Angela Bassett said she wanted her character on 9-1-1 to feel like a real person and not the typical officer on a police procedural So, she threw out what she believed she knew about policing and spoke with a real police officer. She said it changed her approach to her role.
Bassett, the star and executive producer of 9-1-1, plays Sgt. Athena Grant-Nash on the popular procedural. But she told Deadline that she didn’t Grant-Nash to be the normal tough-talking cop. That’s why she reached out to speak with an actual police lieutenant about her experiences as an officer. Bassett said she wanted to focus on the person behind the badge.
“I did meet with a sister who’s been a lieutenant on the force in L.A. for about 28 years, getting the opportunity to sit down with her and really capturing a vibe,” Bassett told Deadline. “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. … That was really informative and welcome — our day-to-day consultant was able to make that happen. He’s there every day to make sure that I’m doing right in the way that I handle a gun, and I’m safe with it, and I look legitimate.”
The 63-year-old said speaking with the lieutenant was an eye-opening experience. She said having those real-life voices have helped shape the show. And it has also helped inform how the show handles the inherent drama and sometimes absurdity of being a first responder.
“(9-1-1) is not completely action-oriented; it’s not completely procedural,” she said. “It’s more everyday life drama thrown in there, with comedic elements.”
‘9-1-1’ Cast Gets Major Pay Bump Ahead of Season 5
Some of the major stars on 9-1-1 are going to see a major pay increase heading into Season 5. That’s after the hit show renegotiated some of its stars’ contracts ahead of the Sept. 20 premiere.
Angela Bassett will make $450,000 an episode, TV Line reported. It may be the most a black female has ever made in network television history. Her show husband Peter Kraus will make about $300,000 per episode, a 25% increase in his salary. Jennifer Love Hewitt, who joined 9-1-1 in season 2, is also reportedly making in that range.
Kenneth Choi, Rockmond Dunbar, Aisha Hinds, Ryan Guzman, and Oliver Stark, who have been with the show since it first aired, also saw an increase to $80,000 an episode. They’ll potentially make as much as $100,000 an episode in season 6, Deadline said.
Bassett commands such a large payday because she serves as the show’s executive producer. A position she said she was happy to land because it allowed her to help create her character.