The moment every 9-1-1 fan has been waiting for is finally here.
After weeks of exchanging flirty phone calls, firefighter Evan “Buck” Buckley and 9-1-1 operator Abby Clark will meet face-to-face this Wednesday (Fox, 9/8c), though their long-awaited “first date” probably won’t go down the way you’ve been imagining.
“It was exciting and daunting,” Oliver Stark (aka Buck) tells TVLine of shooting his first in-person scenes with Abby. “I was actually a little nervous for it. Like, it’s Connie Britton. What if I’m rubbish and she’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ Fortunately, the first-date pressure is taken out a little bit because they’re essentially on a job. They have something else to focus on, but you still get these little undertones of ‘Oh, hi, we’re actually here.'”
Because 9-1-1 doesn’t always do traditional table reads before each episode, Stark says he’d never acted in the same room as Britton, though they try to call each other on the prop phones for their scenes whenever possible.
“It’s always interesting for me when I actually see the episode,” he says. I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s what she was doing when she said that line,’ or ‘Oh, that’s the face she was making.'”
But don’t go brainstorming a ‘ship name for Buck and Abby just yet; Stark says he’s “personally OK if it doesn’t turn into something romantic.” (To be fair, he did already turn her down once.)
Of course, Abby isn’t the only 9-1-1 character with whom Buck has a complicated relationship. Last week’s episode ended with Peter Krause’s Bobby — previously a stoic leader with no visible cracks in his armor — completely breaking down in front of Buck and Hen (Aisha Hinds).
“It’s like that moment where a kid realizes his dad isn’t the strongest man in the world,” Stark says. “It helped Buck develop even more respect for Bobby because he’s like, ‘You’re just like me, but you’re battling this stuff and you’re still doing this job and being a leader.’ In Episode 2, Bobby told Buck he needed help, so it kind of came full circle for Buck to say he’s here for him too. It demonstrated their trust in each other, almost like a family.”
Stark calls Bobby’s plea for help “one of my favorite moments to film,” as it triggered an unexpected emotional response.
“When we were shooting it, Brad Buecker — who was directing the episode — told me to hug Bobby,” he recalls. “I was like, ‘I don’t know, that feels like a bit much.’ But then we shot it for the first time, Peter [Krause] started crying, and I was in. One-hundred percent, I had to hug him.” (Then again, it probably helps that Stark considers Krause “a wonderful man. Like, the nicest man you can imagine.”)
What are your hopes for Buck and Abby? Buck and Bobby? 9-1-1 in general? Drop ’em in a comment below.