It's hard to keep up with St. Petersburg native Angela Bassett. She plays the queen of Wakanda and mother of the titular hero in probably the biggest movie of the year, Black Panther, which hits theaters this weekend, and is also promoting the upcoming summer release Mission: Impossible 6, in which she plays the director of the CIA. She made headlines just this week for talking about the racism her kids have faced. And on the small screen, she's playing LAPD Sgt. Athena Grant in Ryan Murphy's ultra-dramatic procedural 9-1-1.
And she's giving a shoutout to her hometown while doing it.
First, a little background on the show: Part family drama, part wild and intense procedural, 9-1-1 follows several first responders at home and on the job, including Connie Britton as a 911 operator with a mother suffering from Alzheimer's and Peter Krause as a fireman and recovering drug and alcohol addict. Confident and sassy as ever, Bassett plays a tough cop who responds to their scenes while at home her husband just came out of the closet and her daughter tries to commit suicide.
But back to Bassett's subtle St. Pete reference.
In the most recent episode, "Heartbreaker," her character Athena's unit number while on patrol is 727-L-30; it's how she answers her radio at several points in the episode, a chunk of which she spends unknowingly checking up on a crazed murderer. From the info we can find on such LAPD designations, the first number is supposed to be a division or station, the L designates a one-officer unit, and the final numbers should be a beat number. It appears the first numbers only go 01 to 21 in real life, so Bassett's 727 is definitely a conscious addition that doesn't have to do with her character's actual position in the context of the show.
When we asked during the show if it she was showing us some love, Bassett didn't directly say yes, but she did retweet, and Fox later confirmed to the Times that the number choice was intentional.
Perhaps a less intentional nod comes if you squint a little throughout the show. Catch a glimpse of Athena's badge, which bears the number "1275" — which given the font, looks an awful lot like I-275.
This isn't the first time the Boca Ciega alum has given her hometown some love, as in 2016 she talked extensively on Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcast about growing up in the 727 area, including going to school at Hamilton Disston School in Gulfport and Upward Bound at Eckerd College. Click here to read more.
New episodes of 9-1-1 are currently on a short break during the Olympics (as many shows are), but it returns to its 9 p.m. Wednesday timeslot on Feb. 28 with another Florida connection. Based on previews, the show's seventh episode is inspired by Miami's face-eating zombie of 2012.
The show was renewed for a second season last month, just after the premiere.