Post Mortems

9-1-1's Jennifer Love Hewitt Talks Maddie's Labor, Albert's Fate and More in Bittersweet Spring Premiere

911 Maddie Baby

Spoiler alert: We’re about to break down Monday’s 9-1-1 spring premiere. Haven’t watched? You’ve been warned.

Maddie and Chimney welcomed their baby girl into the world on Monday’s spring premiere of 9-1-1, a moment Jennifer Love Hewitt calls the “most exciting” time she’s given birth on screen — a statement that carries more weight than you might think.

“The last time I gave birth [on Ghost Whisperer], I was directing myself and I was giving birth next to a ghost,” Hewitt tells TVLine. “I always seem to find myself in interesting labor positions.”

“I think I had more fun with it on Ghost Whisperer because I had no clue what having a baby was actually like,” Hewitt adds. (The actress has since given birth to two children in real life.) “On this one, I was like, ‘Oh, I really have to give it more than I think I have to give it so it looks like real labor.”

It was a bittersweet hour, with Maddie’s delivery happening at the same time her baby’s uncle was fighting for his life in the hospital. “When they started running the promos, I got lots of DMs from people begging me to tell them whether Albert was going to be OK,” Hewitt says. “It broke my heart when I read the script, because I love [John Harlan Kim] so much. I remember reading it, then ferociously going forward in the script to find out if he was going to be OK. I just adore him, so it’s a scary thing, but I love the way it happened at the same time Maddie is going through what she’s going through. There is life, and there is the possibility of death. I thought it was really beautiful the way they wrote it.”

Read on for more of Hewitt’s thoughts about the premiere, as well as what’s next for Maddie, Chimney and their (robot?!) baby:

TVLINE | I imagine you won’t miss having to lug around that big ol’ fake pregnancy belly.
You know, [playing pregnant] was actually a perfect opportunity. As most of us did, I snacked quite a bit during quarantine, so I was like, “This is amazing. I don’t have to worry about losing six pounds before I go back to work, because I’m playing a pregnant woman!” That was really nice while everybody else was stressing out, having to stop drinking wine and eating chocolates. [The belly] was definitely a lot to carry around, but I loved Maddie’s story. Being able to do this for her and Chimney was really special.

TVLINE | At least Maddie gets to do a lot of sitting.
[Laughs] Yes, although I did way more sitting on TV than I ever did when I was actually pregnanct. I was like, “I would really be up and moving around more,” but it’s TV. I get it.

TVLINE | Have you two gotten to work with a real baby yet?
Well, during COVID, the baby has been an animatronic baby so far. We’ve had little moments with a real baby, but we don’t get to work with a real baby all the time because we have to keep them safe.

TVLINE | I’m sorry, did you say animatronic? Like on Splash Mountain?
Yeah, it’s like a little baby robot! We have the real one for certain moments, but for large portions of things we have the robot, which is so fun.

TVLINE | The moment Maddie reveals that she named the baby after Chimney’s mother was so special. Could you feel that while you were filming it?
Absolutely, it was really sweet. For a long time, [Kenneth Choi] and I were like real parents off-screen. We didn’t know what the name was going to be, but we were really curious, and then we had a funny moment where we were like, “Why are they not asking us what we want to name our baby?” When we found out what it was going to be — especially given everything that both Albert and Chimney go through in the episode — it was such a sweet moment, and I hope the audience responds to it the way we did. … I think Kenny is the one who really sells it the best. His little face when she reveals the name she picked just kills me. So sweet.

TVLINE | Not that I’m Mr. Traditional or anything, but do you think there might be a wedding in their future?
I think so. I’m not super traditional either, but she certainly has earned it after this labor. [Laughs] She’s at least earned a ring — a push present of sorts. So, yeah, I’m hoping for that. I’ve always loved the way Maddie and Chimney’s story has unfolded, both in the really complicated parts and in the easy, beautiful parts. I have complete faith that it will happen when the time is right.

TVLINE | I feel like their relationship has brought out a new side to both characters.
Definitely. They have both individually been through so much. They’re two people who are constantly dealing with their own individual things, and they find medicine for their hearts in the love that they have. And that’s why people love them as a couple. They’re not perfect, but they’re perfect together.

TVLINE | So much of Maddie’s past is mired in darkness. Do you think it might finally be smooth sailing from here on out, or not so much?
I do hope so, but I fear not. [Laughs] I fear that it’s not going to be easy, though I don’t know that for sure. When you’ve experienced real trauma like she has, there are always new ways for that trauma to come up. For Maddie, the percentage of joy and happiness in her life is becoming much more than the darkness, so she’s headed in the right direction. But when you give someone a story like that, it’s hard to ever fully recover.

Did 9-1-1‘s spring premiere have you feeling every emotion under the sun? And how relieved are you that Albert made it through? Grade the episode below, then drop a comment with your full review.

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