Lou Ferrigno Jr's 911 Return Explained: Why He Came Back to the Show

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Lou Ferrigno Jr. 911

Lou Ferrigno Jr. gave fans a pleasant surprise thanks to his shocking return in Season 7 of ABC's 911.

Ferrigno Jr. first joined the 911 family way back in Season 2 flashback sequences, portraying a former firefighter named Tommy Kinard who was a first responder at Station 118 before the current team came together.

He later moved on to work for the air support division of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), giving support to Kenneth Choi's Chimney in flashback scenes with a water drop as a neighborhood went up in flames.

[ Full Cast of 911 Season 7 Show - Every Main Character & Actor Who Appears (Photos) ]

Lou Ferrigno Jr.'s 911 Season 7 Return Explained

Season 7, Episode 3 of 911 with Lou Ferrigno Jr.

In Season 7, Episode 3 of 911, titled "Capsized," Lou Ferrigno Jr. made his surprise return to the series to reprise his role as Tommy Kinard.

This marks his fourth appearance on 911, although it is his first since Season 2 in 2019 and the first time he was seen in the present-day story.

In this episode, Aisha Hinds' Henrietta "Hen" Wilson attempts to get rescue efforts going for Angela Bassett's Athena Grant-Nash and Peter Krause's Bobby Nash when they are on their honeymoon, with their cruise ship having capsized. 

Wilson then reunites with Tommy Kinard as he gets her on an LAFD helicopter flying to Mexico (where the cruise ship is), and she sees the rest of her 118 team already on board as Kinard pilots the chopper.

The crew then flies directly into the storm, with Kinard predicting they would make it out alive. Not caring about that prediction, the team goes in headfirst as Grant-Nash sends up a flare into the sky, giving her colleagues and friends her location as they save the day once again.

Showrunner Tim Minear detailed to TVLine how he originally had Arielle Kebbel’s Lucy Donato from Seasons 5 and 6 in mind to play the role of the pilot for this rescue mission. However, the actress was previously engaged with in work on another series, filming the pilot for Fox's new lifeguard drama Rescue: Hi Surf:

“Originally, when the 118 needed a pilot to get them to that overturned cruise ship, Lucy was my first thought. But she couldn’t be my pilot… because she got a pilot."

Minear made it clear that he "didn’t just want it to be some generic pilot guy that they enlist" for the rescue mission. He was adamant about wanting somebody "who had a connection to the lore of the show," leading him to think of Lou Ferrigno Jr.'s character.

Looking back to Season 2, Episode 14, entitled "Broken," the story hinted that Kinard "had moved on to some air service unit" within the LAFD, although he was not seen after that reveal. This made Ferrigno Jr.'s return possible for this episode as he has been kept off-screen since that moment:

"We established that Tommy had moved to some air service unit in the fire department, so you never actually saw [Lou Ferrigno Jr.] in that episode, but it’s Tommy that he calls."

Will Lou Ferrigno Jr. Be Back for More 911?

Seeing as Ferrigno Jr. just returned for his first 911 episodes in five years (not to mention his first in the present-day timeline), many are wondering if this will be a one-off appearance.

Thankfully, Minear confirmed that the son of former Hulk star is "going to be around for a little bit," even if he is not part of the main team in Station 118:

"He’s going to be around for a little bit. He’s not going to be a member of the 118 again, but he is going to be involved in some stories."

Like most new TV seasons after the writers' and actors' strikes, 911 Season 7 will consist of 10 episodes, giving Ferrigno Jr. a chance at as many as seven more appearances in 2024.

Considering this will be his first interaction with most of the current crew at Station 118, many will be interested to see his dynamic with them after helping Hen and Chimney come up as rookies.

Although there are no signs indicating exactly what his role will be moving forward, having Kinard as part of Season 7's supporting cast should only make for a strong new addition.

New episodes of 911 air every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Episodes then begin streaming the following day on Hulu.

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- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.