When it comes to strong female leads in a drama series, several names make the cut. In the “Law & Order” universe, before there was Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson, there was Milena Govich. And if we’re talking about the Fox side of things with “9-1-1,” then we have to mention Angela Bassett.
Bassett was born on August 16th, 1958 in New York City to a social worker mother and a preacher’s son father, though her mother ended up raising her alone. Now she boasts her own career as a community worker, though she finds her role on-screen as “9-1-1’s” Athena Grant. Angela Bassett never actually had any formal training as a police officer prior to taking on the role, so it required some research on her end beforehand. Here’s how the star says that went down.
Angela Bassett Says She Met With a Lieutenant to Aid in the Research for Her ‘9-1-1’ Character
In sitting down with Deadline, Angela Bassett explained the work that went into accurately portraying her Athena Grant character. She ended up sitting down with a lieutenant that had been on the force in LA for nearly three whole decades. Bassett says the experience taught her a lot more than she thought it would about cops in general and even challenged some of her own preconceived notions.
“To sit with this woman and just have a meal, talk about experiences, about family…If you didn’t know she was a cop and that there was a Glock on her hip at the restaurant, you just wouldn’t imagine. She was so gentle and sweet, and you just wanted to be friends right away.”
How the Show Tells the Stories That Don’t Get Told Very Often
In the same interview as above, Angela Bassett says the experience with the Lieutenant stuck with her for one reason in particular.
“He made sure that I was able to get with a sister who came up through the ranks when there were very few women coming through the police academy, so you’re talking about those sort of experiences. Also, getting to go out with her in the streets, it was wonderful seeing the camaraderie and the respect between her and the other officers. She was a black female and they were male, various cultures, but to see that regard that they had for her was intriguing, especially knowing that when she came through, she was one of two women coming through the academy. I was imagining what those years must have been like.”
It just goes to show how “9-1-1” keeps a solid reputation for breaking down barriers and fending off stereotypes. And at the end of the day, that’s something that Outsider can always get behind.