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‘9-1-1': Jennifer Love Hewitt on Maddie’s Latest Hostage Crisis, ‘Big Things’ to Come With Chimney

”So I think what’s beautiful about this is now you’ll get to see a lot of joy between them,“ Fox star tells TheWrap

(Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Monday’s “9-1-1.”)

Just over a year after being kidnapped by her ex-husband Doug and killing him in self defense in a bloody battle at Big Bear, Maddie found herself a hostage yet again on tonight’s episode of “9-1-1.” Only this time Maddie (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) was on her own turf, the 9-1-1 call center, and more prepared from the start to fight for her life. And luckily, it all worked out just fine thanks to that quick thinking she learned during her last very traumatic situation.

“It’s funny because, in a year’s time, this will the second time that Maddie has been either held hostage or kidnapped or something like that,” Hewitt told TheWrap of Monday’s installment, “The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1.” “So in this moment, she’s at least learning from her experiences and how to quickly get yourself in a power position and get help for yourself. And that’s a cool girl moment.”

“We wanted to give her a strength that was different from the Big Bear episode to show that there was growth and that somewhere in her gut she had a belief system this time that, you can save yourself and you don’t have to die, to give the audience something new to see in her,” the “9-1-1” star said.

But Maddie wouldn’t have been able to keep her and her coworkers safe from their captors — who took the call center as part of an elaborate heist to steal paintings from a museum — indefinitely, which is where Chimney (Kenneth Choi) came in. And it’s the ending to last week’s episode, which saw Maddie unable to say “I love you” to Chimney, and the opening of tonight’s, which had her say it for the first time ever over the phone, just as she was taken hostage and unable to alert him in any other way.

“The writers and producers are so great because when we were doing the scene in the restaurant where Maddie couldn’t say ‘I love you’ back, I didn’t know what the next episode was yet,” Hewitt said. “So I was there and I was like, ‘Guys, this is so harsh. I get it and I think it’s right, but can we say something? Can I give the guy anything? Because I feel really bad that this is there moment and he’s doing all of this and I feel Maddie just couldn’t quite meet him.’ And they told me it’s for a really intense reason… And so that’s why Maddie says at the table, I love you always came in the middle of an extreme circumstance. She says it was to signal fear and something happening and trying to save herself from something. So that’s why they laid that in that episode so that hopefully by the time it got to the end, people would remember that she had said that and that it would clue him into it in this episode.”

Luckily, he got the message and got the rest of the crew to work on saving Maddie and the call center.

“And I just loved that they did it that way,” Hewitt said. “It was so smart and right for where Maddie and Chimney are. And I do believe that in that moment, she really means ‘I love you’ and is probably terrified that she will never get the chance to say it again if she doesn’t. But I also think it’s her big, ‘Please, please be on the same wavelength with me as a person right now and understand that I’m gonna die.'”

As for where Chimney and Maddie go from here with the remaining episodes of Season 3 (and now that we know there will be a Season 4) now that Maddie has returned the “I love you,” even after her hostage situation, Hewitt can’t say much. But she did tell us “big things” are coming.

“Here’s what I can promise you, there shouldn’t for the rest of the season be any doubt that those two people are a couple and that they’re together,” she said. “I think this episode solidifies the ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve almost lost each other twice. And we can’t lose each other again’ kind of moment in their relationship. So I think what’s beautiful about this is now you’ll get to see a lot of joy between them. They are making baby steps, I like that they take baby steps. If Maddie in her life took anything more than baby steps, I would severely worry about her outcome. I think she’s a smart person who knows that mentally, physically and emotionally, she’s been through a real s–t storm the last two years and probably needs those baby steps more than anything. And honestly, Chimney does too.”

“And what I like about it is it’s different than some of the things that are shown on television,” Hewitt added. “We’re seeing a realistic relationship of two people in their 40s who have been through a lot and are trying to be smart and not hurt each other. So I have a lot of respect for the way they are handling it and I think it’s beautiful. But I do think big things are coming for them, I do. I don’t wanna give away anything necessarily that happens but I do think big things are coming for them and it really means a lot to Kenny and I off camera how much people love Maddie and Chimney together.”

“9-1-1” airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.