When does Maddie come back to ‘911’ (and why did she leave)?

When does Maddie come back to ‘911’ (and why did she leave)?

After a successful career starring in movies we’re still nostalgic for, like Can’t Hardly Wait, and a few cheesy TV shows (remember Ghost Whisperer?!), Jennifer Love Hewitt thankfully graced our TV screens again when she was cast on 911. Hewitt’s 9-1-1 operator Maddie Buckley may be Buck’s sister, but as soon as she first appeared in season 2, she quickly stole our hearts and held her own.

Since the 118 crew is so tight-knit (even if they drive each other nuts sometimes… like a real family), it’s also surprising when someone leaves. Maddie disappeared for a little while and we definitely missed her. When did Maddie return to 911 and what was the reason for her exit?

In what episode of 911 does Maddie come back?

Screenshot via ABC

Maddie comes back in episode 12 of season 5 of 911 called “Boston.” Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character continues her heartbreaking arc of struggling with postpartum depression after having her daughter Jee-Yun. While it seemed like Maddie would return since Chimney spent several episodes looking for her, it was still a good surprise when she finally appeared again.

Chimney (Kenneth Choi)’s shocking plotline on his and Maddie’s season 7 wedding day is so impactful because of the dark experiences they’ve endured. Chimney becomes a paramedic for the time being in Boston and learns that when Maddie left, she tried to drown and then decided against it. She felt she couldn’t take care of her daughter anymore and brought her to Station 118 before going to Boston.

“Boston” is one of the most significant 911 episodes and strikes that crucial balance of having the main characters help someone while also working through weighty issues. While Chimney and Maddie help a woman with a drinking problem whom Maddie met during therapy, 911 also explores how difficult the postpartum period can be. Although it’s hard to show the difference between the “baby blues” brought on by sleepless nights and the all-around anxiety of having a newborn and actual depression, Maddie’s 911 storyline comes close.

With Maddie, 911 continued their tradition of having a strong 9-1-1 operator who goes through challenges when they’re off the clock. Before Abby Clark (Connie Britton) left 911, she took care of her mother, who had Alzheimer’s.

Why did Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Maddie leave 911?

Screenshot via ABC

Maddie leaves in the 911 season 5 episode “Desperate Measures” because of her postpartum depression, but there was another reason why the character exited the popular series for several episodes. Jennifer Love Hewitt took some time away from 911 because she gave birth to her third child, Aidan James Hallisay, in September 2021.

As the star told TVLine, “In real life, [the fans] know that Maddie left so I could go have my baby” and the character “left to truly keep her daughter safe from someone that felt unsafe.”

Hewitt told People that it was “cathartic” to play this storyline because her third postpartum experience was the “worst” one she had.

Given all that has happened since Maddie’s 911 season 5 return, it would have been a shame if she had exited for good. Maddie and Chimney repaired their relationship (yay), continued working the jobs that they care so much about, and realized they could get through anything.

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