‘911’: Angela Bassett, Peter Krause Break Down the ‘Surprising’ and ‘Satisfying’ Conclusion to Athena’s Origin Story

“Our writers have a way of weaving this fabric, this tapestry, where you may see this thread again, you may see this character again,” Bassett told TheWrap

9-1-1: L-R: Angela Bassett and Peter Krause in the "Devil You Know" episode of 9-1-1 airing Monday, Oct. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Jack Zeman. ©FOX Media LLC.
"9-1-1" (Fox)

(Spoiler alert: This post discusses the entirety of “9-1-1” Season 6, Episode 3, titled “The Devil You Know.”)

Unfortunately, Athena and Bobby are not going on that cruise any time soon. In a spotlight on the “9-1-1” power couple, played by Angela Bassett and Peter Krause, Season 6’s Episode 3 delves deep into the mystery that started it all.

“The Devil You Know” uncovers what really happened to Tanya Kingston, Athena’s hometown neighbor who was kidnapped decades prior and whose unsolved disappearance led the LAPD officer on the path of becoming a cop. 

“It was very surprising to open the script and see that we were going to revisit that storyline, and there was just something very satisfying in that because it was an unsolved murder and a driving force as to why Athena became a cop and how she is and who she is a person,” Bassett told TheWrap in an interview. “And yet it’s not because our writers have a way of weaving this fabric, this tapestry, where you may see this thread again, you may see this character again.”

The episode of the Fox procedural interweaves flashbacks of the night of Kingston’s disappearance with the present-day untangling of what really happened. Back in Episode 2, it was established that the girl’s body had been found buried under the foundation of Athena’s childhood home, leading her to suspect her father had been responsible for the death. With Samuel (Henry G. Sanders) in a medically induced coma after suffering a stroke, Athena takes it upon herself to uncover the truth, going against her mother’s staunch defense of her husband and doing so despite her fears that he could have done it. 

“There’s always been that mother-daughter tension, both love unconditionally this good man, to whom in this episode there’s some potential suspicion about [for] Athena because she knows human nature and she’s seen so many things in her career,” Bassett said. “There’s just that little crack of ‘What if this is so?’”

She continued, “The mother absolutely is not buying it. I think mother would hide the bodies [laughs]. Athena’s just hoping that there’s no bodies buried. That is some of [Athena’s] vulnerability because sometimes she’s unflappable, but when it comes to her father, the humanity is definitely on display.”

For Krause, the episode’s narrative was not only emblematic of how “9-1-1” allows for a “freedom to storytelling” but also hones in on Bobby and Athena’s supportive relationship.

“I think that Bobby and Athena both being first responders helps them navigate the ups and downs of not only their jobs, but their lives,” the actor told TheWrap. “That her father gets implicated is particularly upsetting to her, so I think that as much as Bobby fancies himself an armchair detective and enjoys doing this with her, these episodes are also about their relationship and how one will support the other when they’re going through something difficult. And this is a particularly difficult thing in that she has to start parenting her parents, as well as dealing with this old cold-case murder-mystery.”

At the episode’s conclusion, parallel images of Kingston running away from the killer — revealed as Athena’s childhood friend, Junior — are interspersed with Athena’s triumphant chase of him through the same fields. There’s a sense of justice and finality as Athena puts an end to Junior’s terror, which claimed the lives of numerous young girls.

“[Junior] was that wolf in sheep’s clothing — she knew him,” Bassett said. “He was the one who used to chase [Athena] and had he been able to catch her, she would have been another unfortunate case, I’m pretty sure, so I really love all the layers in this episode.”

“9-1-1” airs on Mondays on Fox at 8 p.m. ET/PT.