‘9-1-1’ actors on Chimney ‘unlocking’ past trauma and Ravi’s new ‘sexy swagger’

‘9-1-1’ actors on Chimney ‘unlocking’ past trauma and Ravi’s new ‘sexy swagger’

“Ravi is going to be back at it — stronger, wiser,” actor Anirudh Pisharody says of his character, while Kenneth Choi teases “a new arc” for his Chimney.

Patrick Gomez

They were the trainers at the training center this week, but it was Chimney and Ravi going through the most growth on Monday’s 9-1-1.

“There’s a lot of confusion, and maybe some self-doubt, as Chimney specializes in self-doubt,” Kenneth Choi tells EW of Bobby (Peter Krause) sending his character back to the Los Angeles Fire Department training center without explaining why. “I think that self-doubt stems from the fact that he’s had such a tenuous relationship with his father, which didn’t instill much confidence in him. So he overcompensates with his humor, with his personality, and love. All he wants is really to be loved and validated — what all human beings want, right?”

Chimney’s experience working with the trainees also allows him to process the death of his sudo-brother, Kevin (James Chen), whom he’d encouraged to join him as a firefighter and then was unable to save him during a rescue — a backstory we saw play out in season 2.

“Going back to the training center opens up this memory for him. It’s a key that he needs to unlock,” says Choi. “Everybody has these traumas and triggers from their past, and unless you can kind of visit those traumas and unlock these kind of locks with these keys, you’re always stunted. So I think this was a good marking point for his growth, because he’s always been someone that’s just floundered in his personal life and his professional life.”

Kenneth Choi and Anirudh Pisharody on ‘9-1-1’

Kenneth Choi and Anirudh Pisharody on ‘9-1-1’

| Credit: Jack Zeman/Fox

Choi fully credits Chimney’s “interaction with the recruits” with helping his character “find his way” — particularly as a mentor to former “proby” Ravi (Anirudh Pisharody), who’s been away from the 118 since the end of season 5 dealing with PTSD after a traumatic off-duty rescue that’s left him questioning if everyone deserves to be saved.

“That scene where we’re talking about everything that’s happened is just so powerful, and I think it sheds a really important light on mental health,” says Pisharody. “It sheds an important light on guilt that survivors face. To be able to take that, process it, and then move forward — that’s the whole crux of it.”

Anirudh Pisharody as Ravi on ‘9-1-1’

Anirudh Pisharody as Ravi on ‘9-1-1’

| Credit: Jack Zeman/FOX

Moving beyond their past trauma, Pisharody and Choi both tease a positive future ahead for their characters.

“Hopefully this journey sends Chimney off into a new arc where he’ll find more successes and more wins in his personal life and his professional life,” says Choi. “At least I hope so.”

Choi is equally hopeful for Ravi’s growth. “In previous episodes, he was the proby, he was the trainee, so he was always kind of lost,” says the actor. “Now they’ve given him a little bit more confidence. They’ve given him some sexy swagger and this sardonic sense of humor that is so cutting and biting. And Anirudh plays it to such perfection.”

As Pisharody puts it: “Ravi is going to be back at it — stronger, wiser. He’s ready to respond. He’s no longer that scared, hesitant, anxious, baby proby. He’s a proper firefighter now. And for rest of the season, the disasters just get bigger and bigger. I’m very excited to see how the audience reacts to everything that we have coming out.”

9-1-1 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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