911: Jennifer Love Hewitt Returns—Watch Season 5 Episode 12 [VIDEO]

Chimney and Maddie’s journey back to one another finally comes to a conclusion on Monday’s 9-1-1 (Fox, 8/7c). But Maddie’s personal journey is far from over.

“It was definitely more than I was expecting,” Jennifer Love Hewitt tells TVLine of her first episode back on the Fox procedural since going on maternity leave earlier this season. “But I was really happy to get the audience some answers while also telling an important story.”

As fans will recall, Maddie left baby Jee-Yun at the firehouse after recording a heartbreaking goodbye message for Chimney back in October. Maddie had been quietly dealing with postpartum depression for some time, and after falling asleep while Jee-Yun slipped under the bath water, she decided it was no longer safe to be around her.

In the months that followed, Buck and Chimney both attempted to track Maddie down, gradually uncovering clues about her whereabouts. Their individual investigations turned up more questions than answers, but the good news is that those answers are finally coming; after Monday’s episode, fans will — or they should — finally understand everything that Maddie has been going through.

“I hope that it’s enough, I really do,” Hewitt says of the perspective that fans will gain from Maddie’s return. “I’ve had a genuine fear of that, so I’m nervous about Monday. In real life, [the fans] know that Maddie left so I could go have my baby, but it’s important to know about Maddie — and I think I say this in a later episode — that she’s a fugitive. She has literally spent her whole life, since she was a kid, running. She ran from telling Buck the truth about their brother, she ran from a difficult relationship with her parents, she ran from an abusive marriage. Then she ran into a new relationship, into a pandemic head-on as a pregnant woman, and then ran away again with postpartum depression.”

She continues, “Hopefully people will understand that she left to truly keep her daughter safe from someone who felt unsafe. She had to do that to get better and to stop running. Maybe now she’ll be able to put herself back together and not spend the rest of her life that way.”

As for getting to reunite with Kenneth Choi on screen, Hewitt says that was “just the best.” (#ChimneyAndMaddieForever!)

“He and I are very close, and he’s very close with my family — my kids call him Uncle Kenny,” Hewitt says. “We’re very supportive of each other off camera and in life, so I really missed him. We missed playing Chimney and Maddie together. We care about them as much as the fans do. We’re genuinely invested. So when we saw each other for the first time on camera, that was wild.”

Chimney and Maddie eventually sit down to hash things out, during which Hewitt says, “both of us started sobbing. [The director] was like, ‘Save some of that for the camera.’ It was nice getting back together, and we had a lot of fun in the second half of the season getting to play out their story.”

Hit PLAY on our exclusive first look at Maddie’s return — which includes a tense interaction with a new friend she’s made in Boston — then drop a comment with your hopes for the rest of 9-1-1 Season 5 below.

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