- 1 History
- 2 Personality
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Career
- 5 Notes and Trivia
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Notable Episodes
- 8 Memorable Quotes
- 9 Appearances
- 10 References
Due to his parents' jobs, Robert was raised mostly by his German grandfather, who he was very close to until the age of 12. When he was 12, he learned that his grandfather had been a Nazi during WWII. His grandfather tried to justify his actions, and it quickly became clear to Robert that his grandfather's only regret was that Robert found out. He told Andy and Pruitt that he lived in that house for another six years, but that day was the last time he ever talked to his grandfather again. At the age of sixteen, Robert's parents died in a plane crash. He was a Marine and went on a tour to Iraq. He saw other Marines work with Belgian Malinois there, and is very scared of them.
On his wife, Claire's, birthday, Robert was with his friend, Lucas Ripley, responded to a call about a car accident. When they arrived on the scene, Robert recognized his wife's car as one that was involved in the accident. They rushed to her aid, but despite their efforts, she died while Lucas was working on her. Robert blamed him and it ruined their friendship.
Working at the Seattle Fire Academy
During Jack and Dean's training, they got into a fight and were sent to see Sullivan. He told them he didn't care if they liked each other, but he did care how well they did the job or they wouldn't make it through the academy.
Captain of Station 19
After Pruitt Herrera was forced to step down due to his health, Robert was named the new captain of Station 19 after a few months of selection. He said he wanted to start with uniform inspection, before the shift even started.
The team slowly adjusted to having Sullivan in charge. They were disturbed by the fact that he never shared meals with them and disliked that he was so strict about things such as missing buttons on uniforms. When they were called to help rescue Max Forrester, he had Andy drive as they made their way to find him in the storm drain. He was angered when Andy impulsively jumped into the drain against his orders and told her to be silent for the rest of the call. They reached the final place where they could possibly find Max and found it to be a much smaller entrance than they expected. Andy suggested using the jackhammer to open it up, but they learned there was a gas line near it, which made it too risky. Out of options, Jack then suggested sending down a loop for Max to grab and wrap around himself. They lowered the loop, but Max was scared to grab it. With help him his Dad, they were able to convince him to grab the loop and he was lifted to safety.
Station 19 was called to the apartment of Evelyn after her downstairs neighbors were worried about her after her floor started collapsing into their apartment and she didn't answer her phone. When they heard creaking behind her door, they broke the lock, which showed that there were stacks of things filling her apartment, which was compromising the floor. They heard Evelyn calling out for help, but weren't able to get in because forcing the door open more could cause them to fall and cause more damage. Sullivan sent Dean to get support beams and Travis and Vic to evacuate the floor below them just in case. Evelyn said she had fallen and was having a hard time catching her breath. She'd recently had heart surgery. Andy wanted to wait for the structural engineers, but Sullivan said one person needed to go in. He wanted Ben to go in, but asked for Maya's input. Maya suggested sending in Andy instead, because she's lighter and has more experience. When Andy reached Evelyn and gave a report on her status, Ben talked her through doing draining the blood around Evelyn's heart. Andy then put her on the stretcher and got her out. The floor started to crack more as Andy went to leave and Sullivan pulled her to safety as the floor collapsed beneath her. Andy was upset to know that if she'd had her way and they waited for the engineers, Evelyn would have died.
Seeing that the whole team was good, but at the same things, Sullivan decided to assign each of them a specialty to learn. He assigned Dean to water rescue, Maya to incident operations, Vic to crisis management, Jack to tactical force training, Ben to hazmat training, Travis to urban rescue, and Andy to recruitment. He later explained to Andy, who disliked her assignment, that he picked her to do recruitment because she's the most passionate about the job and that shows when she talks to people about it.
Station 19 was called out to a structure fire. When they arrived, they started a perimeter sweep to see if anyone might be inside and prepared to start fighting the fire. When Maya learned that the hydrant was dry because the building was scheduled for demolition, she suggested that once they cleared the building, they could use the water in the engine to drown the surrounding buildings and let it burn. Jack then saw signs that there were squatters inside. Just then a kid came out of the building with Zoe. He was handed off to be seen and Zoe tried to re-enter the building. Andy stopped her, saying she needed to be treated, too, but Zoe said there were five more kids inside. They found Sean and he was evacuated and treated. Andy then noticed a sprinkler system and said they needed to locate the valve. Zoe thought she knew where it was and showed Andy the way to it. Andy reached the valve just as Travis and Ben noticed that what was coming out of the sprinklers was flammable. She didn't get the warning in time and turned on the sprinklers, which caused fire to engulf the building. Dean and Vic ended up trapped with two kids and Andy ended up trapped with Zoe as well. Vic and Dean shared their oxygen with the kids until an exit was made and they were able to evacuate. Ben, Travis, and Andy remained trapped. Water was then finally available and they doused the building as quickly as they could. Everyone was evacuated and treated for smoke inhalation.
Sullivan oversaw a training given by station 19 firefighters for police officers on the anniversary of his wife's death. During the training, he saw Maya and Jack joking around and called Maya out for making it a joke. They went back to the training, but when he felt she wasn't taking it seriously, he called her out again until Andy defended her. Ripley then put a stop to it and told Robert to go home for the rest of the shift.
In order to mend things with his team, Sullivan enlisted the help of Pruitt, who suggested he find the person who's the heart of the team and get their help with the rest of the team. Sullivan took this to be Andy and asked her to sit with him sometime when they weren't working and help him earn the team's respect.
Sullivan took Pruitt's advice and approached Andy for help. They got a coffee and she suggested that he join them for meals and share about his life to bond with the team.
Windstorm and Leg Injury
During the windstorm, the team was called in when B shift became stranded. At the station, they went over storm protocols and gathered extra supplies to be ready. Sullivan and Andy went on the first call out. They went to the scene, where they found a car that had been hit by another car that then drove off. Unbeknownst to Andy, it was on the same stretch of road where Sullivan's wife had died. In the car, they found Shannon, who said she was trying to escape the storm when she was hit. Her leg was broken, so they splinted it, but because of the high winds, they had difficulty wrapping her leg, so they moved her into the Aid Car. As they worked, Shannon asked if one of them could get her purse out of her car, as it had a necklace her grandmother gave her. Sullivan retrieved it for her. They were able to stabilize her leg, but the radios weren't working because of the storm, so they were unable to get advice from dispatch on where to take her and Sullivan wanted to wait for the all clear before leaving. However, when they noticed the wind was starting to move the Aid Car, they knew they needed to get out of there. They tried, but the Aid Car was blown off the edge of a cliff.
Andy and Sullivan woke up in the aid car. Shannon was also awake, but Sullivan was trapped under the collapsed dashboard. Andy got him freed and he planned to go for help, but he wasn't able to move or feel his legs. Andy got him on a backboard and tried to reassure him as she treated both him and Shannon. She then put out a small fire on the Aid Car to keep them safer. Andy stayed in the back with them and continued to monitor them. Shannon coded, but Andy was able to resuscitate. After she was in sinus rhythm again, Andy decided she needed to leave the Aid Car to set off the flares. Only one was still viable, so she took it and left the rig. She made the difficult climb up and set out the flare. While Andy was on her way back, Shannon coded again. Despite risk of paralysis, Sullivan unstrapped himself from the backboard and tried to reach the defibrillator. When he couldn't, he attempted a precordial thump. When Andy returned, she started compressions, but she was unable to resuscitate and Shannon died. Soon after, they were found and rescued by the team.
Four months later, he was still recovering and could only walk with the help of a cane. He left rehab for an hour to attend the party celebrating Andy's Medal of Valor.
After months of rehab, Sullivan was finally ready to go back to work. He met with Pruitt, who had acted as interim captain, and received reports from Pruitt. Pruitt criticized him for missing Jack's PTSD and not seeing that regular drop-ins weren't coming in anymore. This inspired Sullivan to take Ben and Jack for a wellness check on a drop-in Pruitt specifically mentioned. They went to his house and did an exam. He revealed that Sullivan was the reason he stopped checking in. His car was busted, leaving him unable to pick up his medications. Ben then heard regurgitation in his heart. He didn't want to go to the hospital, but he collapsed trying to fight them off. Sullivan distracted him with a game of chess as they worked to get him stable while they waited for an aid car. He stabilized, then checkmated Sullivan. After they sent him to the hospital, they remembered that he mentioned his car wasn't working, so they went to his garage and fixed it.
Ben, Dean, and Travis had planned to work together to repaint Travis's place. As they prepared to leave, Sullivan talked his way into an invitation to join them. With Sullivan there, they painted in virtual silence. When Sullivan started dancing while painting, they were disturbed, but he explained that when a month ago, you couldn't move your legs, you dance when a song comes on that makes you want to dance. The rest of them started to dance as well.
One day, an RV crashed into the side of station 19. Andy was surprised to see a young girl climb out of the driver's seat. Ellie said her mother was shaking and wouldn't stop, so she tried to hit the brake, but hit the accelerator instead. Maya and Ben found her mother inside still seizing. To prevent further damage to the building, Travis disconnected the fuel in the vehicle. Then they worked to expand the exit to get Ellie's mother out. They freed her, but struggled to get her to stop seizing. While they worked on her, Andy took Ellie to the conference room to talk to her and keep her calm. As her mom was ready to be moved, she said she didn't want to go to the hospital with her because she felt she was always messing things up. Shortly afterward, she collapsed from low blood sugar. She was given glucose and quickly woke up, but still worried about her mom having another seizure and her not being able to help. Andy then sent Ellie to the hospital to be with her mom, while they dealt with the damage to the station caused by the crash and subsequent explosion.
Ripley's Hospitalization and Death
When Ripley passed out on a sidewalk and was taken to the hospital, Sullivan, Ben, and Andy came to the hospital to check on his condition. Andy and Ben were surprised to learn that he'd been buying flowers for Vic when he passed out. After being banished from his room, they waited in the hospital waiting area. They were shocked when his lab results came back, showing his condition was much worse than previously believed and he had fled the hospital in search of Vic.
Promotion to Battalion Chief and Opioid Addiction
After the ambulance accident, and his leg injury, Dr. Koracick informed him that he was going to have chronic pain. He refused surgery because it had a 50/50 chance of working and was $40,000. So he convinced Koracick to prescribe one more dose of opioids. While Ben was checking the meds for the aid car, Sullivan offered to help. While he was checking the Fentanyl doses, he hides two in his pocket. In a later scene he is shown acting odd while talking to Ben, and had fallen asleep in his office.
Robert was happily married until his wife’s death. She was involved in a car accident. Robert and Lucas were the first responders at the scene of her accident, but despite their efforts, she died. Since then, he changed into a completely different person and continues to blame himself for his wife’s death for being unable to save her. Their first date was to a roller rink, because she loved roller skating.
When they first met, Robert and Andy weren't on the best of terms, but two near-death experiences brought them together; surviving the Aid Car tumbling off a cliff, and a wave of fire in California. When they finally gave into the attraction between them, Sullivan suddenly stopped, which upset Andy, who didn't know he stopped because his leg had gone numb. After a little back and forth, they finally got together and told Pruitt they were a couple over lunch. They remained in a secret relationship and even got married in a small ceremony with only Pruitt attending, as his cancer was back and he was dying. After his death, falling through a roof he was venting, Sullivan took care of his wife while she grieved her father. He told her that both his parents were dead, and Andy replied that "we're all we have". When Andy returned to work and Ben confronted Sullivan about the stolen drugs from the PRT car, Sullivan was forced to confess to both Ben and Dixon about his marriage. Later that night, they confessed their relationship at a party at the station, much to the surprise of their co-workers.
Unfortunately, they separated for a while due to Sullivan’s status at a recovering addict. Amelia Shepherd suggested they take a 90-day break to help with his sobriety. Both Sullivan and Andy found it difficult to be apart, and almost slipped up more than once. Andy almost didn't attend Robert's court case regarding him stealing drugs from the PRT. After a discussion with his sponsor, Richard Webber, he decided to reconnect with his wife. He and Andy are seen dancing to music in the beanery and share a kiss. Later, they have sex on the floor of Sullivan's old office, which doesn't seem to bother him at all.
When both Sullivan and Dean are arrested after rescuing two girls from inside a man's house, Andy is devastated. When Sullivan emerges from the police station, Andy can be seen running to hug her husband. During grief counselling, Andy mentions how she fell in love with a Black man, and that she "takes on the pain he [Sullivan] doesn’t allow himself to feel.”
Robert has known Lucas for years since his earlier years as a firefighter. They were best friends until the death of his wife, which Robert blamed on Lucas.
Later they worked to reconcile with one another. When Lucas was on his deathbed, Robert offered to visit with him first, when Vic wasn't brave enough. Robert didn't want to say goodbye, so instead told him "we're good"
Upon his appointment as Captain, Sullivan immediately indicated to Maya that he expected her to submit an application for lieutenant. When she said she had, he said he looked forward to reviewing it.
Later, at a fire at a storage unit, Robert went against Captain Bishop's request for him to stay behind and take in charge outside the storage unit fire. He continued to put on his gear and did not answer her, going against protocol to go inside alone and save his wife.
Robert was a Battalion Chief for the Seattle Fire Department. He oversaw about five fire stations, including SFD Station 19. However after he overdosed on fentanyl and had a court case regarding whether or not he should be allowed to continue working for the SFD, he was demoted back to his original firefighter rank.
In the past, he was an instructor at the fire academy in Seattle. He moved to Montana to be a Captain after he lost his wife in Seattle. When he moved back to Seattle, he became the new captain of Station 19, replacing Pruitt Herrera when it was decided none of the Lieutenants would get the job.
Notes and Trivia
- He was a Marine who was stationed in Iraq. He is afraid of Belgian Malinois because they used that breed over there and he saw them do unspeakable things to other people.
- He speaks 6 different languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Farsi, and German.
- German is his first language 
- He wasn't born in Seattle, but has lived there most of his adult life.
- One of his first assignments was incident operations.
- He considers making smoothies to be a hobby.
- He was a scout sniper while stationed in Iraq.
- He can salsa dance.
- His grandfather was a Nazi.
- He was his high school's valedictorian.
A more complete gallery with pictures of Robert Sullivan can be found here.
These episodes are Robert-centric or are otherwise very informative about his life:
|Grey's Anatomy, Season 15|
|#01||"With a Wonder and a Wild Desire"||#10||"Help, I'm Alive"||#19||"Silent All These Years"|
|#02||"Broken Together"||#11||"The Winner Takes It All"||#20||"The Whole Package"|
|#03||"Gut Feeling"||#12||"Girlfriend in a Coma"||#21||"Good Shepherd"|
|#04||"Momma Knows Best"||#13||"I Walk the Line"||#22||"Head Over High Heels"|
|#05||"Everyday Angel"||#14||"I Want a New Drug"||#23||"What I Did for Love"|
|#06||"Flowers Grow Out of My Grave"||#15||"We Didn't Start the Fire"||#24||"Drawn to the Blood"|
|#07||"Anybody Have a Map?"||#16||"Blood and Water"||#25||"Jump Into the Fog"|
|#08||"Blowin' in the Wind"||#17||"And Dream of Sheep"|
|#09||"Shelter from the Storm"||#18||"Add It Up"|
|Station 19, Season 2|
|#01||"No Recovery"||#07||"Weather the Storm"||#13||"The Dark Night"|
|#02||"Under the Surface"||#08||"Crash and Burn"||#14||"Friendly Fire"|
|#03||"Home To Hold Onto"||#09||"I Fought the Law"||#15||"Always Ready"|
|#04||"Lost and Found"||#10||"Crazy Train"||#16||"For Whom the Bell Tolls"|
|#05||"Do a Little Harm..."||#11||"Baby Boom"||#17||"Into the Wildfire"|
|#06||"Last Day on Earth"||#12||"When It Rains, It Pours!"|
|Station 19, Season 3|
|#01||"I Know This Bar"||#07||"Satellite of Love"||#13||"Dream a Little Dream of Me"|
|#02||"Indoor Fireworks"||#08||"Born to Run"||#14||"The Ghosts That Haunt Me"|
|#03||"Eulogy"||#09||"Poor Wandering One"||#15||"Bad Guy"|
|#04||"House Where Nobody Lives"||#10||"Something About What Happens When We Talk"||#16||"Louder Than a Bomb"|
|#05||"Into the Woods"||#11||"No Days Off"|
|#06||"Ice Ice Baby"||#12||"I'll Be Seeing You"|
|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"|