With a deadly tsunami tearing through the streets of Los Angeles, it felt like no one was safe on Monday’s 9-1-1. But as far as viewers are concerned, only one character absolutely must make it out alive next week: future astronaut (or maybe pirate) Christopher Diaz.
“Christopher must be protected at all costs,” writes one TVLine reader, while another adds, “My girls and I are going to [go] crazy this next week not knowing what happened to Christopher! He is one of our favorite characters. He must not die!!!” (That’s right, three exclamation points.) Suffice it to say, Buck isn’t the only person worrying about Eddie’s son’s fate.
So while we wait for an update on Christopher, let’s take a minute to shine the spotlight on Gavin McHugh, the actor who brings this beloved character to life. An inspiration to anyone living with cerebral palsy, McHugh began his acting career in 2015 after tagging along with some of his older siblings on a few of their auditions, according to Ability magazine. Though 9-1-1 marks his first major TV role, he has appeared in national commercials for Honda, Target, Walmart and Tommy Hilfiger, to name just a few.
Speaking with TVLine about filming the tsunami episodes with McHugh, Oliver Stark acknowledged, “There’s something that happens when you film with him. … He just draws the emotion out of you. He’s so aware of the scene we’re doing, he totally gets what we’re making and it’s just really lovely to work with him. Every scene takes on a different shape once I actually get to read it with him.”
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McHugh was even a pro when it came to performing his own stunts. “He never complained,” Stark told us. “I even hit his head on the firetruck once, and when they yelled ‘cut,’ I was like, ‘Gavin, are you OK? I hit your head.’ And he just tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘It’s OK, Buck.’ I just melted. He’s the sweetest, bravest kid when it comes to the stunts.”
And Stark is hardly the only cast member singing McHugh’s praises. Ryan Guzman, who plays Gavin’s father Eddie, recently shared a touching story with TVLine about a text message he received from McHugh’s mother: “Gavin had a school project where he had to pick an interesting person that inspires him, and he wrote about me. … He was like, ‘I love Ryan. We have so much fun and he’s such a great person.’ That just warmed my heart. Gavin is a light that you can’t shut off. He brightens everybody’s day just by walking into a room, and his laugh his so infectious. … I feel very privileged that my character gets to spend time with him.”
With the next episode of 9-1-1 still a few days away (Monday, 8/7c), drop a comment with your hopes for the tsunami follow-up below.