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The heroes of “9-1-1” are a family. After five seasons of bravery and death-defying saves by the Los Angeles Fire and Police Departments, there have been plenty of victims, friends, and family members who pop up throughout the show and shape our favorite characters.
With episodes of “9-1-1” now airing on USA Network, we at USA Insider have been deep in binge-rewatch mode, hence the below list of the best, most important guest stars to appear in the series. From a brief stint to series-shifting character growth, these guest stars have had quite an impact over the years on the course of the story and our favorite first responders.
1. Beverly Todd as Beatrice Carter
“9-1-1” has always been a show that knows the importance of a solid backstory. Given Athena Grant-Nash’s (Angela Bassett) no-holds-barred bada**ery, she had to come from an equally tough family. While Athena doesn’t always see eye to eye with her mother Beatrice (Beverly Todd) — and often for good reason — there’s no doubt she gets her sense of self from her mom.
Beatrice has plenty of opinions about her daughter’s life, including her career, how she raises her kids, who she chooses to marry, and more, but Athena always pushes back. Ultimately, their blowup in Season 2, Episode 11, “New Beginnings,” ends with Beatrice having more respect for her daughter and her choices than ever before. They’re not the same people, and that’s fine. What’s important is that they love each other.
2. John Harlan Kim as Albert Han
When fans first met Howard “Chimney, aka Chim” Han’s younger half brother, Albert, who would have thought he’d be such an important character? He first appeared on a computer screen and later, upon visiting his big bro for the first time, proved the importance of choosing your family. Chim chose Albert despite his estranged relationship with their father and even took Albert in for a period of time.
While Albert becomes a bigger part of the show in Season 4, his early guest stints provide a much-needed look into Chim’s family life and what made him the man fans still love after all these years. Plus, you can’t not be charmed by Albert; all he wants is a relationship with his brother and to follow in his footsteps.
3. Ronda Rousey as Lena Bosko
Firefighter Lena Bosko was introduced at the top of Season 3 during the aftermath of a once-in-a-lifetime tsunami and clashed immediately with Eddie Diaz (Ryan Guzman) of the 118. Their relationship chills out over the five episodes Ronda Rousey appears in, and they become something like friends, especially given that Bosko takes over Buck’s (Oliver Stark) position in the 118 while he’s on medical leave.
Of course, a guest star stint from a WWE Superstar such as Rousey wouldn’t be complete without a smackdown, and “9-1-1” fans certainly got one when Bosko introduced Eddie to an underground fighting ring to let off a little steam. She backs out when Eddie takes the fights too far and nearly kills a man, but she undoubtedly played an important role in Eddie’s healing journey — and kicked some a** along the way.
WrestleMania will stream live on Peacock Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 at 8/7c.
4. Jack McGee as Red
To assuage his own quarter-life crisis, Buck interferes with the love life of retired firefighter Red, portrayed by Jack McGee (“The Fighter,” “Basic Instinct”), in Season 3, Episode 16 “The One That Got Away.” Rather than reunite Red with his long-lost love, Cindy, aka “The One Who Got Away” (see what they did there?), he accidentally breaks Red’s heart with the realization that age has caught up with Cindy and she no longer remembers him.
Buck’s relationship with Red propels the younger man into a new take on life, especially after he realizes Red is dying. In a heart-wrenching moment that shows just how much Buck has grown over the years, he organizes a send-off worthy of Red’s epic career with the help of the 118; Red rides in a firetruck for the final time as the next generation looks on and salutes.
5. Connie Britton as Abby Clark
While Abby was a primary character in “9-1-1” Season 1, she disappeared at the top of the second season and Buck (Oliver Stark) was left with an empty house and a broken heart. However, that wasn’t the last we’d see of Abby.
In the Season 3 finale, she returns to L.A. with a fiancé in tow only to get caught up in the latest disaster: a brutal train crash that results in her soon-to-be-husband trapped at the top of an overturned train car-turned-skyscraper. Buck and Bobby (Peter Krause) initiate a daring rescue to save him despite Buck’s personal crisis that this is the new man in Abby’s life. Having Abby back onscreen — even for a short time — is nice, but the best part is the closure Buck gets by the end of the episode. He (and the audience) can finally move forward.
6. Brooke Shields as Dr. Kara Sanford
After Athena was brutally beaten in the field by the serial rapist she was tracking down, she spiraled. Part of her long-time recovery involved Dr. Kara Sanford, played by Brooke Shields. Dr. Sanford works as a victims’ advocate and creates something of a safe space for Athena to explore her feelings about the attack and work to move forward.
In Season 4, Episode 3, “Future Tense,” Athena reveals that she’d stopped seeing Dr. Sanford “a few weeks ago,” which proves naturally concerning to her family. We’re left for a while to wonder how this will impact her and her family, and we can only hope we’ll see Dr. Sanford again.
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