When ABC’s Seattle-set firefighter drama “Station 19” comes back Jan. 23 for its third season, viewers will see more of Seattle and more crossovers with “Grey’s Anatomy,” from which “Station 19” was spun off.
In October, the “Station 19” cast and crew made the trip up from their Los Angeles home base to film scenes that will be inserted in multiple episodes. Some of the filming took place at the real Seattle Fire Department Station 20, 2800 15th Ave., which plays the role of the show’s Station 19.
“Shooting L.A. for Seattle works occasionally,” says Krista Vernoff, the veteran “Grey’s” showrunner who is now overseeing “Station 19,” too. “But there’s nothing like a real exterior Seattle scene to bring the city to life.”
The third-season premiere features a plot that runs through “Station 19” and “Grey’s” episodes after a car crashes into Joe’s Bar, a location featured on both programs. (The interior set of Joe’s was originally built on the “Grey’s” soundstage; a duplicate has since been built on the “Station 19” stage.)
ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said there will be four “tentpole” events this season on “Station 19,” like the Joe’s Bar crash, that tell a story over two hours and revolve around big emergencies that would naturally start with first responders and then end up in the hospital.
“[‘Station 19’] is more tied to ‘Grey’s’ than it has been in the past,” Burke says. “You’ll start to see relationships emerge between characters that exist in the ‘Station’ world and the ‘Grey’s’ world in really organic ways.”
In the season premiere, “Grey’s” characters Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), Levi Schmitt (Jake Borelli) and Nico Kim (Alex Landi), among others, appear on “Station 19,” and “Station 19” regular Ben Warren (Jason George) is on “Grey’s.”
“We’ve always said we’re one big universe and now you’re seeing it, especially with this first episode where the two worlds end up in Joe’s,” says Danielle Savre, who plays Maya on “Station 19.” “It feels like every night of the show is basically a two-part episode in the ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Station 19,’ Seattle world.”
Cast members say there’s a greater emphasis on the characters and their personal lives this season, which is reflected in the scenes filmed in Seattle.
“Maya went through a tough time and somebody of importance in her life — a mentor — helps her in a situation and it happens outside the firehouse,” says Savre, who only shot one scene (likely to appear in episode five) in Seattle and was in and out of town in 24 hours.
Boris Kodjoe says his character, Robert Sullivan, will be seen in some introspective scenes — set after personal turmoil — while jogging around Lake Union.
“I do a bunch of running around Seattle with a great backdrop,” Kodjoe says, “and I’m sort of gazing onto the water, standing there trying to figure out my life.”
Jay Hayden, who plays Travis Montgomery, filmed scenes at Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center.
“Without spoiling anything, we shot inside of it and outside,” Hayden says. “There was an event that happened inside. And then there were things that happened outside. And then we shot a couple future scenes where my character goes back to those same gardens because it holds a little bit of a fond memory.”
Hayden also filmed scenes on the Seattle streets — “[producers] just love the look of it,” he says — and at the Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Occidental Park near Pioneer Square.
“It’s like one of those things where even though it’s going to be an inside emergency call, if we can show us going through Seattle and show those really picturesque, beautiful landmark spots, it means a lot,” Hayden says. “We want to be that Seattle show. And unlike ‘Grey’s,’ where they’re like, we’re in the hospital and that’s it, we’re only validated if we can show us out on the streets.”
“Station 19”: The third season premieres 8 p.m. Jan. 23 on ABC.