Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 5, Episode 3 of 9-1-1.
We see the relationship between Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and Chimney (Kenneth Choi) come full circle after Maddie gives birth on the April 19 episode of 9-1-1. The birth of Jee-Yun Han ushers in a new era for the first responders, who have had their share of tragedy in the past.
But with the birth of Jee-Yun comes some more sadness for the couple. Throughout the end of Season 4, fans watched Maddie struggle with postpartum depression. And while she seemed to be better in the Season 5 premiere, showrunner Tim Minear promised that the worst isn't over yet — a promise that was fulfilled in Episode 3. Did Maddie just leave 9-1-1?
Is Maddie leaving ‘9-1-1’?
On May 18, Jennifer Love Hewitt and her husband, Brian Hallisay, announced that they would be welcoming their third child together.
Jennifer told People, “We had always been open to a third, but definitely didn't think in the crazy year that the entire world was having that it would necessarily be this moment."
"I feel like we've been able to so far raise two really special kids who will be great role models. This has been such a pleasant, beautiful, surprising gift in this time to be able to get to do all that again with another little human,” she added. On Sept. 9, Jennifer gave birth to Aidan James, so it's likely she was pregnant at some point while filming Season 5 of 9-1-1.
Unlike Jennifer, however, Maddie is having a much harder time coping with new motherhood. In Season 4 of 9-1-1, viewers learned that the dispatcher was struggling with postpartum depression, which, according to Jennifer, is a very real issue for working moms.
Jennifer told TV Line, “We always play things pretty real on this show. You will see the good in the heart about both of those things. I’m really happy to get to play that for working moms out there who are watching.”
After giving birth, fans saw Maddie decide to leave her job for her mental health, but even worse, Episode 3 of Season 5 saw Maddie decide that she's not safe for her daughter to be around.
Maddie dropped her child off at the firehouse, along with a video message for Chimney: "I’m sure that you are confused, hurt, and probably really scared. I don’t know what to say. You don’t need to go to the police or come looking for me. I’m not in any danger and no one is making me do this. Jee-Yun is not safe with me, not now and maybe [not ever]. I know that you’re going to take really good care of her, and she’s better off without me. I love you. I love both of you. And I’m really sorry.”
Have we seen the end of Maddie?
According to Tim Minear, Season 5 is going to continue to address what's happening to Maddie. He told TV Line, “It’s a story that I don’t want to give short shrift to. It will end up creating a major complication for Season 5.”
After we saw Maddie going to therapy and taking medication to work on herself at the season's start, Tim revealed even more. "She is isolated. She is going through something very serious, and it’s going to take a very serious turn by the next episode," referencing what we now know to be the point at which Maddie abandons her daughter. According to Tim, Maddie's story will play out and cause more struggles in the beginning and middle of the season.
"It’s going to take a big turn in the next two episodes," Tim warned. "These first responders are put on call 24 hours in a big crisis like this. So he’s very worried about her, but they’re separated, and so there are going to be some repercussions to that separation." What could that mean for Chimney and Maddie? And for their family?
Their fate might be in danger, but as far as we know, Maddie's place on 9-1-1 is still safe. Considering the timing of the birth of Jennifer's new baby, it seems likely that Maddie running away offered Jennifer some time away from the cameras to give birth and bond with her new baby boy. We should expect that she'll have some limited screentime moving forward, but Jennifer has not announced any intention to leave the show.
Watch new episodes of 9-1-1 every Monday at 8 p.m. EST on FOX.