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John Brotherton Talks 9-1-1 Role As Tim Nash & Bobby’s Relationship With His Father


Little has been known about Bobby Nash’s upbringing, as the series has chosen to keep that information close to the vest.

But that all changed during 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8, a captivating and engaging hour of television, which pushed Bobby to the forefront as he sought to make amends for the apartment fire in Minnesota and soon found himself in a battle for survival in the merciless desert.

The episode was interspersed with flashbacks from Bobby’s childhood, small snippets of a life in Minnesota, which got increasingly volatile and dangerous as his firefighter captain and role model father, Tim Nash, descended into his addiction.

John Brotherton At MUAHS Awards

Fuller House alum John Brotherton joins the series in a guest-starring role as Tim, a troubled man who slowly lost everything he seemingly once held dear outside of Bobby, who stood steadfastly by his side.

But even their dynamic deteriorated as his addiction worsened, and Bobby’s life was forever changed by this pivotal period in his adolescence.

We spoke with John about stepping into Tim Nash’s shoes and joining the 9-1-1 family, and he was a pleasure to talk with. He was full of charm and deep insight into Tim’s journey throughout the hour and much more.

Enjoy this conversation, 9-1-1 fanatics!

Desert Bound - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

How are you, John?

I’m good. How are you doing?

I’m great, thanks. Excited to talk to you. I want to say quickly that The Conjuring is one of my favorite movies.

Oh, thank you so much. That means so much to me.

The funny thing about that, to tie the two together, is that’s the only other job I’ve had a mustache for, so it brought me back for sure. Because it was 1973 in The Conjuring, and then this episode is 1981, so it just made sense to bust the mustache out.

It works. It fits the times definitely.

I very much look like my dad.

John Brotherton from The Christmas Contest

Getting into the episode, how familiar were you with 9-1-1 before you booked the role?

To be totally honest, not familiar. I probably don’t watch enough television, being that I’m in television, and I haven’t been watching network television. We had cut the cable for a while.

It was more like watching some things on streamers. So, I hadn’t been familiar with it, but I’ve noticed, since working on it, how many people love this show.

And when I bring it up to anyone from family back home to people around here, people love this show, and I hear the numbers are crazy, which is so cool because it was such a great group, and Peter Krause, I’ve been a fan of for so long.

Dirty Sexy Money’s one of my favorite shows that ever was.

Frankly, it was ahead of its time. And so I wasn’t necessarily familiar enough with it, but I fell in love with everyone right away.

When you booked the role and were talking it over, I’m assuming with Tim Minear or the powers that be, did you get into any of the backstory of Tim Nash and where he came from to the man we meet in this episode?

Bobby Looks To Make Amends - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

It all came at us quickly. The thing that was fun was that it was almost like we shot a little independent movie because it was its own time. I remember many of the crew commenting on that because it was a totally different cast and location.

So it was like this fresh little moment in time we shot — my amazing makeup artist.

My makeup in this is really cool. It’s kind of part of telling the story. Suzy was saying, “It’s fun; it felt like we were away at camp because we went and did a little independent movie as a break between our show.”

The backstory goes back to 1980 when he was at the end of his marriage. His life is spiraling even though he’s a hero. This, to me, is such a classic story because often, it is the hero who is weighted down with the demons.

And so here’s this guy who has the perfect family and the perfect job and is up getting the medals and all that, but his inner demons get a hold of him, and he spirals in the worst kind of way, ruins everything, and then in front of his son, ruins his life.

Then, it shows the domino effect that can have on lives through generations.

And it can go both ways. You can also break the abuse. But it just shows what can happen. One scar in time can affect generations ahead.

Examining The Wound - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

Yeah, and I love that you brought that up because that goes into my next question. You see Tim through the flashbacks get worse and worse and deteriorate into his addiction.

The first little flashback after he got the medal and went home was interesting; they were having that party, and Bobby gave him that scrapbook. He seems awed but also hesitant about the hero label.

Do you think Tim considered himself a hero?

It’s funny you say that. I don’t want to get too heavy, but this storyline’s very close to me, and I’ve seen it firsthand: the hiding. It’s really easy to be a hero in front of other people and to other people, but not be a hero to yourself.

And so there are those people out there that we all go, “Man, their potential or if they only knew how wonderful they were,” but inside, they’re crumbling. And I think Tim is that kind of person. I don’t think he’s terribly comfortable.

Yes, is he the guy who would run into a burning building and go save a family? Absolutely. Does he have that kind of hero syndrome? For sure.

But does that make him a great functioning human being and father? No, those are different qualities. I don’t think he had the coping skills as a human, and I’ve just seen it firsthand.

So I tried to parallel the experiences I’ve seen in my life, where a human is the one that you would send into battle. The first person you would call often is not the one who’s totally okay upstairs. And Tim’s a perfect example of that.

Desert Bobby - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

Is there a certain head-space you have to get into when you’re going into a role like this where it gets dark at times? It’s intense, especially the flashbacks as they go on.

I don’t want to get too dark, but it was very familiar to me, and I just leaned into that.

And to be honest, I think you wouldn’t find too many humans that haven’t been impacted in some way by addiction, whether it’s family or friends or whatever. And so it is very real to me.

And this was something I could just fall into by kind of being in the state of mind that I remember so closely in my heart, and that sort of pain.

So, in that regard, I don’t want to say it was easy because it was dark, but the feelings were real, and they were at my fingertips, having experienced very similar things.

What do you hope this storyline does for Bobby? And what do you hope this character brings to the show?

Man, it’s a combo of things because, in a way, there should be a sense of relief almost. And I know that sounds weird, but people carry such guilt from other people’s problems or trying to save another human being.

I tried in my life to save another human being, and sometimes, letting go of that is freeing.

And there was nothing that Bobby could have ever done to save his father. And whether his father expressed it or not, his father loved him to death.

He just couldn’t express it. He had moments where reality would come crashing in, like when his son had to call and cover for him on the phone.

Bobby Helps - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

Moments like, “Wow, I’m putting my son through these moments because of my problems.”

So I think fast forward to now; hopefully, there’s a graduation of guilt where you can recognize the past and go, “Ah, maybe that’s the source of my problems,” but also let go at the same time a little bit. And that can be freeing. I hope, anyway.

What do you think Tim would’ve thought about Bobby’s life, how it turned out, and his role in it?

Well, it’s funny. Had he lived, who knows if Bobby would have the issues that he has.

It’s almost like a parallel show. It’d be like a cool; I hate to say spinoff, but what would’ve happened had his father truly just been a hero in this man’s life?

Would he have ever battled addiction? Would that have ever led to him losing his family? Would all those dominoes have happened had it not been for that fateful night when his father overdid it?

Bobby Steps In - 9-1-1 Season 7 Episode 8

So I think, of course, Tim would have a horrible guilt.

If he had lived through it, things would be different. So I don’t think he would’ve seen the lens of the tragedies that happened in Bobby’s life that, unfortunately, were sort of a triple-down of Tim.

Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. I appreciate it. I enjoyed your work in the episode.

Thank you, my pleasure. This show is a joy.

***This interview has been edited for length and clarity.***

9-1-1 airs on Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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