New York Post

‘9-1-1’ ON THE DIAL

New Fox drama showcases LA’s first responders


THE public risks and private turmoil faced by LA’s first responders are at the core of Ryan Murphy’s new Fox series “9-1-1” — his first straightfo­rward procedural since he launched “Nip/Tuck” in the days before he ruled television.

The drama series stars Angela Bassett, Connie Britton and Peter Krause as coordinati­ng members of the city’s emergency services team and showcases each of these well-known, charismati­c performers in a new way.

Bassett, who embraced everything from voodoo queen Marie Laveau to three-breasted circus freak-show attraction Desiree Dupree on Murphy’s “American Horror Story,” plays LA police sergeant Athena Grant, who crosses paths with Britton’s 911 operator Abby Clark and Krause’s Bobby Nash, a firefighti­ng paramedic who goes to confession to ease his conscience when he’s lost somebody.

“People always marvel at the bravery of first responders, the true heroes in our culture,” says Murphy. “This show really is: ‘What is your emergency?’ But we’re referring to the callers and the people handling them. We don’t go into the operating room or into the hospital. I thought that was a clear narrative line to follow.”

Shot in and around LA, the first hour follows Krause’s firefighte­rs — as they deal with a very precarious plumbing situation with a newborn who’s been flushed down the toilet — and Grant as she deals with a little girl trapped in a home invasion. “All of our cases are based on viral videos or internatio­nal cases that we read about and were obsessed over,” says Murphy, who adds that he offered Bassett the lead because “I like her when she’s emotional and I love it when she takes charge. Putting her in a family drama along with a workplace drama merges those two things into one superstar package.”

Bassett wears a tailored police uniform as she zips around in her cop car, but we also see her at home in more relaxed attire as Athena deals with a life-changing announceme­nt made by her husband Michael (Rockmond Dunbar). “We have action sequences that take an inordinate amount of time [to film] because of the safety involved and then you have these wonderful actor scenes,” says Bassett. “You hope the tone has a seriousnes­s, some levity and some strange quirky fun in there as well. [It’s the] gumbo Ryan likes.” “9-1-1” also has one of the sleekest firehouses ever seen on TV, but Murphy insists it’s not a triumph of set design over reality.

“It’s not your father’s firehouse,” he says. “It seems outlandish and fantasy-like, but ... it’s based on a real firehouse in Pasadena. I wanted to do something that’s more contempora­ry and modern that’s also based on fact.

“There are architects and designers now who are making those spaces inviting and sleek.”

“All of our cases are based on viral videos or internatio­nal cases that we read about.” — “9-1-1” creator Ryan Murphy

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