Post Mortems

9-1-1: Lone Star's Gina Torres Defends Tommy's Reaction to Charles' Fate: 'That's What She's Wired to Do'

9-1-1: Lone Star Charles

Warning: We’re about to spoil the events of Monday’s 9-1-1: Lone Star. Haven’t watched? You’ve been warned.

Gina Torres is “not happy” about Charles’ fate after Monday’s episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star. “Not at all.”

“I have so much respect and affection for Derek Webster, who plays Charles,” Torres tells TVLine. “I’m so happy for him that he’s gotten a great new gig [on Paramount+’s Mayor of Kingstown] and he’s not being left out in the cold. In fact, it’s because he’s such a wonderful actor that he doesn’t get to play with us anymore.”

Torres continues, “One of the things that lured me to this role was that Tommy had an intact family. This was another beautiful example of a multi-ethnic family on television that loved each other and pulled for each other. They weren’t tragically anything, other than tragically in love. So I do feel the loss of that. And we didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Charles, but the flashbacks in this episode really fill in those blanks. You understand her loss, and what they had, even more.”

Picking up where last week’s cliffhanger left us, Monday’s episode began with Tommy in full first-responder mode, stoically assessing her husband’s status with a 9-1-1 dispatcher. When it became clear that he was dead, Tommy sent his body off to the morgue before preparing breakfast for their daughters. Business as usual.

“I absolutely loved it, and I agreed with it,” Torres says of Tommy’s unexpected reaction. “I have absolutely been guilty of doing the same. I’ve lost both of my parents. It’s something that you can’t vocalize, and you don’t want to. It takes so much more energy to share that and manage everyone else’s grief. That’s the position you’re in when that happens to you. You’re not just dealing with your own grief. Because she is a caregiver and a first responder, that’s what she’s wired to do. So you see that training kick in, which I thought was completely appropriate. And it gives the audience another take on how people deal with grief. We don’t all deal with it in the same way.”

Tommy couldn’t even bring herself to tell the medical examiner, who was a close friend, the whole story. It wasn’t until she unzipped Charles’ body bag and recognized his face that she realized Tommy was talking about her own husband.

“There have been so many court cases where the jury says, ‘We didn’t believe them because they didn’t react the way a person who did this would react.’ That’s an incredibly damning statement, and it immediately puts that person on the defensive,” Torres says. “The trick for me was to go into that place. This is her grieving process. It’s not that she’s cold, it’s not that she didn’t love this man, it’s not that she’s an unfeeling sociopath. This is how she’s doing this.”

During a much-needed mask break, Tommy encountered a man (special guest star Greg Grunberg) whose son was being taken off life support. He couldn’t bring himself to say goodbye to his son, but with Tommy’s support, he went upstairs… and pulled out a gun! He and his ex-wife were apparently at odds about their son’s fate; he believed that their son could still wake up if they just gave him time.

“The writers came up with a great distraction for Tommy, didn’t they?” Torres says. “Reading that script, I was like ‘What? And then what happens? And then what?!’ At first you think, ‘I can’t believe she has to deal with all of this,’ and then you realize, ‘Oh, she wants to.’ And of course she does, because then she doesn’t have to think about anything else.”

Desperate for a miracle, Tommy sat with the man until Owen could no longer keep the FBI at bay. The man’s son eventually awoke from his coma, but that only forced Tommy to finally confront her own situation, at which point she fell to the floor in grief. “I didn’t want to do many takes of that one at all,” Torres admits. “But I’m so glad we got that moment. We all got to let go.”

Moving forward, Torres says that we’ll see Tommy continuing to work through her grief, noting that “a little time jump” will help speed up that process. “There’s an acceptance, I’ll put it that way,” she says. “Now it’s about what’s next. And that’s going to be the running theme for the season finale, the ‘What’s next?’ of it all.”

Lone Star fans, what did you think of this wild hour? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.

TAGS: , ,
GET MORE: Interviews, Post Mortems, Recaps