‘9-1-1: Lone Star’: Brian Michael Smith Recalls Learning of Paul’s Heart Problem

by Suzanne Halliburton

Season three of 9-1-1: Lone Star gave fans so much angst. And Paul’s heart problems just added to everyone’s worry.

If you recall, 9-1-1: Lone Star premiered in January with a crazy, multi-part story arc that saw Austin and surrounding areas freeze over. The episodes were loosely based on real events that hit the state of Texas in February. Austin was particularly hard hit.

And Paul, portrayed by Brian Michael Smith, started having heart problems right in the middle of the freeze. TV Insider talked to the 39-year-old standout from 9-1-1: Lone Star about portraying a character with a significant medical issue.

“I was like, “Hey, let’s find out what’s going on here!”” Smith said about learning of his character’s problem. “I didn’t know whether or not Paul was going to be able to continue to do his job. It was heart-pounding to go through that — no pun intended. I wanted to see what are the effects going to be.”

Poor Paul did have a difficult time. But he still managed to save the 126. His part in the big freeze was rescuing a teenager named Lindsey. Both nearly died of hypothermia. Eventually, the rest of the 126 finds them and gets both to the hospital in time. Doctors had problems getting Paul’s body heat above 90 degrees. Meanwhile, Lindsey’s grateful parents brought him gifts. Somebody forgot to mention that Lindsey’s peeps are filthy rich. And the biggest gift of all was the $5 million donation to a GoFundMe account so that the city could rebuild their beloved firehouse, which burned down in season two.

Natacha Karam (Marjan) and Brian Michael Smith (Paul) play best friends and firefighters on 9-1-1: Lone Star. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)

So getting back to Paul and this lingering 9-1-1: Lone Star story line. Paul suffers through a nightmare. He thinks he’s being crushed by a firetruck. Marjan tried to calm him down, but realizes this might be something more than a dream. And it is. A doctor told Paul he has severe arrythmia and it’s probably a miracle that he hasn’t suffered a heart attack, given with the job stress. The doctor believes Paul has Brugada Syndrome. He recommends surgically implanting a defibrillator. But Paul fears he couldn’t be allowed to be a fireman. Guess what. Paul suffers a cardiac event. Fortunately, Marjan came to check on him and finds one of her best friends passed out on the floor.

Since this is 9-1-1: Lone Star, it all works out. Paul got the pacemaker and he took a medical leave. He still blamed Marjan for doctors implanting the pacemaker. And he also questions whether he ever can go back to active duty, given his heart condition. But Paul and Marjan make up. Three months into 9-1-1: Lone Star season three, Paul was back.