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Who Plays Daniel Buckley on ‘9-1-1’? The Surprise Cameos From “In Another Life” Explained
By Nicole Gallucci,
The 9-1-1 episode fans have been anxiously awaiting for the past week has finally arrived, and on top of answering the burning question “Did Buck die?” it features an unexpected cameo and the terrifying return of an old character.
A few minutes into Season 6, Episode 11, “In Another Life,” Buck (Oliver Stark) opens his eyes in the hospital and for a moment, everything seems OK, but there’s a catch. He’s not waking up in reality. The doctors put him into a medically-induced coma, so the Buck we see waking up actually exits in real Buck’s coma dream. As Coma Buck opens his eyes, a doctor greets him with a chipper, “Oh. Good to see you’re awake!” and explains that Buck fell off a ladder and hit his head, but has a clean bill of health. When Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) arrives and refers to Buck as the doctor’s “little brother,” Buck notices the physician’s name tag reads “Daniel Buckley,” aka Buck and Maddie’s older brother who died of cancer shortly after Buck was born.
Buck had no clue Daniel existed until Season 4, when he finally learned his parents had him in hopes that his bone marrow could save Daniel’s life. Sadly, the transplant was unsuccessful and Daniel died. And after learning why he had such a complex relationship with his parents growing up, Buck started to feel like he only came into the world to be used for “spare parts.” Ahead of Buck’s lightning strike in Season 6, Episode 10, he was finally bonding with his parents and even took a moment to ask Maddie what she thought life would be like if Daniel was still alive, foreshadowing the coma dream.
“We’re kind of playing with two timelines [in Episode 11],” executive producer Kristen Reidel told TV Insider. “We have our real-world story in which Buck is in a coma, and then we do half the episode in Buck’s head — or actually more than half, honestly — and we see this crazy, is it an alternate reality? Is it a coma dream? The audience can be the judge. But we see a sort of idealized universe in which where Buck’s brother Daniel never died and the ways in which his life changed because of that. It’s pretty fun to see the ways, big and small, that the world changed because Daniel lived.”
So who plays adult Daniel Buckley on 9-1-1 Season 6, Episode 11? And what other characters return in 9-1-1‘s “In Another Life?” Read on for all the surprise cameos, explained.
Who Plays Daniel Buckley on 9-1-1? Mad Men Star Aaron Staton Cameos
In 9-1-1 Season 6, Episode 11, Daniel Buckley is played by Aaron Staton, a 42-year-old actor best known for his role as Ken Cosgrove on Mad Men. Per IMDb, Staton kickstarted his on-screen career on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2005 and went on to appear in other popular TV series and films, including 7th Heaven, The Nanny Diaries, The Good Wife, Ray Donovan, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Narcos: Mexico, Castle Rock, Big Sky, and more. Staton is also known as Cole Phelps in the video game L.A. Noire.
Who Else Comes Back for 9-1-1 Season 6, Episode 11?
“In Another Life” also reunites viewers with fan-favorite character Carla Price (Cocoa Brown) when Buck realizes if he hadn’t become a firefighter, Eddie would have lost custody of Christopher (Gavin McHugh) because he never would have met Carla.
Sadly, not every cameo in the episode is a character fans loves, let alone likes. Maddie’s abusive ex-husband Doug Kendall (Brian Hallisay) gives fans a jump scare when he returns from the dead to cameo in Buck’s coma dream. After his introduction in the Season 2 premiere, Doug kidnapped Maddie later in the season and she finally killed him and escaped in Season 2, Episode 13.
Buck’s coma dream suggests that if Buck never became a firefighter, Maddie would still be in her abusive marriage with Doug, she never would have met Chimney, and she would have a fully different daughter called Genevieve. Chaos! We’re glad Buck is back to life as a fully conscious firefighter by the end of the episode, even if it means he has to be in a world without Daniel.
New episodes of 9-1-1 air Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. Episodes are available for next-day streaming on Hulu.