9-1-1’s Aisha Hinds on Season 7, Hen’s Evolution, and the ‘Epic’ Adventures Ahead

Television


Look up “exquisite” in the dictionary, and you may see a picture of veteran actress Aisha Hinds.


The multi-talented Hinds has a lengthy filmography and most recently has spent six (soon to be seven) seasons on the primetime hit drama 9-1-1.


Heading into its seventh chapter, Hinds’ Hen Wilson remains a mainstay amongst the colorful characters that protect the City of Angels in their roles as first responders. And there’s no slowing Hen down ever, especially in this much anticipated new chapter.


Talking to Hinds is like talking to the warmest person you can imagine. She is incredibly kind and endearing and keenly understands 9-1-1’s deep importance and how it resonates with fans.


This delightful conversation touched on everything from Hen’s 9-1-1 Season 7 arc to the power of Henren, and perhaps the biggest emergency 9-1-1 has ever tackled. Enjoy this one, 9-1-1 fanatics!


Heading into this new season and coming off of 9-1-1 Season 6, Hen was personally and professionally in a good place. When we meet Hen in season seven, how is she doing? What kind of place is she in when the season begins?


When we meet Hen in season seven, she and Karen are exploring another opportunity to expand their family. Again, as you said, we left her off in a good place, and I think anytime we are able to settle after the dust, then we kind of return to the things that give life meaning.


There was an episode where Hen really realized that her family’s truly important to her, and that’s what gives her life meaning and purpose and helps to get her through those tough days at work. Coming home to a family that nourishes her, and her and Karen, and Denny.


They are yet exploring another opportunity to expand that family and to share that overflowing love that flows between all of them. It’s a beautiful way to enter the new season with hearts wide open and doing that hard work that is coupled with quite a bit of hard work that follows throughout the season.


And speaking of Henren, their story, their romance, is an important piece of the fabric of 911. It’s the relationship that’s been there from the very beginning.


Yeah.


It’s such a big piece of what makes 9-1-1 what it is. They’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but what would you say about the evolution of the Henren relationship? How do you feel like it’s evolved over the years to get to the place where you guys are in season seven?


I love that you were able to note that they’ve been able to maintain some stability throughout the years, which is cornerstone, I think, to the conversation around relationships.


In the outside world, there’s quite a bit of information that speaks about the instability of love and relationships, but theirs represents one that you do the hard work, you stay in the ring, and you fight for what’s important, which is what they’ve had to do.


They did start off a little rocky. Hen was out of pocket and almost playing a few places. However, she landed on both feet, and they got it together.


I think that it was really beautiful having Marsha Warfield come on and help her to connect that dot to her childhood, into her womanhood, into her past, into her present, and kind of reconcile that missing piece that was missing from needing her mom’s kind of support and approval.


And the celebration of her marriage with Karen, having the opportunity to do that wedding over with her mom presiding and really reinforcing the idea of family and them having to also be confronted with what things they were willing to sacrifice in order to uphold their family.


For a long time, Hen had been on this road and this journey to become a doctor and was right there at the precipice and realized at that 11th hour that her family was super important to her. And it wasn’t just her family at home, but also the 118.


She takes from the stability at home and that family life and pours it into the family at the 118 and vice versa.


That, too, has been a pretty stable family unit, the 118, which I think has been a beautiful component, and I think that’s what kind of keeps our fans rather engaged with us, feeling like they, too, are now a big part of our collective family.


I think with Henren, too, a lot of times we watch relationships on TV, sometimes we gravitate towards them because they’re so big, and it’s like nothing we may have in real life, so you kind of latch onto that.


But with Henren, it’s very realistic, and they’ve had a lot of struggles, but it’s felt authentic, and their relationship has felt very lived in. I think that’s also why fans connect with it so much.


I agree, yeah.


You were talking about when Hen was going to be a doctor and then scaled back and came back to the 118. She stepped into the captain’s role last season and excelled. Is that something that Hen may want to pursue in the long term, as far as her career goes?


As we know, Hen is not afraid to pursue any and all things at any time. As we also know, Hen is immersed in quite a number of things at any given moment, which I love. I love that we continue to peel back the layers and figure out Hen’s strengths and weaknesses, but I think there are no limitations for Hen.


I think that it was a very natural progression for her to kind of assume this role. And it was also very natural, I think, for her comrades to respect her within it.


Though there were points where there’s kind of this joking challenge of it, ultimately, I think that there is a tremendous respect that the team has for her, and there’s a tremendous love and respect that she has for them. It’s always fun to wear the captain’s hat.


As we’ve seen from a lot of the trailers and all the commercials, there’s going to be this vast grand-scale cruise disaster, which just looking from the outside looks like it’s going to be massive.


And that’s not something I say lightly, considering you guys have had a tsunami, a mudslide, an earthquake. You’ve had it all.  What was this one like to film for you guys? And can you give us a preview of what fans can expect from it?


Listen, just when I thought they couldn’t get any bigger, I was like, okay, we must be going in a different direction now. They found a way. And if you think it looks incredible just in the clips, it was incredible, even on the page.


As I was turning the first few pages of the script when we first got it, the words and the descriptions were so visceral.


Tim Minear is back and killing it in that writer’s room with our writing team, and it’s amazing. We were all excited to see it. Even now, they’re finishing up a few finishing touches on it, and we’re bated breath waiting for each drop, each little piece.


Just like the fans, we’ve now become fans of our show, waiting for the little clips to see how it all cuts together and the world that they create. We have such an amazing production design team that has created the world to make it feel so intimate but vast and dangerous and paced and palpable.


It’s like you can feel the water coming through the screen, but it’s wonderful to see it, and it’s even more wonderful to step on stage and work in these spaces and feel the air on your face. It’s incredible.


Someone described it in my comments once we dropped the trailers recently as a blockbuster. They’re like, ‘Oh, you guys are creating a blockbuster. This is a summer blockbuster, got it.’


And that’s remarkable to be able to work on a show where, at any given moment, you could have a romantic comedy and a summer blockbuster in one episode. You could have a mystery; you could have a murder mystery. It’s all the genres wrapped into one episode of 9-1-1.


Oh, I can’t wait to see it!


You also touched on this, the family aspect of 9-1-1, which is really at the heart of the show. Whether it’s your biological family, your found family, whatever that may be. One of the great things about Hen is her strong dynamics with different characters.


She’s got Chimney, which is my favorite friendship on the show. And then you’ve got Hen and Athena, Hen and Buck have something. Is there one dynamic you wish you could explore even more on this series, or maybe something we’ll see this season?


Yes, actually. It’s funny that you say that because Hen and Chimney, same.


Yeah, they’re so great.


Every day I see that on the page, and we walk in…we love to work together. We love that dynamic. We love that friendship, and we love to elucidate that friendship on screen, the partnership, and the friendship. It’s interesting because I love his love for Jennifer Love.


I’m like, wouldn’t Hen kind of establish a relationship with her best friend’s love of his life?


There was an episode last season where Buck became very upset with Hen because he thought she was trying to stand in the way of him proposing to Maddie. But I believe that her love for Chim was just that intense that she just wanted to make sure he was making the right decision.


But she’s ready to love who he loves. I would love to see Hen and Maddie’s relationship explored even more and see what that looks like. And there have been some touches on it that we shot this season.


Oh, nice. That’s such an interesting dynamic. As you know, from real life, the significant other of somebody who is your person, your platonic person. That’s such an interesting dynamic that can be there.


I liked that they touched on it a little bit with the ring and everything like that because it was a very real reaction. Chim’s your guy. You want to look out for him.


That’s my guy. I’m like, ‘Maddie, don’t be out here messing up.’


Exactly. You’ve been playing Hen now, as we’ve discussed this whole time here, for a lot of years now, and you’ve seen her evolve, you’ve seen her grow, you’ve been in her shoes.


What are your thoughts on Hen’s journey from season one to now, and where would you like to see her moving forward?


I’ve been so grateful for the journey of Hen from season one to now because I feel like our writers have been intentional and thoughtful about her journey, and not in a generic way, but in a very specific way.


In how she has to navigate the world as a paramedic, as a mom, as a wife, as a black woman, as a queer woman.


I don’t think there is any part of her existence that there hasn’t been a storyline that’s explored it in a meaningful way, and so I’m grateful for that.


They’ve explored what lies at the underbelly of her purpose and what drives her. They’ve explored her past and her family, and it’s been so nourishing and enriching that I just wait now to see the other spaces they will explore with her.


I’m grateful to answer the call and live up to the task of whatever they give me to do with her because I also see how her character resonates so widely, broadly, and deeply with our fan base, which makes the experience of bringing her to screen each week that much more satisfying for me.


I’m grateful that I get to live my dreams out loud through Hen, but I’m so grateful that she resonates in homes for people who range in age, race, and gender. She has such a wide appeal, and it nourishes me to do something that speaks to the hearts of people.


If you could give us three words to describe season seven, or at least the beginning of season seven-


Oh, man.


Or phrases, whatever comes to mind.


Yes. I mean, I’ll steal what the fan said. I’ll definitely say epic. Exhilarating. And exciting.


***This interview has been edited for length and clarity.***


You can watch 9-1-1 on Thursdays at 8/7c on its new home on ABC.

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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