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9-1-1’s Oliver Stark Says Buck ‘Doesn’t Quite Understand’ His ‘Jealousy’ of Eddie (Exclusive)

Oliver Stark says his character, Evan “Buck” Buckley, will use his bond with best friend Eddie Diaz to figure out his emotions in 9-1-1 season 7.

As the ABC series approaches its 100th episode, which is set to air on Thursday, April 4, Buck is on a mission to find his happiness. It’s an arc that has been a through line of the character since the show premiered in 2018, but episode 100, titled “Buck, Bothered and Bewildered,” may be a giant step forward.

The episode’s synopsis, released earlier this week, teases, “Buck grows envious when Eddie forms a close bond with someone else.” Promotional images for the episode seemingly show Buck looking frustrated by Eddie’s (Ryan Guzman) new friendship with Tommy (Lou Ferrigno Jr.). The pictures led some fans to question why Buck would be angry Eddie has made a new pal, especially when their dynamic has been solid since the duo met in season 2.

“I think it’s almost a feeling of searching or uneasiness, not necessarily with Eddie, but within himself,” Stark, 32, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting season 7. “And it’s easier sometimes to put that onto somebody else than have to do the self-reflection and self-interrogation of, ‘Hey, what am I actually feeling here?’”

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Stark noted that the way Buck’s “searching” will manifest is through his longstanding friendship with Eddie, but there’s much more under the surface.

9 1 1 s Oliver Stark Says Buck Doesn t Quite Understand What He s Feeling With His Eddie and Tommy Envy in Episode 100 007
Oliver Stark, Ryan Guzman. Disney (2) ; FOX / Justin Stephens

“I think once you watch the episode, you actually realize it’s not necessarily that he just doesn’t quite understand what he’s feeling,” he said. “And this jealousy [with Eddie] is the way that it manifests itself, but it’s not necessarily the root cause of his unease.”

What exactly causes the “unease” remains to be seen as viewers eagerly await episode 100, but Stark confessed he felt a sense of responsibility in bringing the story line to life — especially during such a major milestone for the show.

Ryan Guzman and Oliver Stark 911 TV Couples We Need Together in 2024
Jack Zeman / FOX

“There is certainly a lovely Buck story somewhat at the center of [episode 100],” he explained. “So it’s exciting for me. And anytime, as you say, your name is in the title, you always think, ‘All right, I really want to do this episode proud.’”

9-1-1, however, is known for its incredible ensemble, and Stark noted that the whole cast will get their “their moments to shine.”

Buck’s journey, meanwhile, will extend beyond episode 100 and continue throughout season 7. Stark shared that although his character has seen plenty of growth throughout the years, his struggle is one that is universally relatable: you don’t know what is “missing until you have light shined on it.”

9 1 1 s Oliver Stark Says Buck Doesn t Quite Understand What He s Feeling With His Eddie and Tommy Envy in Episode 100 006
Disney/Mike Taing

“And I think that’s kind of the story that we’re able to start to tell here, is that Buck isn’t consciously aware of the thing that he’s looking for or what’s lacking in his life,” Stark shared with Us. “And as he hopefully starts to discover that it’s this cathartic, liberating feeling of just being able to ease into it and breathe out this big sigh of relief at last.”

Stark didn’t specify what Buck figures out he ultimately needs, but his life seems to be full with a job he enjoys, coworkers and friends he loves, a close bond with his sister and even a now-mended relationship with his once-estranged parents. One thing he hasn’t been able to find, however, is a long-term romantic partner.

Stark, for his part, has ideas about what the person would have to exude in order to be the right match.

“I like to think it’s somebody that can challenge him, but I think maybe somebody where it’s not too easy for him,” he told Us. “I look back at all his past relationships, and even though he hasn’t necessarily been the one to end them at the beginning, it’s always kind of been pretty easy and smooth sailing for Buck. He’s kind of had a crush, got the person.”

Stark said he’d enjoy seeing Buck “struggle” and “bumble” for a bit before winning over his next love interest. “Where it doesn’t quite always go to plan and he has to work a little bit harder to earn,” she said with a smirk, before correcting himself. “Maybe ‘earn’ is not the healthiest word to use in that sense, but he has to put some work in.”

Buck may be a heartthrob, but he’s also an open book — his vulnerability is something rarely seen on TV with male characters who occupy stereotypically “macho” type jobs. That softness is something Stark enjoys about the role, and something he intentionally brings to his performance.

Disney/Chris Willard

“As an actor, I think the parts that we play are opportunities to explore parts of ourselves that we don’t always tap into in my life,” he said, sharing that there are times in his own life that he’s “a little bit more hard-shelled” than he’d like. “So it’s really lovely to have this almost this excuse to embrace that side of yourself.”

Stark described Buck as a “golden retriever” or “labrador” type, agreeing with Us that he is someone who is “not just heart first” but “heart always.”

“That’s definitely something I’m conscious of and intent on and really love about getting to play him,” he said.

There are plenty of things to be excited about behind the scenes of 9-1-1 too, including the show’s move to ABC after being canceled by Fox last year and Tim Minear’s return as showrunner. Stark confirmed that the changes have been energizing for the cast and crew.

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“We have ABC’s excitement filtering down to us … We have Tim back writing the show and his excitement to be back,” Stark told Us. “So there are some new elements brought into the show that seem really excited to be there. And I think on my side and other cast and crew side, it will be difficult to not feel that excitement and share in it.”

“There definitely is a feeling of being reinvigorated by it,” he added, “and we’re just excited to be here.”

New episodes of 9-1-1 season 7 air on ABC Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET

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