‘9-1-1’: Jennifer Love Hewitt on Maddie & Chimney’s Future and That ‘Criminal Minds’ Reunion

    [Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for 9-1-1 Season 5 Episode 12 “Boston.”]

    Welcome back to 9-1-1, Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and Chimney (Kenneth Choi)!

    The episode “Boston” reveals what happened to Maddie after she left Chimney and their daughter, with the two reuniting in the middle of a St. Patrick’s Day celebration while a new friend (played by A.J. Cook, whom Hewitt worked with on Criminal Minds!) needed medical assistance. Afterwards, the couple talked about everything. What happened to Jee-Yun in the tub was an accident, but “trying to kill myself wasn’t,” Maddie confessed, adding she got out of the ocean for Chimney and their daughter. By the end of the episode, they were heading home, together, as a family.

    But what’s next? TV Insider turned to Hewitt to find out and talk about that Criminal Minds reunion.

    This was such an emotional, intense episode, especially that scene on the beach and in the ocean. Is it the most emotional one for you to film yet? You’ve had a couple that could be possibilities…

    Jennifer Love Hewitt: I think it was. I was curious after the Big Bear “Fight or Flight” episode if I was ever gonna do anything with Maddie again that felt as intense as that and this definitely beat it because it was a whole other level of trauma. I like to say it was all of her trauma sort of meeting up in one moment. It was exhausting to do, but it was really important and I really wanted to give it my all in every way possible and make people truly feel what it is to feel that moment and all of those things. I hope I did, and I hope that that comes across and I obviously hope anybody watching who had that moment or finds themselves in that moment feels seen by the episode.

    Jennifer Love Hewitt as Maddie in 9-1-1


    When you brought up all the trauma in one moment, it made me think of all the flashes that Maddie had on the beach. It’s everything.

    It is everything. I think that’s who she is. [Showrunner] Tim [Minear] and I talked about it a little bit and I sort of had this “aha!” moment when I was on maternity leave that Maddie really is a fugitive. She’s an emotional fugitive who I think has just been running her whole life from thing to thing, trying to feel safe and good long enough somewhere to heal. But as you see in the episode, you kind of have to have the ultimate breaking moment in order to leave everything and try to heal. I hope that that comes through for the audience and that they understand maybe finally why she left and was gone for so long.

    Could Maddie have gotten the help she needed and come out of it on the other side anywhere else? It had to be Boston because of the history, right?

    I think it had to be and it had to be six months. I think for a lot of the 9-1-1 fans, it was sort of like, how can a mom leave for this amount of time and do this kind of thing? What you see in the episode is you can’t heal all that she has to heal in a week and she couldn’t have done it in L.A. and she couldn’t have done it while trying to live her normal life and she couldn’t truly have done it while trying to worry every day if she was gonna hurt her child again in the process. Everybody’s story is different, but for Maddie’s story, this is what she needed to do in order to get better and to feel safe again in herself and in her family. Boston was the perfect place because it all kind of goes back to the beginning.

    Jennifer Love Hewitt as Maddie, Kenneth Choi as Chimney in 9-1-1


    Maddie and Chimney’s reunion — the shock of seeing each other, then the distance between them on the bench… Talk about filming that. It lives up to the high expectations.

    I’m glad that you feel that way. I don’t know if it’ll ever be enough because people have been anticipating it so much. But I really liked that when they first see each other, they have to be something else for Kira and for Eli [Mac Brandt]. Chimney has to have his back and take care of people and be that first responder that he is, and Maddie is doing the same for Kira. And I like that so much because that’s what the show is. The show is about first responders and what makes them unique people who are able to kind of push through their own things to help and save lives. I love that that was kind of how they saw each other first.

    When we went to do the bench scene, Kenny and I both just started sobbing in rehearsal, and everybody was like, “Guys, there’s no lights, there’s no cameras, get it together. We’re not ready yet.” But I think that we both felt a huge responsibility in that moment to give the audience the answers that they needed, and I do feel like that scene does that. I feel like the distance between them speaks volumes and it was important to me because everybody was sort of like, “Do we move them closer so the audience feels like it’s kinder and it’s softer?” And I was like, “No, they have to stay apart because the truth is that’s what’s happening. You can’t all of a sudden close all that distance in two minutes because it’s been so great and it’s been so vast between them, but then when it closes, it’ll be worth it.”

    Speaking of that distance closing, what’s next?

    It’s gonna be complicated, and it has to be because anything really good is earned. I feel like if all of a sudden, next episode, we’re a happy couple again, then everything that happened in Boston and for the six months wasn’t really worth anything. I call their relationship status “complicated with hope.” The one thing that I can say for sure to the viewers is what happened to Maddie and with Maddie, what happened for Chimney and Jee, all of that stuff, the only thing that never changed in their story was love. Love never changed. Love never faded. It never went away. None of this story was about a lack of love. That’s the beautiful part. What changed is the people and what they needed and what they needed to do to survive and the circumstances and all of that. That’s the kind of stuff that needs to be worked on, but the love didn’t go anywhere. The love isn’t gonna go anywhere. It’s just how they find their way back through all the stuff.

    I feel like they keep having to earn that happiness.

    I know! They earn happiness more than any two people I’ve ever seen. It’s crazy.

    AJ Cook as Kira in 9-1-1


    Going back to Kira, we have to talk about the Criminal Minds reunion. How did bringing A.J. in come about?

    Tim just called me one day and was like, what do you think? I was like, of course, that’ll be awesome. It was really fun because when I was on Criminal Minds, it was a show she had been on obviously for a long time and it was sort of her place and I was coming in and kind of just getting to play and have some fun. This was sort of the opposite. It was like she was coming into 9-1-1 where I’ve been for a while, and she was getting to come in and have some fun.

    Kira’s such an interesting character, and we both really had to hold each other up a lot in the episode in our different storylines and representations of women and moms and mental health issues. It was nice to be able to do that with somebody that I had a comfort level with. She had a blast and did a great job and it was really fun and we knew the entire time that there’s gonna be, our whole first scene, probably a gasp between Criminal Minds and 9-1-1 fans who will be like, “Yes! The worlds collided. This is awesome.” We were excited to get to provide that.

    9-1-1, Mondays, 8/7c, Fox

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