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‘9-1-1’ Chief Talks Super-Sized ’70s Disaster Movie’-Style Premiere, Rescuing ‘Awful People’ in Season 2

”Not everyone is going to be a wonderful victim who is worthy of saving,“ showrunner Tim Minear tells TheWrap

“9-1-1” closed its second season premiere Sunday night by teasing the largest-scale emergency the Fox drama has tackled yet — and a realistic fear for anyone who has ever lived in Los Angeles: a 7.1 earthquake.

After spending an hour bringing us all up to speed with Bobby (Peter Krause), Athena (Angela Bassett), Buck (Oliver Stark), Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Howie (Kenneth Choi) and introducing new team member Eddie Diaz (Ryan Guzman) and Buck’s sister Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), the first part of the two-night Season 2 debut closed with L.A. about to descend into chaos, thanks to the natural disaster.

And showrunner Tim Minear tells TheWrap tomorrow’s episode is just the crazy start to a two-part tale he compares to a feature-length film.

“The big earthquake hits at the end of the first night on Sunday, after football, and then we have really what is Part 1 of a giant, almost like ’70s disaster movie, on Monday night — which then continues on the third night [next week],” Minear said.

“There is a second part of the earthquake episode that’s very different from the first part, that’s maybe more intimate and more emotional, so we’re really covering a lot of frontier with the first few episodes.”

Let’s hope not all that frontier gets cracked up.

Once the aftershocks have past we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled dramatic “9-1-1” programming. Minear said that he and fellow co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are balancing “crazy, hilarious emergencies” and “truly moving, emotional, life and death” plots in their sophomore year, as that’s how “the show works best.”

And one of the best things about Season 2 for Minear so far is dealing with some of the worst victims imaginable.

“The episode after the earthquake is called, ‘Awful People.’ And it just interested me to think about how first responders, it doesn’t matter who calls 9-1-1, they go and they do their job, right?” Minear said. “And not everyone is going to be a wonderful victim who is worthy of saving. Often, people are just awful and ungrateful. And our responders have to deal with that, too. So I sort of wrote that as a theme. I love exploring the different parts of what that is.”

Minear admits — and this “may sound a little corny, but that’s fine” (he’s a Frank Capra fan) — he loves that his characters are “unambiguously heroic, moral people who put their lives on the line and rush into danger and save strangers.”

“I think there is something incredibly ennobling and uplifting about that, even on our little slice of Monday entertainment,” Minear said.

To read more from our interview with Minear about “9-1-1” Season 2 — including Hewitt’s entrance and Connie Britton’s exit — head over here.

“9-1-1”s two-night Season 2 premiere continues Monday at 9/8c (its regular time slot) on Fox.