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The Best And Worst Traits Of Every 9-1-1 Character

When it comes to television procedurals, Fox's "9-1-1" has some of the most developed, interesting characters out there. And, yes, the show is largely about the case of the week, but it is also firmly centered on the lives of its first-responder characters. All of these characters are fully fleshed-out beings –- heroes who display unimaginable bravery and high-level skill, but who are flawed humans with real issues and struggles. It is their fascinating histories, dynamic home lives, and complex relationships that make the show what it is.

Fox began airing "9-1-1" in 2018, and the series is now in its fifth season. As a Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Tim Minear production, it is expectedly campy and extravagant, but the characters thrive in quiet moments. The rescuers (and their families) have tackled everything from addiction to divorce to domestic abuse, not to mention their career-related dramas like kidnapping and rogue shooters. Through it all, they have displayed both positive and negative characteristics. Here are the best and worst traits for every main character on "9-1-1."

Athena: Intelligent with strong instincts

There is no arguing that Athena Grant (Angela Bassett) is a great cop, with strong instincts and an unwavering devotion to her cases. She is generally one step ahead of everyone else, such as when she figures out where escaped convict Jeffrey is in the Season 5 premiere. And, sure, she was not early enough to stop Jeffrey's lawyer/lover from hurting a fellow officer, but she is also the only one who realized the lawyer was in on it. "Well, her car is still in the garage, so he didn't take that. Maybe he teamed up with one of those groupies," said Athena's superior in the next episode. "No, his only accomplice is right there," she answered, pointing at the dead lawyer. And of course, she was right.

Athena showed similarly astute instincts when she figured out the motive of the serial bomber (in the Season 2 finale), interrupted a big art heist (Season 3, Episode 14), and realized that a woman had trapped her husband inside a wall (Season 4, Episode 8). In Episode 7 of Season 3, we learned about the personal tragedy that likely fuels Athena's quest for justice. She became a police officer in 1989 after meeting a man at a job fair, and they later became romantically involved. They eventually got engaged, but her fiancé was shot and killed. The case remained unsolved for 28 years until Athena solved it in this episode –- after the gun used in the crime was found –- once again displaying her tenacity.

Athena: Stubborn and independent to a fault

While she is extremely competent, Athena is also sometimes a loose cannon. She does not like people telling her what to do, even if it is for her best interest, and she is not one to wait for permission so much as ask for forgiveness. Her stubbornness and inability to stop herself has gotten in her way multiple times, resulting in both personal injury as well as professional setbacks. For example, even though it was cathartic for Athena to find her former fiancé's killer, she went against the rules in her investigation and was suspended from her job because of it.

Athena also let her emotions get the best of her when she busted up a party being thrown by her daughter May's (Corinne Massiah) bullies, right after May attempted suicide. She did not just go off on the girls, but arrested one of them for drug possession, even though she should not have been at the house in the first place. Athena was then put on desk duty for her actions. Perhaps the best examples of Athena being too independent and stubborn are when she puts her own life at risk because she does not do what she is told or follow protocols. Toward the end of Season 3, Athena is ferociously attacked by a serial rapist when she tracks him to a storage facility. If she had waited for backup to go inside, she may not have had to endure the brutal injuries he inflicted.

Bobby: Supportive and caring leader

Over five seasons, Bobby Nash (Peter Krause) has shown that he truly cares about his team at the 118 — not just in the way that a boss cares about their employees, but sometimes in a way that a father cares for his children. At the end of the day, the 118 feels very much like a family, and as the head of the household, Bobby sets the tone. Whether it is warning Buck (Oliver Stark) not to take a risk or comforting Chimney (Kenneth Choi) over personal relationship drama, Bobby has proven he has a good heart at his core.

Part of Bobby's job is showing his team tough love, which he has had to do on numerous occasions. For instance, when Buck was injured, Bobby was the one who had to tell him he could not return to work until after he was off blood thinners (Season 3, Episode 1). Buck does not react well to being told he needs to take a desk job, and it is Bobby who must reassure him that all will be okay. Nine episodes later, Buck becomes unraveled about Bobby's possible health issues when Bobby gets a nosebleed. "Bobby, I know I do dumb things sometimes and generally drive you crazy, but you're an important person in my life, Bobby. One of the most important," Buck tells him. "I don't know what I would do if anything were to happen to you." It is an emotional scene that emphasizes the role that Bobby fills for his colleagues.

Bobby: Cannot rid himself of guilt and shame

Many of the main characters on "9-1-1" have sad backstories, but of all the characters, Bobby's past is the most tragic. Throughout Season 1, we learn about Bobby's darkest demons, starting with an alcohol and pill addiction that developed due to an on-the-job injury. After going in and out of rehab, Bobby's addiction got to the point where he kept a separate apartment in his building, away from his family. Bobby left a space heater on in his second apartment one day after a drinking binge there. When he returned home his wife confronted him on his drinking and kicked him out. While he was outside the building a fire started due to the combination of the heater and faulty materials that were not up to code. One hundred and forty-eight people perished, including Bobby's wife and two children.

In the Season 1 episode "Bobby Begins Again," we learn that Bobby moved to Los Angeles after a suicide attempt -– during which his own team had to revive him -– and nearly a year in rehab. It is also explained that Bobby keeps a journal with the names of each person he saves, as he intends to kill himself when he breaks even. While he later ditched that plan, the guilt and sadness inside of Bobby has never –- and will never –- entirely disappear. It comes up again when he gets suspended, pending an investigation into the fire, and also due to his interactions with his wife Athena and her own children.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Buck: Courageous and passionate

Evan Buckley –- better known as Buck –- is an integral part of the 118 team. He is very fit, very capable, and extremely dedicated to his rescues. He has saved babies from hospital fires (Season 5, Episode 8), rescued a deaf woman from her burning apartment building (Season 3, Episode 16), and stopped a man from jumping out of a high-rise (Season 1, Episode 2). He never backs down, not even when he is told do so, and it is clear that Buck cares more about others' safety than his own.

In addition to rescuing strangers, Buck has also been savior to his own sister (when she was taken by her abusive ex-husband) and the differently abled son of a fellow firefighter. After quitting his job early in Season 3, Buck gets caught in a tsunami alongside co-worker Eddie's (Ryan Guzman) son, with whom he was hanging out at the Santa Monica Pier. While Buck is busy helping others, Christopher gets washed away in the floodwater. Buck goes on to find and save the boy, putting his own health at risk in the process.

Buck: Impulsive and hotheaded

Buck was a rookie when "9-1-1" started, and viewers know that it took him a while to settle into the job. In the premiere episode, Athena scolds Buck when he expresses that he does not think a person deserves their care (the mother had harmed her own child). He is portrayed as argumentative and reckless in the earliest episode, and Bobby even fires Buck after he repeatedly takes the fire truck out in pursuit of sexual escapades (he is rehired after he helps Athena make a save). Nowadays, Buck's impulsivity ends decently most of the time –- such as when he disobeyed an order to evacuate a factory (in Season 4, Episode 5) and made a big save on his own.

Buck is, however, still his own worst enemy, as evidenced by his Season 3 arc. After being brutally injured in the Season 2 finale when he became victim to a serial bomber, it was not originally guaranteed that Buck would recover enough to rejoin the team. In the Season 3 premiere, Buck is put back on medical leave after he starts throwing up blood. Rather than take a desk job for the Los Angeles Fire Department, Buck impulsively quits his job. He later decides to take a fire inspector job (in the fourth episode of the season) and gets cleared to return to active duty, but only after filing a lawsuit against the LAFD and the city -– which does not go over well with the others.

Hen: Empathetic and highly competent

In Season 2, Episode 9, it is revealed that Henrietta "Hen" Wilson (Aisha Hinds) began her path toward becoming a first responder after saving her life coach by performing CPR after the coach suffers a heart attack. Her early experiences at the 118 were tainted by a prejudiced captain (who subsequently got fired), but not even bigotry and bullying could keep Hen from her calling. She has repeatedly proven herself to be an extremely competent paramedic and has had a hand in many of the crew's biggest saves.

Part of Hen's success is based upon her ability to relate to people and the level of care she has for others. She has shown this time and again, such as in a recent Season 5 episode where she insists on being the one to tell parents that there was a mix-up at the scene and that their daughter was dead. We also saw Hen's deep emotions when she nearly quit the 118 after accidentally killing a young woman in a car accident, despite it not having been her fault. Her breakdown at the end of "Malfunction" is truly heartbreaking.

Hen: Sometimes takes her wife for granted

As we have established, Hen is a good person who cares deeply about others. It is surprising, then, that she has not always exhibited that high level of caring for the person closest to her -– her wife, Karen (Tracie Thoms). In Season 1's seventh episode, Hen cheated on Karen with her ex-girlfriend, Eva, who was recently released from prison. In true Hen fashion, she immediately regretted it, asking Chimney why she would do such a thing. "It wasn't a mistake, it was a choice, Chimney," she said in Episode 10. "And I've got to ask myself why? Why would I make that choice?"

Hen and Karen were able to work through the cheating and even weathered a messy custody battle with Eva (and later with their child's biological father, as well). That said, Hen is still sometimes withholding from her wife, which causes Karen a fair amount of distress. In Season 3, Episode 17, Karen takes Hen's phone to Chimney's apartment because she suspects Hen is cheating again. While this time, Hen's secrecy was because she was covertly prepping to take the MCAT and go to medical school, she displayed a lack of care by using Chimney in her lies and deceiving Karen once again.

Chimney: Fantastic friend with a great heart

If Bobby is the 118's head and Buck is its gut, Howard "Chimney" Han might be its beating heart (okay, Hen too). Chimney had a tough childhood -– he had an abusive father and withholding mother -– but somehow turned into one of the kindest, friendliest men on television. A death-defying accident early in Season 1 only made Chimney's zest for life more palpable, and not even a long-lost half-brother, the death of his best friend, or a brutal stabbing could bring his spirits down.

Chimney has proven himself to be a great friend to the others on his team, particularly Hen. He was the first firefighter to be kind to Hen when she started at the 118, having experienced bullying there himself. Rather than judge or condemn her, he also offered Hen compassion when she cheated on Karen. He is depicted as a loving and loyal person, and it is rare to see Chimney blow up (though it does happen, such as when he exploded on Buck for keeping information secret in the wake of Maddie's disappearance).

Chimney: Can be oblivious, especially when it comes to women

While Chimney is lovable like a puppy dog, he also sometimes displays a level of observation that you might also expect from a canine (that is, not great). He sees what he wants to see and is not good at picking up on signs from others. This is evident early on in the show, starting with his relationship with girlfriend Tatiana (Rachel Breitag). After Chimney's proposal did not go as planned, he took off in a car and got into a terrible accident resulting in a spike through the forehead that nearly killed him. As Chimney lay in the hospital, Tatiana broke it off, realizing that she was more into the idea of an EMT than Chimney himself.

Similarly to how he did not pick up on Tatiana's disinterest, Chimney did not attend to current girlfriend Maddie's obvious struggles after the birth of their baby, largely ignoring the clear signs of postpartum depression. It took Maddie leaving her family for Chimney to actually wake up. "She was struggling, and I felt like there wasn't anything I could do other than drive her to her appointments or remind her to take her pills, so whenever she would tell me she was okay, I let myself believe it because it was easier that way, for me," he told a fellow EMT in the seventh episode of Season 5. "So, I could go to work, put on a happy face, not be filled with terror every freaking moment. That's great for me, not so good for her."

Eddie: Amazing father and dependable worker

Parenthood is always hard, and Eddie Diaz's (Ryan Guzman) journey has been especially difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly, Eddie is a single father who consistently juggles work and home with grace. Even when his son Christopher's mother returned to her family in Season 2, Eddie is cautious in reintegrating his estranged wife into their lives. His wife Shannon dies shortly after she reappears and so Eddie must navigate the fallout of her death for his son while also mourning himself.

Another reason why Eddie's story is different is because Christopher has cerebral palsy. This has led Eddie to be extra cautious when it comes to his son, including how often he is willing to leave him alone and with whom. He has proven that Christopher is and always will be his number one priority, while at the same time maintaining a high level of proficiency and dedication at work. His bromance with Buck has also allowed him to integrate Buck into Christopher's life in a meaningful way.

Eddie: A little boring and a little angry

Compared to the other main characters, we do not know as much about Eddie -– and this may be because his personality is less developed and less vibrant than the others. When Eddie first arrived at the 118 it seemed like he would be a central factor in the show, but he often feels like an afterthought when there is a team scene. This seems to have gotten worse, and we can't help but wonder if there is any link to Ryan Guzman's racism scandal, on which many of his co-stars publicly commented (via People). But then again, it is not like Eddie was ever really a ball of fun.

In addition to the lack of excitement Eddie brings to the table, he has also been depicted as somewhat angry and aggressive. This was most obvious when he and Buck were fighting over Buck's decision to file a lawsuit against the department and city. First Eddie got into a fight over parking, which resulted in him being arrested for assault. Then, at the suggestion of Lena -– a fellow firefighter played by wrestler Rhonda Rousey –- he became involved in an underground fighting ring. Two episodes later (in Season 3, Episode 8), Eddie nearly killed his fighting opponent in the ring. He has since mellowed (seemingly), but Eddie has yet to get much of a personality outside of his father and firefighter roles.

Maddie: Resilient and quick-thinking

As a series, "9-1-1" has done a fantastic job of showing how integral each part of the chain is in terms of a rescue. This includes the 9-1-1 dispatchers, all of whom have been depicted as incredibly smart, imaginative, capable women. Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) has displayed these skills on numerous occasions, such as when she helped save a woman whose baby was taken from her womb (Season 3, Episode 1) or when she figured out that a 9-1-1 caller was a peeping tom (Season 4, Episode 3). In another episode (Season 3, Episode 3), Maddie had a young girl use a drone to search for tsunami survivors –- an incredibly inventive strategy that most of us would never think of using.

Maddie has also shown that she is resilient in the face of adversity. Not only is she a survivor of vicious domestic abuse, but she was able to kill her ex-husband in self-defense. And while she unraveled a little in the aftermath of this event –- stalking a woman who she feared was in a similar situation –- she was able to move past things with the help of therapy and a new love. Maddie also showed her quick thinking during the episodes in which she was kidnapped. She was able to write a note on a rental agreement and leave it in a bathroom, she made a plan for her captor to drive them to a remote cabin in the woods, and she was able to trick him with some befuddling snow footprints.

Maddie: Lacks confidence and runs from her problems

Let's start with the obvious: Maddie runs away from her problems. And while we cannot really fault her from running from her abusive ex-husband Doug (played by Hewitt's real-life husband, Brian Hallisay), perhaps prosecuting him would have been a better option. After tracking Maddie down, Doug kidnapped Maddie and stabbed Chimney (toward the end of Season 2), which may have been avoidable if she had Doug locked up before fleeing.

Maddie once again fled the scene in Season 5, feeling that Chimney and their daughter would be better off without her around. This happened because of Maddie's severe postpartum depression, so again, we cannot fault her for the choice, but we still think that there were other ways of dealing with the situation. Though it is obvious the storyline is a way to deal with Hewitt's maternity leave, why could Maddie not have let others know about her struggle and gone away to an in-patient treatment program? Why did she need to leave without any notice? Because it fits her pattern.

Maddie's experiences in life –- both with her ex-husband as well as her dysfunctional family -– seem to have turned her into someone who lacks confidence and self-esteem. Nearly everyone in her life, from brother Buck to boyfriend Chimney to her bosses at the call center, can see how smart and caring she is, but Maddie does not seem to know her worth.