Three weeks prior to “Desperate Measures” airing, Jennifer Love Hewitt posted to her Instagram account that she gave birth to a child. Maddie’s departure in “Desperate Measures,” then, essentially doubles as time off for Hewitt to take care of her newborn baby.
Thankfully for fans of “9-1-1,” showrunner Tim Minear told TVLine prior to the Season 5 premiere that Maddie’s struggle with her mental health — which was more-or-less the in-fiction reason for her departure — is “a story that I don’t want to give short shrift to. It will end up creating a major complication for Season 5.” At the very least, then, Minear seems to have plans for Maddie’s storyline, quite possibly even after her sudden retreat.
As noted in a writeup on Newsweek, Hewitt is credited as a cast member in the next two episodes of “9-1-1,” though given Maddie’s departure, this is most likely a formality rather than an indication that she’ll be making a surprise return. Nevertheless, it’s evidence that Hewitt’s tenure on “9-1-1” isn’t over, given that an out-and-out departure would likely mean a removal of her name from the series’ credits altogether. It’s quite possible, then, that Hewitt will return at a later date, both given Minear’s plans for Maddie’s storyline and the fact that she remains a credited cast member.
The next episode of “9-1-1,” which will deal with some of the fallout from Maddie’s departure, airs on October 11.