In the wake of national outcry after the tragic murder of an unarmed Black man, Maya brings in Dr. Diane Lewis to grief counsel the team.
At night, the station 19 crew fights a fire at an office building.
The next morning, Maya rallies the crew for the long shift ahead of them. She interrupted by the entrance of Diane Lewis, whom Maya asked her to come to help her team process the death of George Floyd. Diane says not many fire captains would treat a national crisis like an in-house tragedy. She respects Maya's opinion. She makes it clear this is not mandatory and they can come talk to her about whatever they want.
Robert vents some of his anger on the turnout room by punching an SCBA.
Maya sits down in the barn to call Carina, who immediately gives her a peptalk about her decision to bring in Diane.
Ben meets Diane in Maya's office. He asks how she can do her job. She points out he fought a fire this morning. Like him, she pushes her feelings aside and does what need to be done. She knows about Dean and his lawsuit. Ben admits it makes him uncomfortable because he did nothing but yell when the police made him lie down like an animal at a routine traffic stop. He feels like a hypocrite. He brings up his two kids, whom he's losing sleep over. He and Bailey gave the boys the talk about how to behave in front of police, but Ben yelled at his own run-in with the police. He would be upset if his boys did the same thing but at the same time, he would be proud as it would be right. Diane has three teenagers herself. Ben talks about how frustrating it is to mold these boys into men and teach them that they can accomplish anything, while at the same time teaching them that the color of their skin requires them to shrink in the presence of a police officer. Diane asks if he tells them to shrink. He does not. He tells them to stand with dignity and de-escalate. But de-escalating should be the cop's job. She agrees. She summarizes that he is mad at himself for both not doing more and less after that cop treated him that way. Dean is doing more and he wants his boys to do less. Ben is exhausted by navigating the world a sees him and his kids as a threat. Those worries are constant. If he manages to forget and just exist, there is always something in the world to remind him that he has to be careful. It steals all of his mental and emotional energy that he should be giving to his family and his health. Being Black in this country is a life-threatening condition.
Travis, Vic, and Dean are watching a news report on the Seattle protests. They are not sure if they are allowed to go since they are FD and the department is a public entity and the protests are considered anti-police. Vic scoffs that no one seems to realize that asking for their right to live is inherently anti-police is the problem.
Maya checks in with Diane, who points out Maya is grieving too. Both everything and nothing have changed for her. Maya studies fires for fun but this fire is beneath their feet, built into every foundation. They vent fires to let out smoke and gasses so they can contain it but she doesn't see how they can contain let alone extinguish this fire. Growing up, she was taught about black history and civil rights movement. She was taught they beat it. And that belief is apparently still inside her because she didn't listen to Dean and Joyce. Diane says that teaching she had is the coal that keeps the fire hot. As a kid, Diane learned about the Native American genocide and she always pictured it as one small village of Natives, which is the way the history books showed it. Even though she knew that her people had been stolen from their homes and brought to America in chains, she believed those textbooks. She was 35 when she learned that millions of people were extinguished when Columbus arrived. The ones who survived had to fight every day against a culture that wants to pretend they don't exist. We learn when we learn, and the shame about how long it can take can be useful as long it's used well. Once we know better, we have to do better. Maya talks about her father training her and teammates in off-season. He would make her do drills over and over until she would collapse. Her father would leave her there but her teammates would lie with her, silently, to give her space and to make sure she knew she wasn't alone. Her instincts tell her she has to do the same for her Black team members now. But she thinks that instinct is wrong, because unlike as a teenager, she now has the capacity to stand up against an oppressive force. She has the power to call out injustices and make sure everyone can breathe.
Robert is disinfecting his bloodied knuckles in the beanery. Dean walks in and says the protests are growing. Dean admits he's not okay. Robert doubts that he's going to talk to Diane. Dean feels the same way.
Vic joins Dean in the lounge and sees on the news that there are worldwide protests. It almost makes her hopeful. He takes her coffee from her and tells her switch to channel 17. It shows Michael Dixon giving a speech in support of all communities. His little play-act is being eaten up as a shining example of PD valor. Jack stands in the doorway as Vic and Dean criticize Dixon taking a knee to show his support for BLM. Dean says that kind of hypocritical, destructive behavior convinces him to go through with his lawsuit.
Travis is approached by Diane at the reception. He wants to let the Black firefighters talk to her first but she points out there is no line. She knows seeing all these hate crimes are tough on him too. Travis says his mother was spit on at the grocery store the day that George Floyd was murdered. A maskless woman blamed the virus on Asian people.
A distraught Nari gets in her car and wipes her head clean. She breaks down crying.
Travis says his mother told him it felt like her organs were melting because of the hot rage she felt inside. Travis remembers the things people would say to him and his family when they were out. They would just go home and never discuss it. Travis never talked about it to anyone at the station because it didn't feel appropriate. The atrocity that happened to George was so much more brutal. Diane says the notion that her racist stuff is bigger doesn't work. Diane is aware of the spike in hate crime against Asians. Travis says the media ignores it and cites some tragic examples. Travis says they can't even make a fuss when it's minor in comparison to how horrifically this country treats Black people. He watched the whole video and caught himself wondering what Asian-Americans even have to complain about. Diane tells him it is all bad. There are no winners in the Oppression Olympics. It is gaslighting if someone or he himself tells him he needs to be okay with the tragedies being inflicted to his community because worse things are happening to another.
Andy finds Robert working on hoses. She says Maya is doing her best. He refuses to sit with Diane and perform his pain so Maya can feel better. He requests a minute for himself. She walks away.
Diane turns off the news report on her tablet as Andy walks in. It has always bothered her when men say they see the world differently after they have had a daughter. But it feels the same for her now. The world changed for her when she fell in love with a Black man. She worries for him every day and has taken on the fear that he won't allow himself to feel. People would call her father awful names when she was growing up. People would ask her where she was really from when they saw her last name and teachers would be surprised upon finding out she was smart. But mostly, she got treated okay because her skin is light. She doesn't know how she feels. Andy asks if they can take a walk.
As they walk around the block, Andy talks about how much the year has been. She feels betrayed. She needed to be married to a Black man to see the whole picture. She wonders where her call for justice was before. Diane says a lot of people are waking up now and asking themselves the same question. Diane points out she has been surrounded by firefighters and cops while growing up.
Andy thinks back to a barbecue with cops and firefighters.
Andy says people used to call her Pruittita, little Pruitt. As she got older, she knew police brutality was rampant but at the same time, she didn't count the cops she knew personally into that issue. It was double-think. She never wondered why the good cops weren't calling out the bad ones. Not a single one of her father's old police friends have stepped forward to denounce the actions of the officers that murdered George Floyd. Diane's instincts as a therapist want to comfort her, but hers and everyone else's comfort has been a big part of the problem.
Maya calls Carina, who gives her a new peptalk. Maya says it's not about that. She wants to tell her team that it is okay to go a protest and she wants to join them. Carina wants to join them. Maya says things are bad between 19 and PD so the department won't like them going to a protest. She can't be officially disciplined for it, but she is on a track, and doing what she wants to do will take her off that track. Firefighters work with the police. They are their brothers, too, even though there are some bad apples. Carina looked up that idiom and the whole saying is that one bad apple ruins the whole barrel. Carina wonders why not everyone is demanding systemic change. Maya says because it will take them off of the track.
Vic asks Diane how you become a therapist. She wants to have a back-up plan that is better than waiting tables at Kaminski's in case she gets injured or allows herself to throw a brick at a police station, which will get her kicked out of FD. Diane says it requires four years of undergrad plus two years of grad school. Vic is only eight credits short of her undergrad degree of a Bachelor in Fine Arts. She studied musical theatre but she didn't finish because her theatre burned down with her favorite teacher and she couldn't bring herself to go back. Diane thinks they are talking about this because Vic is desperate to think or talk about anything but that video. She knows the feeling. Vic says she likes to fix things but they are having this fight for so long. Her grandmother used to tell her about all the sit-ins and marches she did in the '60s. But after all these movements and marches, they still have little to show for it. People are acting like this is brand new. Many white friends of her texted her under the guise of checking in. They meant well but Vic knew there was guilt behind it. She thinks these friends should be more concerned about their own feelings. As much as she couldn't fix the problem, at least she was aware of it. And for a better reason than just being stuck inside the house due to a pandemic and not being able to look away. Diane berates the way the usual suspects in the media are vilifying Floyd rather than the murder. Vic is enraged by people trying to humanize Floyd. They should care about him because he was a person regardless of him being a good man. Being a person should be enough of a reason for not being murdered.
Vic contemplates actually throwing a brick at a police station.
Vic wonders if she could get into grad school. Diane asks if she is going to throw that brick. Vic simply says she wants a back-up plan.
Jack is unsure if Diane is there for him. She's there for everyone that wants to talk, including him. Jack admits he's afraid of talking to anyone now. He's afraid of getting the words wrong. He knows he's not a racist. Diane points out "I'm not racist" is the club slogan of racists, because they live in a culture built on white supremacy. They can't undo the racism built into it until they name and own it. Jack says he's damned either way. Cops taking a knee or joining the protests are called hypocrites. Dixon is a racist for sure, but it can't be like that across the board. As Jack sees Diane twice a month, she knows he likes her and her way of telling things like they are. She knows what he means when he says he is not a racist and she believes that he does not have hate in his heart. But he's not damned, not even in the least. He's blessed as hell. She knows he grew up on the streets in the system and she is not diminishing that hardship. Jack knows he's privileged because he's white.
He thinks back to being chased by the cops as a kid.
Jack tells her about the time he was squatting after his last foster home. A few of them would hunker down and make a place for themselves, out of the system. Eventually, the cops would find them and they would run. Not once did he think being caught would lead to him being killed. He knows some of his friends back then did experience that fear. He watched the video and what the cops did to Dean. He wants to blow up the world. But they are firefighters and they need the cops and vice versa. They can't overnight decide that the whole institution is evil. Some good guys stayed silent, which makes them bad, but they are not actually all bad. They are individuals. Jack feels like he is not allowed to say that. He's afraid to say anything. Diane was a firefighter herself and she has cop buddies too. But those buddies are not the point. She asks him about the 13th Amendment. He says it abolished slavery. She adds except as a punishment for a crime. That is still the law today. She then tells him 34% of the prison population is Black while Black people only make up 13% of this country's population. She knows he's thinking that is because more Black people are poor and therefore resort to crime and thus get arrested. She then asks Jack if he ever committed crimes while out on the street. He has committed many. But never did he go to jail or have a gun pointed at him. He gets to learn from his mistakes but the same mistakes land Black people in prison, or worse. And too often, no mistakes are even necessary to be arrested or shot. That is still going on today. Not having hatred in your heart is not enough anymore. He has to dig deeper. It's okay not to know what to say. He can just listen instead.
Andy sits down with Robert at reception. He thinks she wants him to talk to Diane but she tells him to do whatever he needs to do. She briefly holds his hand and then leaves. Robert slams his fist on the desk a few times. A Black father and his two young boys knock on the door. He was hoping someone could show his boys around. Robert says station tours are cancelled. The father has his sons wait outside. The father says his kids watched the video on social media behind his back. His 11 year old dug out his comfort blanket from storage to sleep with it for the first time in years. His boys don't understand and he can't find any honest words to explain it to them. He saw Station 19 on the news and he wanted to show his boys good people, Black people in uniforms. Robert opens the door and lets them in just as Dean comes down the stairs.
Dean flees into Maya's office. He tries to fight back his tears as Diane watches him. She gets emotional too. They nod at one another, a deep understanding going on between them. Dean thanks her and walks out.
Robert shows the family around. Dean and Ben greet the boys from the bridge over the barn.
Diane finds Robert in the barn. He sighs. Robert says this one was different. This wasn't another Black man being shot by an officer who made a split-second fight-or-flight decision or unconscious bias. This was a murder of a defenseless, compliant Black man in broad daylight in front of all of their eyes. White people are finally realizing they aren't hysterical. They saw a white woman casually using a racist police system as a weapon. They are starting to understand that all of it renders Black people terrorized and hunted and exhausted by everyday life. Robert is tired of having to explain why he's mad and sad. He's mad for having to take a magic pause when eyeballs track him in a store or when people in life-threatening danger choose to take chances by themselves rather than be rescued by a Black firefighter. But mostly, he's scared. No matter how tired or mad or sad he is, there is nothing he can say to change peoples' mind, to make them see him as a hard-working professional or loving husband. There is nothing that prevents him from being another George Floyd.
Ben is videochatting with his sons and sister. The boys want to go to the protest. Rosalind will follow Ben's lead. Tuck read that another Black trans woman was killed. He insists on marching. Ben thinks it over.
Jack finds Dean, Vic, and Travis in the beanery. He wants to join them for a protest after shift tomorrow, if they'll have him. Maya has given the all-clear. They accept. Dean says it's his job to put his body between them and an assailant if that happens.
Andy sits down with Robert on top of the engine. He was so desperate for a promotion that he was going to try and shut down Dean's lawsuit, their best shot at change. His demotion has been humbling. He's had many dark thoughts. He sometimes doubts his own goodness. Andy says no one is just good. They all learn from mistakes, which is how goodness works. It's about growth. They share a kiss.
The next morning, the crew gathers in the barn. Maya tells them all that while they have the right and her wholehearted support to peacefully protest, she trusts that they won't engage in any action that will bring discredit to themselves, 19 or the SFD. They cheer for 19 and then put on their masks before heading out.
They are joined by Carina, Ros, Tuck, and Joey outside. They join a big protest on the main street.
- Jaina Lee Ortiz as Lieutenant Andy Herrera
- Jason George as Dr. Ben Warren
- Boris Kodjoe as Robert Sullivan
- Grey Damon as Lieutenant Jack Gibson
- Barrett Doss as Victoria Hughes
- Jay Hayden as Travis Montgomery
- Okieriete Onaodowan as Dean Miller
- Danielle Savre as Captain Maya Bishop
- Stefania Spampinato as Dr. Carina DeLuca
- Tracie Thoms as Dr. Diane Lewis
- Pat Healy as Michael Dixon
- Francois Battiste as Father
- Jeanne Sakata as Nari Montgomery
- Elayn J. Taylor as Marion Hughes (credit only)
- BJ Tanner as Tuck Jones
- V. Vieux as Rosalind Warren
- Noah Alexander Gerry as Joey
- Jakari Fraser as Corey
- Emanuel Christopher as Donique
- Lalia Susini as Young Andy
- Walker Bryant as Young Jack
- Sahjanan Nasser as Young Vic (credit only)
Station 19 fought a large structure fire, including evacuating people.
|"Bring It On"||Zoi feat. Joe Coleman||
|"Jack and Diane"||Cast (Tracie Thoms)||
|"I See America"||Joy Oladokun||
Notes and Trivia
- This episode scored 4.47 million viewers.
- This episode was produced as the fourteenth episode of the season, but aired as the twelfth.
- This is the second episode of Station 19 to share a title with a Grey's Anatomy episode, the first one being Shock to the System. Dream a Little Dream of Me technically also corresponds to the two-part Grey's Anatomy episode but the official title of those two episodes includes "Part 1" or "Part 2".
- This episode ended with a card that read: In Honor of George Floyd, the writer of this episode donated her script fee to the Color of Change Education Fund. The experiences and perspectives of the following people informed and enriched this episode.
- Brian Anthony
- Paris Barclay
- Martin Castillo
- Emily Culver
- Grey Damon
- Emmylou Diaz
- Kiley Donovan
- Barrett Doss
- Alexandra Fernandez
- Tyrone Finch
- Sam Forman
- Kasha Foster
- Shalisha Francis-Feusner
- Jason George
- Jay Hayden
- Benjamin Hayes
- Daniel K. Hoh
- Boris Kodjoe
- Okieriete Onaodowan
- Jaina Lee Ortiz
- Meghann Plunkett
- Gabrielle Ruiz
- Danielle Savre
- Zaiver Sinnett
- Stefania Spampinato
- Rochelle Zimmerman
- Elayn J. Taylor is credited for this episode, but doesn't appear in the aired version, indicating that her scenes were likely cut.
- Diane sings John Mellencamp's "Jack & Diane" to Jack, a throwback to when he did the same to her during her previous visit.
Behind the Scenes
A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.
|Station 19 Season 4|
|#01||"Nothing Seems the Same"||#07||"Learning to Fly"||#13||"I Guess I'm Floating"|
|#02||"Wild World"||#08||"Make No Mistake, He's Mine"||#14||"Comfortably Numb"|
|#03||"We Are Family"||#09||"No One is Alone"||#15||"Say Her Name"|
|#04||"Don't Look Back in Anger"||#10||"Save Yourself"||#16||"Forever and Ever, Amen"|
|#05||"Out of Control"||#11||"Here It Comes Again"|
|#06||"Train in Vain"||#12||"Get Up, Stand Up"|
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