Athena (Angela Bassett), Eddie (Ryan Guzman), Hen (Aisha Hinds), Buck (Oliver Stark), Bobby (Peter Krause), Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and Chimney (Kenneth Choi)
(ABC)

The 10 Very Best ‘9-1-1’ Episodes, Ranked

9-1-1 is a thrill ride through the world of first responders, and it’s gained a passionately dedicated fanbase since it kicked off in 2018. But with the series running for so long, you may need help navigating the best episodes, so we’ve ranked them for you!

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The series focuses on a group of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers, and our main characters are Athena (Angela Bassett), Buck (Oliver Stark), Bobby (Peter Krause), Hen (Aisha Hinds), Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Chimney (Kenneth Choi) and Eddie (Ryan Guzman). Together, they face dramatic disaster after dramatic disaster. Fire, earthquakes, floods … there is nothing too big for the close-knit team to handle. Here’s the very best episodes of the show, and since 9-1-1 is such a popular franchise, there’s likely to be many more to come.

10. “Survivors” (season 4, episode 14)

Buck (Oliver Stark) covered in blood in 9-1-1
(ABC)

In the episode prior to this season’s finale, “Survivors,” Eddie was shot … but thankfully, he pulls through. There’s a disgruntled ex-firefighter out there firing shots at his former teammates and no one is safe.

We get some great moments of the Eddie-Buck relationship (they’re a very popular ship) and a deepening of the relationship between Buck and Eddie’s son Christopher, as well. All in all, it’s a great episode for those who love 9-1-1’s most reckless firefighter and the people closest to him. 

9. “The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1” (season 3, episode 14)

Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) in 9-1-1
(ABC)

Season three of 9-1-1 was the most high-octane one yet. “The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1” is all about a hostage situation at the dispatch center where Maddie works. Yep, there’s no natural disaster in this one, just some very bad people.

Luckily, Chimney and the other members of the 9-1-1 crew are able to work out what’s going on and intervene to save everyone, but it’s a nail-biter of an episode before they manage it. After that, there’s a neat twist at the end and a villain death.

8. “The One That Got Away” (season 3, episode 16)

Chimney (Kenneth Choi), Eddie (Ryan Guzman), Bobby (Peter Krause) and Hen (Aisha Hinds) in 9-1-1
(ABC)

“The One That Got Away” is a slightly slower/less disastrous episode than some of the others on this list (despite opening with a dramatic fire rescue), and it’s all the better for it. It’s all about Buck and the friendship he strikes up with a retired firefighter named Red (Jack McGee).

The Buck-Red storyline is very touching, but the Athena storyline is more on the horrifying side. After an incident with a drone, she tracks down what she thinks is a peeping tom, only to discover he’s actually a serial rapist.

7. “There Goes the Groom” (season 7, episode 6)

James Chen as Kevin and Kenneth Choi as Chimney in 9-1-1
(ABC)

It’s Maddie and Chimney’s wedding day in “There Goes the Groom”! Hooray! Except … the groom is not there. Somehow, he’s gone AWOL between the bachelor party (which he didn’t even attend) and the ceremony.

Turns out Chimney is wandering the streets with amnesia, suffering from an unknown malady. His luck gets worse from there, as he’s carjacked, and then he starts seeing dead people. It’s a drama-packed wedding episode, but it’s probably not too much of a spoiler to say that it has a happy ending. 

6. “7.1” (season 2, episode 2)

A destroyed building in 9-1-1
(ABC)

9-1-1 is at its best when there’s a massive disaster taking place, and the episode “7.1.” offers one of the biggest of all. An earthquake hits Los Angeles, killing or endangering countless people, so the crew must spring into action, fast.

And wouldn’t you know it, it’s Maddie’s first day as a 911 dispatcher! Talk about being thrown in the deep end. Will all our favorite characters survive? Will the DOG survive?!

5. “Worst Day Ever” (season 1, episode 4)

Passengers escaping a downed plane in 9-1-1
(ABC)

Only the fourth episode of the show, and we’re already on board a doomed plane in “Worst Day Ever.” We spend some time meeting adorable children on board the flight, and then, oh no! The plane crashes. Bobby, still a tormented figure at this point, takes it especially hard, and at the end of the episode is seen speaking to his children about the disaster … but the children aren’t really there.

Meanwhile, Athena takes some ill-advised revenge against some high school bullies who hurt her daughter, and gets herself put on desk duty as a result.

4. “Sink or Swim” (season 3, episode 2)

Bobby (Peter Krause) rescuing people from a big wheel in 9-1-1
(ABC)

Remember how I said 9-1-1 is at its best when a big disaster happens? In “Sink or Swim,” we get something even bigger than an earthquake: a tsunami. And Buck and Eddie’s adorable son Christopher (Gavin McHugh) is immediately put in danger.

The crew has to face some truly harrowing situations—Maddie having to listen to a man die in his flooded attic is particularly rough, as is Buck having to distract Christopher as dead bodies float by them—and it’s not guaranteed that they’ll all make it out alive. Audiences had to wait until the next episode to see if everyone would live.

3. “The Searchers” (season 3, episode 3)

Angela Bassett and Ryan Guzman in 9-1-1
(ABC)

“The Searchers” is the second part of the tsunami two-parter. Christopher is now missing, and Buck must give his all to try to find him. Meanwhile, there are still countless people to be saved from the rising waters and all the little mini-disasters that have happened as a result of the main one.

Like the previous episode, “The Searchers” is full of gloriously painful situations for both our main characters and for random people we meet along the way. One thing’s for sure: You won’t ever want to move to Los Angeles once this episode is over.  

2. “Fight or Flight” (season 2, episode 13)

Brian Hallisay and Jennifer Love Hewitt in 9-1-1
(ABC)

Maddie’s abusive husband Doug (Brain Hallisay) is back in “Fight or Flight,” and he’s stabbed Chimney and kidnapped Maddie. We get a flashback of Doug’s behavior towards her, and man are we rooting for this guy to die horribly.

It’s a harrowing time for the 9-1-1 crew, especially Buck, Maddie’s brother. One member of their team is badly injured and another may not be found alive, but Maddie has learned a lot during her time as a dispatcher, and she just may make it through.

1. “Buck, Bothered and Bewildered”(season 7, episode 4)

Oliver Stark as Buck in 9-1-1
(ABC)

The 100th episode of 9-1-1, the writers pulled out all the stops for “Buck, Bothered and Bewildered.” We open with a The Bachelor crossover, because why not, and then suddenly backflip into times of tragedy. A woman fatally shoots her son thinking he’s an intruder, which mirrors Athena’s problems with her own son, Harry (Elijah M. Cooper).

However, perhaps the most important thing that happens in this episode is that Buck discovers he’s bisexual. He has feelings for a man named Tommy (Lou Ferrigno Jr.), and they end in a big damn kiss. Wow! It’s safe to say that this episode changed 9-1-1 fandom forever.


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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.