Today’s the day — we’ve finally made it to the highly anticipated season 4 premiere of 9-1-1. FOX’s hit procedural drama follows the high-pressure experiences of a group of first responders in Los Angeles, with an emphasis on the firefighters of Station 118.
Throughout the course of the show’s first three seasons, the main characters have been through an unbelievable amount of changes both on the job and in their personal lives. There has been happiness, tragedy, laughter, grief, loss, hope, and so much more.
Ahead of the first episode of season 4, which will premiere tonight, we’re taking a look back at how some characters on the show have changed between the beginning of season 1 through till the end of season 3.
We met Athena in season 1 of 9-1-1 during a very difficult and tumultuous time in her life — her husband Michael had just came out as a gay man. Balancing this huge change in her life, on top of taking care of their two children and working as a police officer for the LAPD, proved to be incredibly challenging.
Now, Athena has found love once again in her new husband, Captain Bobby Nash. Though there were certainly some bumps along the way, she remains on good terms with Michael, and the three of them have all worked hard to reorient the Grant-Nash family dynamic. Early on in season 3, Athena went through another life-changing experience in “Athena Begins” when she was finally able to track down the man who murdered her ex. This moment, which she waited 30 years for, provided her with some much-needed closure.
Near the end of season 3 in the episode “Powerless,” Athena was hurt very badly on the job by a suspect that she was after. The full repercussions of this incident remain to be seen, but based on promos it appears that she’ll still be dealing with the trauma in season 4.
In season 1, episode 1, Captain Bobby Nash was in the middle of reprimanding Buck when he said, “This is not a family,” in reference to Station 118. This Bobby was still dealing with the dark and suffocating guilt over the death of his wife and children. Though he was an excellent Captain, he very much kept those in his life at arm’s length.
Several important things happened to Bobby over the course of the show that completely changed his trajectory, one of them being the blood drive. When Bobby found out that his rare blood type could cure rhesus disease, he initially viewed it as a punishment. However, Chimney was able to convince him this was in fact a blessing. Moving onto season 2, Bobby and Athena began dating and eventually got married, and allowing himself to love someone again was a huge step. He has also been given a second chance to be a father again, as he is now a stepfather to Harry and May. These changes in Bobby’s life have poured over into his job as well.
Bobby has slowly but surely begun to let down his walls as he allows himself to get closer to his team. Despite the group’s ups and downs over the years, Bobby may now be eating his words from the first episode, becuase 118 is indeed a family after all.
Evan “Buck” Buckley
Our first experience with Evan Buckley in season 1 of 9-1-1 was Buck 1.0, who … well … let’s just say he would be the first to admit that he had something along the lines of a sex addition. From stealing a firetruck to get laid, to sleeping with his therapist, Buck had some interesting priorities. All of this came screeching to a halt when he began dating Abby, leading to a transition into Buck 2.0 as he learned to appreciate other types of intimacy that aren’t necessarily sexual in nature.
Things weren’t easy for Buck after Abby left, but he gained some much needed stability over time between rekindling his relationship with his sister Maddie, growing closer with the 118 while he began to act more mature on the job, and meeting Eddie, who would go on to become one of his best friends. Buck’s close relationship with Eddie’s son, Christopher, has also been integral in his journey.
Season 3 was a whirlwind for Buck, as he dealt with the aftermath of the ladder truck accident, the tsunami, the lawsuit, and then finally the unexpected return of Abby that gave him the closure he so desperately needed. Though life hasn’t held back with what its thrown at Buck over the years, he’s truly rolled with the punches, changed, and matured along the way as a result. Evan Buckley is certainly one of the most dynamic characters on 9-1-1, and we look forward to seeing what lies ahead for Buck 3.0 (Uncle Buck!) in season 4.
Henrietta “Hen” Wilson
In the first season of 9-1-1, Hen’s personal life took a tumble when she found herself briefly entangled with her ex-girlfriend. This, paired with the fact that Eva used Hen’s lapse in judgement to attempt to make Hen and Karen lose custody of their son Denny, put a strain on Hen and Karen’s marriage. Later, the two ran into more issues when they began to try to have more children but failed due to an unsuccessful IVF treatment. Despite these struggles, the show has made a point that Hen and Karen are in this together for the long haul, and their love is strong enough to weather any storm.
Near the middle of the third season, a traffic light malfunction led to tragedy when Hen hit a car with the ambulance and killed the woman that was driving. The guilt threatened to put Hen’s career in jeopardy, until a conversation with the old life coach that she saved once upon a time helped her decide to return to work. As we look toward season 4, Hen’s life is on the precipice of change once more. This time it’s something that could shake up the 118 as we know it, because she’s considering putting her passion and talents to an even more specialized use by going to medical school.
Howard “Chimney” Han
In season 1, Chimney was in a dead end relationship that had been struck up on a dating website. He was also in a near-fatal accident, and it only added insult to injury when his ex couldn’t even put on a brave face to help him through his recovery.
Once Chimney was introduced to Maddie, there was an immediate and obvious change in him. He had found someone that he could stand on equal footing with and someone that would respect him and love him for who he is (and not simply the idea of him). Finding a relationship like this was very important for Chimney, because he lost his mother at a young age and barely has a relationship with his father. Maddie and Chimney both also endured the trauma of the situation with Doug together.
Since meeting Maddie, Chimney has found the strength to reconnect with his “surrogate” parents, John and Anne Lee. And despite his initial hostility toward him, he’s also learning to accept his younger half-brother Albert. Finally and most importantly, season 4 will now find Chimney on his way to becoming a father.
When Maddie arrived in Los Angeles in season 2, she was scared and hurt from years of abuse from her ex-husband Doug. Upon reconnecting with her little brother Buck, taking on a job as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, and developing a friendship-turned-relationship with Chimney, Maddie finally began to take control of her own life again.
This journey hasn’t been without struggle, because Doug did manage to track her down, which ultimately led to her killing him in self-defense. Both Chimney and Maddie have internal and external scars from this, but they found a way to lean on one another to recover together. Now, the end of season 3 found Maddie pregnant with her and Chimney’s first child, which will be further explored next season.
After his wife left him and his parents became too involved in caring for his child, Eddie Diaz made the decision for he and his son Christopher to relocate from El Paso, Texas to Los Angeles, California. Eddie fit right in with the 118 because he had many key skills to bring to the table with his military background. Despite their rocky start, Eddie and his fellow firefighter Buck quickly became best friends. This led to something incredibly important, because it was Buck who realized that Eddie had found himself in a difficult situation as a single father of a child with Cerebral Palsy and limited access to assistance. Buck took it upon himself to introduce Eddie to Carla, and thus Eddie was finally able to get Christopher what he needed.
Later, Eddie found himself in a downward spiral when he was working on reconciling with his estranged wife Shannon, only to lose her in an unfortunate accident. As a result of this, Eddie began to struggle with anger problems, and he turned to underground cage fighting. By the middle of season 3, he finally began seeing a counselor to help work through his issues.
Meanwhile, as a father, Eddie has also been learning how to accept the fact that Christopher is getting older and becoming more independent in some ways. Moving into season 4, it will be interesting to see Eddie’s approach on life after his near-death experience in “Eddie Begins.”
In season 1, Michael Grant’s life was quickly on the path to changing when he came out as a gay man to his wife and children. He and Athena eventually divorced, and Michael began dating a man named Glenn, though the relationship fizzled out by mid-season 2.
Throughout all of this, Michael worked hard to maintain his relationship with his children despite the change in their family dynamic. He also had to learn to co-exist with Bobby as their new stepfather. In season 3, it was revealed that he had a brain tumor, and much stress was placed on both Michael and his family as he tried to accept the fact that he wouldn’t see his children grow up. All of this changed in the season 3 finale when Michael received the incredible news that the tumor had shrunk and would no longer be an issue. Michael’s life seems to be moving in a positive direction once again finally, paired with the fact that he may have a new romance with the elevator doctor on the horizon as well!
Tune in to FOX tonight for the season 4 premiere of 9-1-1 at 8 p.m. EST, followed by the season 2 premiere of the spin-off 9-1-1: Lone Star at 9 p.m. EST.