Welcome to our first-ever Women’s Month Series! Throughout the month of March, we will be highlighting different women in pop culture — fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — who we think exemplify accurate and honest portrayals of women in the mainstream media and use their voices to empower and uplift.
Athena Grant is a Sergeant for the Los Angeles Police Department in FOX’s first responder drama, 9-1-1. Played by Angela Bassett, Athena has been all about family, doing what’s right (even if it means risking your job) and everything in between ever since season 1. She has gone through the wringer, from her daughter nearly dying of an overdose, to getting attacked by a serial rapist, to finding her late fiance’s killer. But at the same time, she’s been part of some beautiful moments, and it’s all because of her family, chosen and not, and it’s what makes Athena, Athena: a truly badass woman.
Introduced in the first season, we see that Athena Grant is a no-nonsense cop for the LAPD, but even she has some rough days. And that doesn’t change as the series goes on. We’ve seen Athena risk her life for her job and her family, but it’s always been worth it in the end.
Relationships Make Everything Better
Athena’s relationship with ex-husband Michael is a special one. While the two separated in the first season after Michael came out, they always remained close and showed care and support for the other. Now that Athena is with 118 captain Bobby, nothing has changed, she just has even more support and has more people to look out for and care for.
As for kids, May and Harry, it’s not easy for them to get away from their mom’s job. Season 1 sees May OD on pills that Athena was actually taking, so Athena confronts May’s so-called friend who was not being very nice to her daughter. She accuses her of drug possession and ends up getting suspended from the force. While the two of them have a typical mother-daughter relationship, they remain as close as ever, even if Athena didn’t initially approve of May taking time off from school to be a 9-1-1 Dispatcher.
Season 5, meanwhile, sees Harry get kidnapped by a serial rapist who had a run-in with Athena. The event leaves Harry traumatized and blaming his mom, but it made Athena realize that she’s been too focused on work and not enough on her family. Both moments were tough on her and viewers, and even now it’s hard to get through but she makes sure to be there for her kids and try to talk to them.
Athena’s Past Comes to Light
Season 3 included the long-awaited “Athena Begins” episode and it opened up plenty of emotions that Athena has bottled up. We find out that before Michael, Athena was engaged to a fellow officer, Emmett. While off duty, Emmett found himself in the middle of a robbery at a convenience store and when he tried to help, he got himself shot and killed. In the present, the gun that was used is found so Athena follows clues to see where it came from so she can finally find his killer. When she does, he’s ready to accept the consequences and turn himself in.
It was a beautifully heartbreaking episode but it really showcased Athena in such a raw and emotional state that we never really saw her in before. We never knew much about her background before the episode and to know that she had this whole other life before Michael and the kids that she didn’t talk about was such a surprise. But during the case when she was trying to find the killer, after talking to her mother she decided to tell her family about her fiancé. And when she did find the killer she told his mother herself and there was a parallel between telling her about his death and telling her about making an arrest after all these years. It was closure that the both of them have been longing years for and it was an incredible hour of television.
Facing Her Biggest Challenge
Not everything that Athena deals with is as easy as pie, and at times, she’s nearly died because of it. Season 3 brought the case of the realtor rapist, a guy pretending to be a realtor and raping women. The case went from a simple peeping tom to a rapist once Athena and the LAPD found drone footage and interviewed victims. Athena went by herself to follow a lead, and in return, she found herself getting attacked by him, with it all being heard on radio. The event leaves Athena badly injured and on medical leave, traumatized. Athena hasn’t talked much about what happened, even when Bobby tries to pry it out of her, but she just keeps it bottled up.
Following Harry’s kidnapping in the fifth season thanks to Jeffrey wanting revenge, Athena realized she’s spent too much time focusing on her job and not enough on her family. Not only was she a victim, but so were her loved ones, and it only made their love and bond stronger.
Athena has gone through it all and she powers through. She is a complete badass who is hard on the outside but soft on the inside. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for her family, and that extends to her friends at the 118. It’s clear that Sergeant Athena Grant is an incredible and inspiring woman, and it’s why she’s being highlighted for Women’s History Month.
Check back here for the next installment of our Women’s History Month series! Season 5 of 9-1-1 returns on Monday, March 21 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on FOX!