‘9-1-1’ Boss on ‘Christmas Angel’-Like Introduction to Maddie’s Abusive Ex – And That Surprise Casting

“My feeling was, certain members of the audience, their antennas are gonna go up immediately,” Tim Minear tells TheWrap

Jack Zeman / FOX

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Monday’s midseason finale of “9-1-1” Season 2.)

“9-1-1” dove into one of its biggest emergencies yet on the Season 2 fall finale Monday night: We met Maddie’s abusive ex-husband Doug in the final moments of the episode, just as everyone’s Christmas seemed so merry and bright.

Tim Minear, the first-responder drama’s showrunner, spoke with TheWrap ahead of the episode to explain how he decided to reveal the man who has haunted Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt). He also explained why he cast Hewitt’s real-life husband, Brian Hallisay, in the part.

“Well, to be honest with you, I gave Brian Hallisay his first job at least 10 years ago on a show I did for Fox called ‘The Inside,’” Minear said. “It was literally his first network show acting gig. And I thought he was great. So when I realized that Jennifer was married to Brian, and then in talking to Brian again, I realized that — why not? I always thought he was a great actor and he just seemed right for the part. So it wasn’t any kind of shock guest star. It was nothing like that. I thought he would be great for this. So it was serendipitous.”

Doug is introduced to the audience early on in the episode, when Chimney (Kenneth Choi) “accidentally” meets him multiple times.

But it takes a while before you realize the truth about the ultra-helpful guy who lends Howie the money to buy for a copy of “Die Hard” and advises him on the perfect Christmas tree. Sadly, he turns out to be the man who caused Maddie to flee to Los Angeles to build a new life at the start of Season 2.

The reveal comes right at the end of the episode, when we see a flashback to Maddie crying on the ground next to a wrecked Christmas tree, with blood on her face and Doug telling her she didn’t make it “perfect” and someday she’ll get it right.

Then we cut to Doug sitting in his car outside Maddie’s house, holding Chimney’s wallet, which he clearly stole.

Minear said he wanted to make viewers think Doug was too good to be true.

“That ‘magical helper’ was exactly the feel I was going for,” Minear said. “Kind of ‘The Bishop’s Wife,’ Christmas-angel thing.”

“My feeling was, certain members of the audience, their antennas are gonna go up immediately, and for me that’s fine,” he added. “And then for other members of the audience they are going to be like, ‘Why is this guy in the story?’ And then we hit them with the train.’”

“9-1-1” Season 2 will return at midseason on Fox.