9-1-1 bosses break down season five and Eddie Diaz’s ‘slow burn’ – exclusive

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Rebecca Lewis




9-1-1 season five is over and the finale saw Bobby Nash (Peter Krause) about to drink again – before Eddie Diaz (Ryan Guzman) interrupted him for a heart-to-heart. Elsewhere, Evan ‘Buck’ Buckley realized the differences between him and his girlfriend Tayor Kelly were too big to overcome, and Henrietta Wilson and his wife Karen renewed their vows.


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The season has been a roller coaster, but it’s coming to an end with the 118 all in good stead – no cliffhangers for this first responder show, with executive producer Kristen Reidel admitting they “like to come out on a happy note”, and especially because the showrunners themselves like it.


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9-1-1 was officially renewed for a sixth season just hours before the finale aired; the show is still the highest rated series in key demographics and was named the fourth highest rated scripted series in the 2021-2022 television series.


But Kristen has been looking ahead for a while, recounting HELLO! that she currently sees season six as an extension of those final episodes of season five with an emphasis on “going back to basics” and “having fun” with the characters…


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Bobby has been going through it these last few episodes. Will this continue next season?


Bobby is an alcoholic and he always will be, but the fact that he finds himself at the precipice of drinking again, and no, is where he will be for a while. It was a scare for him but he is doing his meetings and working his steps and I think we leave him in a good position.



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We leave Bobby in a “good place”


Ryan Guzman gave some amazing performances last season, can you talk about that whole story and work with Ryan?


Ryan and I had a lot of conversations about this when we decided that Eddie would leave 118 at the end of the Christmas episode.


It felt like something we wanted to honor and he was completely on board and excited about it. We had a lot of conversations about who Eddie is and what made him the man he is, and it was a great experience working with Ryan on that, and seeing what he did with the material we gave him.


Even the stuff with his dad, that was such a big step for this character.



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Eddie discovered what made him the man he is


The scene with Eddie and Bobby is so different from the one we saw between the two earlier in Episode 13, and it was so nice to see that parallel and growth.


This moment was really something that we wanted to do from the moment we started Eddie’s story but it’s always a question of ‘Can we make it with the number of episodes we have?’


But the idea that Bobby was there for Eddie so much and really helped him, and then at the end of the day, Eddie is the one who saves Bobby without even realizing it, is that what he does?


It was like the graceful ending to Eddie’s story.



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Bobby and Eddie got along this season


There’s also a wonderful scene in the finale of Eddie calling Buck (Oliver Stark) for not coming home that parallels Buck giving Eddie romantic advice earlier in season five, are those parallels on purpose ?


Sometimes it’s coincidences and we’re like, “Oh, we didn’t mean to do that, but yay! and there are moments that are absolutely on purpose.


Buck has been on an interesting journey this season – will he get happiness after desperately craving?


I think he will – but I think a big part of his story this season is that he doesn’t want it as much as he used to. Buck wanted it too badly that he was willing to put his wants and needs aside to do it. work. In that finale, he finally says, “I’ll never be good in this relationship and I have to get away from it.”


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Buck’s journey has also been one of self-discovery


This partnership between Buck and Eddie has become such an important part of the show for many, does that add pressure as the show’s writer to do them justice?


Pressure is not the right word, but I think friendships on this show are the things we do best.


One of our challenges is that we have a lot of good friendships between different characters and sometimes we just can’t fit it all in.


You want scenes of everyone with everyone because they’re so awesome that’s always my personal challenge.



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Fans fell in love with Buck and Eddie


9-1-1 never ends on a cliffhanger like many other first responder shows, is there a reason for that?


No more [executive producer] Neither Tim Minear nor I ever wanted to end it on a cliffhanger. Every once in a while we’ll do a hang chad ending like at the end of season two when Buck got hurt but we usually like to go out on a happy note and for various reasons – one is that we love it!


After a season of what we’ve put the characters through, we like to come out on a positive “everyone’s fine” note.


Second, when we start next season, we’re starting from scratch and we don’t have anything holding us back or anything we need.



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Kristen is already considering season six


What’s your overall look at season six?


For season six, we want to go back to basics, which is kind of what we did in the second half of season five. We want to have more fun with the characters – we haven’t really been able to do that this year.


Also, I think I’d like to see us mix and not always have Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Chimney (Kenneth Choi) together; let’s fuss with Chimney and Eddie! It’s the hope for next season to mix it all up and have fun with our people.


How do you find the right balance to give an ensemble equal screen time? It is impossible to run nine scenarios for each regular episode.


It is – and we have tried it and it never goes well!


What we’re trying to do is keep an eye on the bigger picture.



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Arielle Kebbel (left) joined the show in season five


Often we do a story with a character that will lend itself to another story with that character in the next episode, so we try to do two or three episodes focusing on one character and then allowing another to have their moment.


It’s a constant juggling act because we all love them and the challenge is [we ony have] 43 minutes.


The 118 is so tight. How do you decide when and how to bring in newcomers – like Lucy (Arielle Kebbel) and Ravi (Anirudh Pisharody) last season?


It’s a challenge, but part of it is fair find the right stories and the right ways to integrate these characters outside of the fire station. There’s hope for next season that we can find some interesting ways to do it where it feels like it’s 9-1-1 and not that we’re suddenly watching a different show.



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Maddie returned after a battle with postpartum depression


What are you most proud of in Season 5?


We’re done! I would say I’m really proud of the story of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Maddie Boston and her journey with postpartum depression, and I’m very proud of the story with Eddie – it was a slow burn.


May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I don’t think any of us were planning on doing it. [these storylines at this time]but [mental health] was something we talked about throughout the show and it’s something that I’m still proud that our show did.


It’s okay to not be well, and it’s okay to get help, and as we see in the finale, if you’re worried about your friends, please go check on them.


9-1-1 is available to stream on Hulu


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