The fourth season of 9-1-1 returns to Fox tonight and, like many shows airing now, the procedural drama will infuse the COVID-19 pandemic into the storyline. Thus far, viewers have had mixed reactions to art imitating life, considering we’re still very much living in the age of coronavirus. And when it comes to the preference some have for television shows serving as an escape from reality, Angela Bassett says, “I think I’m one of them.”
We asked the actress who plays LAPD patrol sergeant Athena Carter Grant Nash on the series how she feels about reliving the realities of Covid on set and she said it comes down to how you handle it. She also noted that incorporating the storyline makes sense for the focus of the show.
“First responders, we would wear them, we would be cognizant and careful in how we handle ourself,” she said of the masks seen on the actors in the trailer for the upcoming season. “But we take the opportunity to take them off. If you’re home and, you know, in your bubble with your family you would have them off. I don’t wear them around the house here. So we bring that into the storyline and of course, as the actors, we’re being very safe.”
What safe looks like is getting tested three times a week, though Bassett is open to additional measures if it means staying healthy. “I was asking about, do you want us to take the flu shot? What else do you want us to do?” she says laughing.
The 62-year-old is open to the vaccine as well, though she understands why members of our community in particular pause at the thought.
“I think I’ve seen enough individuals who haven’t fallen out. Our president – our incoming president – in a couple of days. It’s nice to see. J. Gupta…I feel confident that if they haven’t fallen out with corona-30 or whatever [it’s okay],” she says before asking, “They’re getting the real thing, right?”
Of course only those administering the vaccine can answer that question, but as Basset notes, “It’s a valid question point.” She continues,”I was a little hesitant because we know the history of vaccines. We know the Tuskegee experiment. We know the Henrietta Lacks story. You know it’s been a rough history.”
As things stand, actors have to wait in line like everyone else to receive the vaccine despite returning to work on sets. But Bassett is fine with that.
“It’s not our time yet,” she says. “We’ll see what happens. They’ll get it to those in need and those most exposed and those who need it most urgently.”
Watch the full interview with Bassett above; 9-1-1 airs on FOX at 8 pm ET.