How Long 9-1-1's Athena Will Be Dealing With The Very Personal Case Of Her Attacker

9-1-1 season 5 premiere athena on the stand screenshot

Spoilers ahead for the Season 5 premiere of 9-1-1 on Fox, called "Panic."

9-1-1 returned to Fox with a fifth season premiere that hit Los Angeles with its latest apocalyptic attack, and the ransomware assault presents different kinds of threats than what the heroes faced with the tsunami and mudslide. The most intense storyline of the episode wasn't directly tied to the ransomware, however, as Angela Bassett's Athena had to face down her attacker when Hudson's case was going to trial, and the series of crises that followed means that she's facing a very personal case. And she's not going to be done with it too soon, according to showrunner Tim Minear.

But how did the case manage to go from bad to worse for Athena? The ransomware is what enabled serial rapist Jeffrey Hudson, who brutally attacked Athena back in Season 3, to escape custody. Athena and Lou had every reason to assume that Hudson would go to one of the groupies who had been visiting him behind bars, but realized that instead of seeking protection with one of them, he would target the lawyer he fired for giving him bad advice.

Lou seemingly got to her in time to save her from Hudson, but then a betrayal happened when the lawyer attacked Lou and revealed that she's one of Hudson's fans, and the preview for next week indicates that Hudson is going to target Athena. As if the case wasn't already personal enough for Athena! 9-1-1 showrunner Tim Minear previewed what's on the way for Athena vs. Hudson, telling TV Insider:

It becomes very, very personal for her by Episode 3. That nightmare that she has, as you say, in the first episode, really starts to come true in the next two episodes, and that it is very personal for both of them. Here’s a woman who was unapologetic about bringing him down and he has a real issue with women, to put it mildly. And so he does start to fixate on her and I think that she becomes his bête noire in a lot of ways, and it becomes very kind of mano-a-womano, if that’s even a term.

Well, if you were hoping that poor Athena was going to be able to wrap up the case with Hudson and move on in the next episode, then Tim Minear's mention of Episode 3 comes as bad news! She stood firm in the full Season 5 premiere in her efforts to put Hudson behind bars and in defending her methods for tracking him down back in Season 3, and the premiere almost came to a happy ending when Lou called with the news about capturing Hudson, and Athena had good news to spread to Hudson's terrified victims.

Tim Minear didn't confirm whether or not Lou is dead after what the lawyer did to him at the end of the premiere, but did promise that fans will "find out very quickly in the next episode." He did reveal that the Season 5 approach to Hudson was based on Ted Bundy, who also represented himself in court and won a following of women. Of course, Ted Bundy never escaped custody because a ransomware attack turned society upside down! So, what does this very personal case mean for Athena and Bobby, after what they went through recently? Minear previewed:

The thing that Bobby has learned over the last couple of seasons is that Athena’s got to be Athena and she’s going to do what she’s going to do. And so instead of him doting and worrying, they are team Bathena at this point. He is rooting for her and he knows who he’s living with and he knows that she’s a hero and that’s the way it is.

Bobby has his hands full as a firefighter with the ransomware attack, so it's good to know that he has realized that she can handle things on her own and can root for her without trying to protect her from everything. Whatever happens, hopefully Athena doesn't go through anything like what she went through in Season 3, and is able to prevent any other women from suffering the same fate.

Find out with the next episode of 9-1-1 on Monday, September 27 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. There are a lot of loose ends that will need to be tied off after the Season 5 premiere, not the least of which is the health issue that Eddie is struggling with and trying to hide from his fellow firefighters at the 118, although Buck has already realized that something is up and is trying to get to the bottom of it.

Fingers crossed that fans won't have to wait until Episode 3 for resolution on that front! Throw in Maddie's postpartum depression and all the escaped zoo animals, and I think it's safe to say that Season 5 won't be boring.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).