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“9-1-1”'s Oliver Stark and Ryan Guzman on Buck and Eddie's 'open, sensitive, and vulnerable' season 7 dynamic

"It felt like we never left," Guzman says of his first day back on set with Stark filming their Fox-turned-ABC drama.

Ryan Guzman was a little tired on his first day back at 9-1-1.

During the writers' and actors' strikes, the star wrote and produced a short film that ended up shooting the night before he was scheduled to return for season 7 of the first-responder drama and "I had not gotten sleep for 48 hours," Guzman tells Entertainment Weekly. "I remember just being delusional, but no one could tell. I had a bunch of coffee, and in my head I was trying to figure this out."

Luckily, he had a scene partner he knew he could rely on to ease him back into playing 118 firefighter Eddie Diaz: "One of my first scenes is with Oliver [Stark,] and there's always an ease there," Guzman says of his costar, who plays firefighter and Eddie's best friend, Evan "Buck" Buckly, on the series. "So, it took maybe one rehearsal, two rehearsals, and then we were right back into it, and it felt like we never left."

FOX
FOX

Guzman — and fans — are in luck, because co-creator Tim Minear promises a lot of "Buddie" scenes to come in season 7.

"I've had a lot of fun writing Buck and Eddie and playing their dynamic," says Minear, who has taken over showrunner duties from Kristen Reidel (who will remain an executive producer) as the series moves from Fox to ABC for the new season on March 14 at 8 p.m. "Their friendship is the core of that coupling. I'm trying to hit it in every episode."

Why does the Buddie relationship connect with so many? "One of the aspects of it that has really spoken to me is that these are two men in this, quote-unquote 'macho field' — or what you would expect to be that — and they're both really open, sensitive, and vulnerable with each other," says Stark, speaking to EW for our exclusive preview of the upcoming epic three-part premiere. "I think it's just really lovely to see these two stereotypically macho men have this really open relationship where they can confide in each other and they can step up and be there for each other in a way that feels very soft. I just think that's a really lovely, and in fact [an] important thing to be able to show on this TV show."

In the season 7 premiere, Eddie’s son Christopher (Gavin McHugh) is dating, and the single dad will turn to his best friend for an assist. “It really is a moment of desperation for Eddie where he is like, ‘Oh my God, this is a new avenue that I'm not prepared for…. Who knows women? Oh, Buck does,’” says Guzman. "I found it very funny and interesting that Eddie and Buck, the two absolute worst people in relationships, are trying to give advice to Christopher."

They may not be good at them, but at the end of season 6 it seemed like things were going well for Eddie and his hardware store flirtation Marisol (Edy Ganem) and for Buck and death doula Natalia (Annelise Cepero). So how are those romances going?

“That is addressed pretty early on,” Stark teases of Buck's dating status. “He's just looking for his happiness, and he's willing to put himself out there again and be open to feeling things. He just wants to be happy.”

And Eddie — who went through a very dark period over the past two seasons — is finding happiness as well.

"Eddie's finding out who Marisol is," says Guzman. "I believe that we're going to see Eddie smiling a lot more. We're going to see less crying and crazy Eddie, and the drama and trauma that Eddie's gone through. We're going to see a little bit more of him rounding the corner and showing his funny side."

The Buddie Comedy Hour, anyone?

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