe on '9-1-1: Lone Star'
Michaela McManus and Rob Lowe on '9-1-1: Lone Star'

Kevin Estrada/FOX Kendra (Michaela McManus) and Owen (Rob Lowe) on '9-1-1: Lone Star'

Minear says executive Rashad Raisani had just done a pilot with Vampire Diaries and YOU actress Michaela McManus and suggested her for the role of heiress Kendra.

"That sort of brought a whole new life to it," says the co-creator. "As soon as I saw Michaela and Rob together.... They have such great chemistry, they look great together, and she's funny. She has a serious presence onscreen, but she's fun, and so I wanted Owen to kind of enter into a world that he wasn't used to, which is this world of wealth. And, hilariously, he thinks she might be paying him for sex, which just made us all laugh.

But there's "going to be a little bit more" to Kendra as the season goes on, says the co-creator.

"It's sort of a Murdaugh-like family," explains Minear, referencing the ongoing criminal investigations and convictions surrounding powerful South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh and his family. "And Owen is going to enter that world and see that sometimes there's a seamy underbelly of the glitzy, ritzy exterior of the super-rich."

But first, the showrunner teases, fans will finally get that cousin crossover they've been clamoring for ever since actor Julian Works, who guested on season 2 of 9-1-1 as a character named Marvin, was cast in the role of Mateo on Lone Star.

"It's the story of 'Do the mistakes that you make in your youth define you, and sometimes are those mistakes the things that make you better in some way?'" Minear says, adding that the episode will explore Mateo and Marvin's relationship as well as the one between Judd (Jim Parrack) and his son Wyatt (Jackson Pace).

9-1-1: Lone Star airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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