Station 19, the firefighting Grey's Anatomy spin-off, finally launched with a double helping in a special edition of TGIT. The first hour not only established the firehouse drama's full cast of characters but also the show's strong connection to Grey's Anatomy. The second hour showed what Station 19 can do on its own without the assist from Grey Sloan Memorial and the risks these characters are willing to take in this dangerous new world.
The series' "pilot" hour set up the central conflict of the season. Captain Pruitt Herrera (Miguel Sandoval) was diagnosed with cancer after collapsing in a fire, taking him out of commission at the firehouse. His daughter, Andy (Jaina Lee Ortiz), realized she'd been holding back on her potential in order to take care of her dad and decided to put her hat in the ring as his official replacement. The only issue is that Jack (Grey Damon), her secret boyfriend and the man who almost proposed to her before the game-changing fire, was already next in line for the job.
Now the two of them will have to go head-to-head for the promotion they both think they have earned. In the meantime, they'll co-captain the fire station in alternating shifts. Andy was up first and struggled a lot with getting the team to follow her orders and jumped the gun on a routine false alarm at a school. But she bounced back and managed to save the day when the team found themselves at the scene of an ethanol fire that sparked flames that were invisible to the naked eye. The adrenaline of the victory hoisted Andy's sails and pushed her to request a romantic reunion with Jack to celebrate, because that's going to work out fine, you know?
TV Guide talked to creator and showrunner Stacy McKee about what's next for the Station 19 firefighters and just how messy Andy's work life is going to be when mixed so thoroughly with her professional one.
We see Andy in the first hour very confident that she wants to step up and take over her father's position, but then in the second hour, she struggles with exactly what being Captain means. For the rest of the season, how much is it her owning it and how much is more she's going to have to struggle before she figures out that being Captain is more than what she thought it was?
Stacy McKee: Well, I think over the course of this season, that's one of the things that we were so excited to explore, is you might have this goal in mind or this thing that you desperately want, and you really think you can do an amazing job at it and probably you can, but then when you're faced with the reality of it, sometimes it's a very different kind of situation. Things that you might understand and know intellectually, when you put them into practice, it's a whole different ball game. There's a lot more to being a Captain than just understanding the mechanism of that job.
So to me, that's such a great place to put Andy, as she's right at the beginning of this, and just starting to explore what it actually means to be a leader, and what it actually means to be a Captain, and what it means to share that responsibility, because Jack is also being put in a position to be Captain. So, one day she might be leading the whole team, and the next day she has to take a back seat and allow him to lead. And that's a whole different transition. So to me, that's just ripe with drama. There's so much to explore there.
If that wasn't dramatic enough, she decides she still wants to keep sleeping with Jack at the end of this premiere. How is that going to make things even more dramatic?
McKee: Well, it will definitely complicate things. That's for sure. We wouldn't want a show without fun and drama and complications, of course.
Are they in danger of the rest of the crew finding out?
McKee: The only person who knows at the end of Episode 2 is Maya. So, everyone else is in the dark. So yes, that's definitely something we'll explore over the season, is if and when people find out more.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Brenda Song in the second episode, and she and Miller sort of hit it off. Can we expect to see a little bit more of Brenda going forward?
McKee: Yes, we will see more of her. I love her. She's so talented and brings such a great energy to the show. Yes, we will be seeing more of Brenda Song and I was so excited to get to work with her.
I think the show did a really great job in the first two episodes of explaining how Andy has to fight against being in a male-dominated industry, but what I find really interesting, is that Jaina is also the first Latina lead of a Shonda show. So, do you guys have any story lines that you might be exploring because she is Latina, that maybe the other Shonda shows can't do because they don't have that perspective in her other shows?
McKee: You know, maybe down the line we're definitely open to exploring all of those avenues. I think for the purposes of this season, what we really want to focus on is Andy as a character and her relationship with everyone on this team, and also with her father. So there's a lot of sort of interpersonal ways in which that might come to light, but yeah, you know, it's a really amazing thing that we have someone like Jaina, who is in our show. I'm so excited that we get to work with her and that she's able to represent what she represents. It's just a wealth of riches.
Pruitt gets sidelined in these first two episodes, at least professionally, but how much can we expect of him to be interfering with the proceedings at the firehouse?
McKee: Well, it wouldn't be much fun if he didn't interfere. I mean, you know that you've got a little back seat driving going on there. We're definitely going to explore that father/daughter relationship and that relationship that she's had until now has been that of both a daughter to a father, and a firefighter to their Captain. And now that the roles have reversed a little bit, we're definitely going to explore what that means and how you navigate those waters. It's very tricky.
How much time do you think the first season will cover, and will we know who is Captain by the season's finale?
McKee: I will not answer whether you'll know who is Captain, and we're going to travel some time, but it won't be at hyper speed. You know, we definitely want to take our time with how we tell these stories, and step things out, and we might have a few episodes with some cliff hangers, we might have some direct pickups. And so that always truncates your timeline. So yeah, we're not going to rush through a whole long timeline just over the course of a few episodes. We really want to take our time and space the story out properly.
What are you most excited for fans to see in this first season of Station 19?
McKee: Oh my gosh. Everything! So much. I'm so excited for everybody to see everything! I am very happy and excited that we have strong, bad-ass, powerful women doing strong, bad-ass, powerful things, and that it's just not even a question that that's what they do all day, every day. And that they are surrounded by strong, bad-ass, powerful men who not only accept that, but take it also as a no brainer that of course, these women around us would also be doing this bad ass things.
To me, it's family and a world and an environment that shows flawed characters, funny characters, characters with a lot of heart, who do really amazing, incredible, heroic jobs. I just love that we can showcase first responders and the kind of work they do, and the incredible humans that do that kind of work. That's just a really amazing group of characters.
Station 19 continues Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.