“We live in a really dark, cynical, [Donald] Trump era,” Ryan Murphy said. “I was looking for something that is a relief for that” he said, about people who wake up every day and do good deeds” and, while battling their own personal issues “put others ahead of themselves.”
Murphy does not, however intend for the show to be political, he insisted. “Our cases and situations they don’t all have happy endings. I’m interested in presenting stories in this show that are uplifting and aspirational and that give viewers hope there is goodness out there… Some of them are very upsetting, but 90% of them try to resolve in a way that makes you feel good about the people involved and how they were treated and how the first responders felt when they left that case.”
The new Fox series from creators Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear explores the high-pressure experiences of police, paramedics and firefighters responding in life-and-death situations. According to Murphy, all storylines are based on real cases.
The impetus of the show was his own personal experience calling 911 when his 11-month-old child stopped breathing in the middle of the night. First responders, Murphy said, were “incredibly calm and nurturing.”
“One forced me to leave the room to get the situation under control, which is not a shock to anyone who knows me. They brought him back to life…I was very struck by what great people they were and how strong they were,”Murphy said. “From that moment on, I was interested in the inner lives of these people who are forced to show up and to be such a ballast for so many sorts of people.”
Murphy said he wanted to go back to procedural drama after so many years in the anthology world. “I’m always looking to do the opposite of what I had done.”
And, yes, Murphy considers Nip-Tuck to have been his first procedural – also based on true cases. That show, Murphy said, “was to me a procedural: ‘Tell me what you don’t like about yourself’ and have three cases of the week.”