In Monday’s 9-1-1 episode ‘Chimney Begins,’ Fox focused on Howie “Chimney” Han’s life (Kenneth Choi). According to TV Guide, while Chimney was taking Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) out on their first date, her abusive ex-husband Doug (Brian Hallisay, Hewitt’s real-life husband) arrived at her doorstep and stabbed him. We still do not know if he will survive since the injuries look really severe. In this episode, we can see how Chimney became a real-life hero. He was able to overcome a period of personal uncertainty, he gained confidence after being rejected from women, and survived the loss of his best friend Kevin (James Chen). This episode also examined Chimney’s difficult relationship with his dad, a story that is very familiar to Choi, since he ran away from home and cut off contact with his family that at first did not support his decision to become an actor.
According to TV Guide, ‘Chimney Begins’ was able to make Chimney’s heritage relevant to the story. It is an important moment for Asian representation on TV, and 9-1-1 highlights the challenges that Chimney faces as an Asian man. In Season 2, Chimney was made to feel like he did not have a chance to be in a “sexy firefighter” calendar. In ‘Chimney Begins,’ there is a scene where a white woman flirts with him as a joke. Creator Ryan Murphy said “Kenny’s an attractive guy and he happens to be Asian American. We don’t see a lot of sexy Asian Americans on screen so let’s push him forward,” Choi explained. “I happen to be an Asian American man and I’ve had my fair share of relationships, and you don’t get to see that on screen. And when you don’t see it you don’t identify, so hopefully, a lot of other Asian American men out there can identify. I’m proud to have taken on that mantle,” Choi said.
According to Entertainment Weekly, we still do not know what is going to happen to Chimney. One minute he is getting over being impaled in the head with rebar and the next minute he is getting stabbed by his girlfriend’s ex-husband. According to Choi, he stands a 50/50 chance at survival “he’s taken three stabs to the gut, which is pretty treacherous, but Chimney’s a very resilient guy,” Choi said. The next episode of 9-1-1 (episode 13) will air on Monday, April 1, at 9 PM Pacific Time on Fox.