If you’re a regular consumer of TV news, you probably weren’t surprised when it was announced during Monday’s 9-1-1: Lone Star premiere that Michelle Blake (played by Liv Tyler) is no longer part of the team.
But while fans have had four full months to process the news of Tyler’s exit, it’s fresh on the minds of Michelle’s former co-workers, who apparently have conflicting feelings about her major life decision. The premiere revealed that Michelle stepped down from her position to focus all of her time and energy on helping mentally ill people living on the street. (As you may recall, Michelle spent most of Lone Star‘s first season trying to find her missing sister, only to discover that Iris had been living on the street without crucial mental health treatment.)
Executive producer Tim Minear confirms to TVLine that Michelle is still in Austin, and that it’s his “dream” to bring the character back in the future. “And I’ve talked to Liv about this,” he says. “I think there are really interesting stories to be told about a first responder who, as we put it in the first episode, gave up her occupation to pursue her vocation. I think that’s a very interesting story to tell. Just like my dream was to somehow get Abby to come back to 9-1-1 [after Connie Britton’s departure], my dream is to get Liv Tyler back on Lone Star.”
Fortunately, Monday’s premiere introduced a more-than-suitable replacement for Michelle in Tommy Vega, played by new series regular Gina Torres. “Gina is such an easy fit for the show, it feels like she’s been there the whole time,” Minear says. “There’s a whole domestic side to her, and if Tommy had her choice, she wouldn’t be reentering the work force. She’s the breadwinner supporting her family, but she also feels like she might be missing out by going back to work. I think that’s very relatable for a lot of working parents today.”
Elsewhere in the eventful hour, Owen stopped a man from driving a tank into a veteran’s hospital; Tommy made a big first impression by saving a roller derby player’s life, then by tending to a victim’s wounds while being shot at atop a cell tower; T.K. was driven fully insane by his reunited parents (click here to read our interview with Lisa Edelstein, who says she’ll be around for most of the season); and Owen learned that his cancer is in remission.
And here’s some bonus scoop for all you “Tarlos” fans: “We will definitely be exploring more of Carlos and T.K.’s relationship this season. We’ll meet Carlos’ parents, and we’ll learn a little more about him. Not everything will be smooth, but you wouldn’t want that.”
Your thoughts on Monday’s Lone Star premiere, including Owen’s rekindled romance and the arrival of Tommy? Grade the episode below, then drop a comment with your full review.