9-1-1, Buck, Oliver Stark
Credit: 20th Century Fox Licensing/Merch

Since he was struck by lightning in season 6, episode 10, viewers have been asking: Is Buck leaving 9-1-1 and is he really dead?

9-1-1 is FOX’s drama series following the firefighters, paramedics and other emergency personnel at the Los Angeles Fire Department’s fictional Station 118 in Los Angeles, California. Oliver Stark plays Evan “Buck” Buckley, a firefighter and the brother of Maddie Buckley (Jennifer Love Hewitt), a 911 operator and trained nurse.

Stark has starred as Buck on 9-1-1 since season 1 in 2018. But could Buck be leaving 9-1-1? In season 6, episode 10, Buck is struck by lightning, seemingly killing him and his time on 9-1-1.

“I was game for it. I think it’s a brave decision for the show,” Stark told The Wrap of the episode in March 2023. “We’ve been on air for a long time now. We’ve made almost 100 episodes. So I think it’s cool for the show to start taking these risks and put some characters in jeopardy.” He continued, “The next episode picks up literally right where this episode ends, so all that urgency and chaos continues — right as Episode 11 starts, we see them working to save one of their own, to save Buck’s life. It’s a very edge-of-your-seat, going along for the ride [kind of] episode.

So is Buck leaving 9-1-1 and is Oliver Stark’s character really dead? Read on for what we know about if Buck is leaving 9-1-1 and what happened to him.

9-1-1, Buck, Oliver Stark

Does Buck die in 9-1-1?

Does Buck die in 9-1-1? The answer is yes. Evan “Buck” Buckley, a firefighter with the Los Angeles Fire Department, dies in season 6, episode 10, “In a Flash,” after he’s rushed to the hospital without a pulse after he’s struck by lighting and falls from a ladder. Oliver Stark, who plays Buck, confirmed to Entertainment Weekly in March 2023 that Buck is dead—for now. “He is dead at the end of this episode,” he said.

9-1-1, Buck, Oliver Stark

Is Buck leaving 9-1-1?

Is Buck leaving 9-1-1? The answer is no. At least, not yet. In season 6, episode 11, “In Another Life,” viewers learn that Buck was placed in a medically induced coma, which saw him live through an “alternate universe fever dream.” “Buck is in a realm between life and death,” Stark told Entertainment Weekly. “He gets to explore what life might be like had some big things in his life gone down differently, things that have really made him the person he is.”

9-1-1 showrunner Kristen Reidel also explained to Entertainment Weekly why the show decided to kill off Buck. “All season long, Buck has been talking about wanting to understand himself better and wanting to find a way to be the person he wants to be, not the person other people want him to be,” she said. “And when you’re examining your life and looking to your future and trying to figure out your place in the world, nothing shakes you up quite as much as dying. This just felt like a way to really dig into some of Buck’s issues, some of Buck’s need to please and need to fix — and what would he be if he stopped trying to do that?”

In an interview with Screenrant in March 2023, Stark also explained how Buck’s coma affects him and his relationship with the rest of Station 118. “It picks up right where 10 leaves off. We have all that chaos at the end of Episode 10 and that’s certainly going to carry into the beginning of Episode 11,” he said. “We’re going to find Buck in this weird space between life and death, where it could really go either way. We’re going to get to see what that might mean on the outside for the rest of the 118 and how that would affect them.”

He continued, “He’s obviously very important to all of them and in different ways. I think we’ve seen over the years, and over the seasons and the episodes, they all have a deep care for him. So him being in a position of such peril, I think is really going to affect them, and is really going to bring out all kinds of emotions, and even from characters that we don’t necessarily get to see that emotional side of so much. When it’s one of their own in trouble, it’s a whole different story.”

Stark also hinted that Buck survived his accident in an interview with The Wrap in March 2023. “Even though over the years, we have continued to put these characters in peril and put them pretty close to death, I think there’s something more in this emergency and in this catastrophe that strikes Buck — where mortality and the idea of death becomes much more present in everybody’s life,” he said.

Season 6 also sees the return of Buck and his sister Maddie Buckley’s parents, Philip and Margaret Buckley, whose appearances on the show came at the same time firefighter and paramedic Howard “Howie”/”Chimney” Han’s father, stepmother and half-brother also made an appearance. “You can bring the Buckleys back, but at this point, there’s no giant family secret there. So what’s the escalation to a visit from the Buckley family? It’s to also have a visit from the Han family,” Reidel told Entertainment Weekly. She added, “We just loved the idea of seeing those families interact and meet for the first time. Maddie’s never met Chimney’s dad, and Chimney hasn’t seen him in person in years — maybe even decades. It’s fraught enough when two families meet each other for the first time when they’re joined in some relationship, but these particular two families just felt like a little extra layer of crazy.”

Stark also told Screenrant how Buck’s childhood and relationship with his parents affected his decision to be a sperm donor. “I think his childhood and the reason that he was born has influenced so much of his life, even to the point of being a firefighter,” he said. “He was born to save someone, and it didn’t necessarily work. I think he’s spent much of his life, maybe on a subconscious level, trying to fix that and trying to be the hero. Now that this has presented itself as an opportunity to do that again, he’s thrown himself into it.”

Stark also confirmed that Buck doesn’t want to be the father of the baby conceived from his sperm donation. “It doesn’t move in the way that people I think are expecting it to. I think there’s a lot of fear around it that he’s going to be hurt, and he thinks he’s the dad. I don’t think he thinks he’s the dad. And we certainly see that in Episode 10. He says to his mom, ‘I’m not the dad, I’m the donor,'” he said. “That’s going to continue. I think he’s getting to a point in his life where he’s taking real ownership of his decisions and understanding the consequences and the weight of them. I think he totally understands his role and made this decision with a clearer head than people have maybe anticipated.”

Stark also told The Wrap about Buck’s relationships with his parents. “We’ve seen the rockiness of their relationship when he was younger, and even in more recent times, that their relationship has not been ideal, but that doesn’t mean that there’s never room for growth or reconciliation,” he said.

9-1-1, Buck, Oliver Stark

Is Oliver Stark leaving 9-1-1?

Is Oliver Stark leaving 9-1-1? The answer is no. Stark confirmed to Screenrant that he will still be on 9-1-1 after Buck was struck by lightning, and teased how his relationship with his Station 118’s captain, Robert “Bobby Nash,” will be affected by the accident. “In the earlier episodes, [we see] Bobby being a real pillar of strength for him. I think as we go on, certainly post-lightning strike, we see all of the 118 in various different ways being there for Buck,” he said. “I think it’s almost a little bit overwhelming for him at times, and he needs to back away from it and learn to not depend on anybody else—or find a balance between knowing when to ask for help and knowing when you need to develop the strength to be there for yourself.”

Stark also confirmed to Screenrant that he and Buck will be in the 9-1-1 season 6 finale when asked about his favorite episode from the season. “I think 6×11 is obviously an immediate standout for me, but I almost feel like it’s such an obvious answer that it’s almost a boring answer. I really like something that we’re in the middle of right now,” he said. “I think the finale is a really fantastic episode. I think it’s really, really high octane but really offers a lot in terms of moving these characters forward and putting them in good places. I think the finale is something that people are really going to respond to.”

Stark also teased Buck’s journey as a firefighter in 9-1-1 season 6. “I think he’d be really proud of himself. Kind of like what I touched on about how he’s getting to a point where he’s just OK with who he is, and he’s okay with his decisions,” he said. “I think he’s much more of a leader than he was a few years ago. I know at the top of the season, we saw him being told that he wasn’t ready to be interim captain yet and that he had to go out and live a little more life.” He continued, “I think he’s been doing that throughout the first half, and now the second half of season six, he’s been experiencing a lot. I think he’s becoming a better firefighter, I think he’s becoming a better leader, I think he’s becoming a better friend. So I think past Buck would be and should be very proud of where Buck is now.”

As for Buck’s coma, Stark also explained to Screenrant it was like to act with other 9-1-1 actors while in Buck’s dream sequence. “It was really fun to get to play these scenes where he does, at various points, cross paths with different members of the 118, but to play those relationships in a whole different sense,” he said. “So to have these scenes with these actors that I have come to know so well, but get to completely change the dynamic between the characters—it was a really fun challenge and something that I think we all got to really enjoy.”

He also told the site about what it was like to perform the scene in season 6, episode 10 where Buck is struck by lightning, and how much of the scene is him versus a stunt double.  “It’s a mixture. I’ve been on top of the ladder hundreds of times over the years, so it’s always fine for me to be right at the top of the ladder,” he said. “Once he takes a little tumble over the edge, and he’s dangling at the very top, that’s a double, just the nature of filming these things—the safety. Towards the end when he’s closer to the ground, that’s me there suspended in the air under the freezing cold fake rain. It’s a combination of myself and a double, which is often how these things come together.” Stark also joked to The Wrap about filming Buck’s lightning scene. “They did not put money in heating the fake rain, I will tell you that,” he said.

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