The Touching Story Behind 9-1-1: Lone Star’s Latest Big Exit

lisa edelstein as gwyn in 9-1-1 lone star
(Image credit: Fox)

Last week’s episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star ended on a shocking and tragic cliffhanger, when T.K. received news that will change his life forever: his mom, Gwyn, has died. It was a storyline that no one saw coming, even if it might’ve been foreshadowed in T.K.’s coma dreams. Now Rob Lowe and showrunner Tim Minear are revealing why it had to happen, which includes a touching story.

Ahead of the new episode, Rob Lowe and Tim Minear talked about the show’s latest tragedy with EW. With Lisa Edelstein appearing in a number of episodes since the beginning of Season 2, and then turning up in early episodes of Season 3, Gwyn’s death was likely the last thing on anyone’s mind, including her son's and ex-husband's. While it hits T.K. hard, Minear reveals that it also hits close to him. He explained how he’s paying tribute to someone close to him and it’s pretty touching:

It’s sort of me saying goodbye to my mom and also it’s a tribute to her. Lisa never met my mother, but there’s so much of her in that performance. Lisa is sneakily brilliant in this episode — in a look, everything is there: She is angry, despairing, loving, compassionate, she’s all those things. She’s true mother love, like tough mother love in this episode. And it’s a real tribute to her skill as a screen actor, I will tell you that.

Episode 8 of 9-1-1: Lone Star will definitely be an emotional one. Aside from the troubles that Owen and T.K. will be experiencing on the plane, there will also be flashbacks to when Gwyn helped get T.K. into rehab years ago. It seems like fans will be seeing that true and tough mother love from Gwyneth, and knowing that it’s Minear’s tribute to his own mother makes it all the more special.

Meanwhile, Rob Lowe got more into just why the show made the decision to kill off Gwyneth. She and Owen had a tumultuous relationship in the second season, as they started to rekindle their love. After Gwyn got pregnant and it was revealed the baby is not Owen’s, she went back to New York. She made a reappearance in T.K.’s coma dream and then in real life at the 126 reopening. While it looked like there was still more story to tell with her and baby Jonah, Lowe explained that it was time to resolve her arc:

We felt like this was the best resolve of her character’s arc. You know, she lives in New York, she has a significant other in New York, she’s [just had] his baby. Those are stories that certainly wouldn’t fit in the 9-1-1: Lone Star, Texas universe. She lives a separate life there. So it had kind of run its course. The question was, 'what’s the most fulfilling, dramatic, juicy thing, way to service that story?' And you know, there’s nothing more dramatic than an unexpected death, as opposed to her just being on the phone every sixth episode or something like that.

Gwyneth’s death was a curveball for the fun episode that aired last week and it left fans in disbelief. It does make sense why the show felt the need to kill her off, though since she did live back in New York. Still, that doesn’t mean it hurts any less. Especially since T.K. did just go through a major trauma and now he has to go through another one. Will he ever get a break?

Just how will T.K. and Owen get through this tragedy? Find out in new episodes of 9-1-1: Lone Star airing Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox in the 2022 TV schedule!

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.