Fires and passions begin to burn in a new FIREFIGHTER series that shares a seattle home with a hit medical drama...
NEW DRAMA Station 19 wednesday, Sky Living HD, 10pm
WHILE THE DOCTORS in Grey’s Anatomy are busy saving lives, their counterparts in the show’s new spin-off series are doing the same – but risking their own lives too.
Station 19, which begins on Sky Living this week, is set in a Seattle firehouse whose firefighters enter burning buildings and battle blazes. Since the show is from Shonda Rhimes’s Shondaland Productions, expect plenty of sexual sparks to be ignited along the way.
Rosewood’s Jaina Lee Ortiz stars as Andrea ‘Andy’ Herrera, an experienced first responder at Station 19 where her father is captain. In the first episode, she’s freaked out by a marriage proposal from fellow firefighter Jack Gibson
(Aquarius’ Grey Damon).
She also discovers her dad has cancer and is going to step down as captain and appoint her would-be fiancé in his place. Andy reacts to all of this by sleeping with local cop Ryan Tanner (Alberto Frezza), who was her former high school boyfriend.
‘For Andy it is all about work and being successful, and being good at her job,’ explains
Ortiz, 31. ‘But all of her relationships are, for lack of a better word, just awful.’
Being a dedicated workaholic with a messy private life allows Andy to fit right in with Shondaland’s other leading ladies – Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy, Olivia Pope in
Scandal and Annalise Keating in
How to Get Away with Murder. Indeed, Andy and Meredith bonded when some of the Station 19 characters were introduced to viewers in a recent episode of Grey’s. The occasion allowed Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith, to give Ortiz some advice about being the star of a major show.
‘The best thing I got from her is to take care of myself,’ says California-born Ortiz. ‘The schedule of TV drama involves putting in 70 hours plus a week, so she advised me to eat well, get rest and make sure that I’m prepared and ready to perform at my best.’
Playing a firefighter means the physical demands are even greater on Ortiz, who took the candidate physical ability test which measures an individual’s ability to meet the qualifications of being a firefighter.
‘It’s eight different tasks one after the other, starting off with a stair climb for three minutes, where they put about 50 pounds of weight on you. It was very hard, but I wanted to see what firefighters go through. And I passed, which was great.’
The actress also got to slide down a fire pole. ‘It’s not as much fun as it looks because if you hold on too tight you can burn your palms,’ she says. ‘We did it in the first episode and had to do it about 20 times. I don’t think any fire stations have the fire poles anymore because it’s a hazard. But in Station 19 we definitely have one!’
Working alongside Andy at Station 19 is Grey Anatomy’s anaesthetist-turned-surgical resident Ben Warren (Jason George) who has retrained again – this time as a firefighter. He takes some teasing for being the new guy, especially as he can’t refrain from talking about the amazing things he has seen and done as a surgeon.
‘Ben does get humbled,’ explains George, 46. ‘He’s older than some of the others, but he’s also learning. Every character in Station 19 is at a different stage in their lives.’
Ben is married to Miranda Bailey, chief of surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital and she, along with Meredith Grey, appears in the first episode of Station 19. So will there be more crossover episodes?
‘There is a lot of possibility for cross pollination,’ says Ortiz. ‘As firefighters, we do have to send people to a hospital and Grey
Sloan Memorial is close by. We may bump into familiar faces because that’s what Shonda loves to do.’
‘I was advised to eat well, get rest and make sure I’m ready to perform at my best’
JAINA LEE ORTIZ
ANDY AND GREY’S ANATOMY’S MEREDITH
JAINA LEE ORTIZ (RIGHT) STARS AS FIRST RESPONDER ANDREA ‘ANDY’ HERRERA
THE SEATTLE-SET DRAMA ALSO STARS JAY HAYDEN AS TRAVIS MONTGOMERY