Chimney from 9-1-1 had less screen time because Jennifer Love Hewitt went on maternity leave, which allowed for the couple’s mid-season reunion.
Fox’s 9-1-1 was picked up for a sixth season following the network’s contentious reveal of its initial season pick-ups earlier in the year. The renewal meant that the series would have another season featuring its full original cast.
The fifth season of the series posed a challenge as actress Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character, Maddie, was temporarily written off in the surprising season four conclusion.
Her maternity leave meant that her love interest in the show, Chimney, appeared less and less during this time, resulting in speculations that he was leaving the series. But with Maddie’s return, the writers also brought Chimney back to our screens.
9-1-1’s contentious late pick-up
9-1-1’s sixth season renewal was one of two late pick-ups that were announced after the channel shared the initial shows renewed for a new season.
The renewal announcement was made following Fox’s presentation to advertisers which seemingly secured the show’s renewal, along with The Resident.
The non-renewal of 9-1-1 would have been a big blow to the channel considering that besides its sport broadcasts, the series is the most-watched programming.
What happened to Chimney on 9-1-1?
In season four, Maddie experienced postpartum depression after the birth of her child with Chimney, Baby Jee.
During the season, her depressive state came to a head when she nearly let her baby drown in her bath water while she was bathing the infant.
Despite the fact that Baby Jee was unhurt, this incident was considered her breaking point. Hereafter, she dropped her baby off at the 118 and sent a touching video message to Chimney confirming that she was leaving.
Therefore, after the beginning of season five, Chimney appeared less. Moreover, when he was included, it arguably seemed forced because fans wondered why he was not trying to find Maddie.
As such, Hewitt’s temporary exit posed a problem in developing Chimney’s arc in season five. This was, allegedly, due to the fact that Hewitt was taking maternity leave following the birth of her third child in September 2021.
However, no formal confirmation was shared about this by the series, channel, or the actress.
In a turn of events, by the middle of season five, the story reunited the fan-favourite couple in the episode titled Boston. The writers and producers created a compelling story to reunite the couple.
Boston considered a “one-episode spin-off”
Kristen Reidel, executive producer of 9-1-1, touted Boston as a “one-episode spin-off,” explaining, “The episode in Boston is not just their reunion, it’s what it took to get to that reunion.
There will also be some fun in there, because it is St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, which gave us some opportunities for fun amidst the trauma of everything they’ve been through.
There are some sweet moments in there, as well. They’ve been apart for six months, and they’ve been through a lot individually, and that changes their relationship going forward.”
9-1-1 introduces new cast member in season five
While fans of the series were preoccupied with whether or not their beloved characters were leaving 9-1-1 or not, it seems that the producers and writers of the series were concerned with imbuing some joy into the story.
To this end, they introduced Arielle Kebbel to the story in the role of Lucy Donato. Kebbel joined the series in episode 11 of season five, titled Outside Looking In. Her character was defined as a female version of the established character, Evan “Buck” Buckley.
The importance of Lucy’s introduction
Considering the fact that Lucy was the only major additional cast member, Kristen Reidel spoke about the significance of the character for the writers of the series, and what she hopes the character will signify for viewers, stating:
“One of the challenges we had in our little 9-1-1 world is that all of our characters have been through so much, especially at the start of this season with Maddie leaving, Chimney going after her, Buck dealing with that, and Eddie’s ongoing trauma issues.”
Reidel also added, “It felt nice to have somebody come in who didn’t have baggage yet, a breath of fresh air for lack of a better term. She’s new to this and she sees their world differently because she’s not part of the 118 yet. It just seemed like it was time to get a new person in there who could bring a different dynamic.”