Oxygen SERIES “911 Crisis Center” chronicles of the crew in action at Chagrin Valley Distribution, an emergency communications center in Ohio. Every call to this busy center can be a matter of life and death.

Continuous high stakes make the series, which premieres Saturday, September 3 IN 9:30/8:30c with new episodes airing on 9/8c BEGINNING September 10, so convincing. The inherent drama of a dispatcher’s pressure-cooker job also explains why fictional 911 operators often appear in TV shows and movies.

But are dispatchers in pop culture like the team at the “911 Crisis Center”? We took a look at three to compare.


Renewed in May 2022 for season six, Fox drama the series follows the first responders of the Los Angeles area, including dispatchers, police officers, paramedics and firefighters.

Maddie Buckley (Jennifer Love Hewitt), is a dispatcher. She brings her life experience and training to the job – just like the Chagrin Valley team. She has helped an expectant father whose wife is in labor and calmed a caller worried about the lights in the sky, according to a fansite of the series.

These incidents actually mirror those shown last year on the 911 Crisis Center. In the latter, dispatchers learned that callers reporting UFO sightings were actually seeing spotlights from a noisy crowd.

“We have a party going on at the top of the hill in Fairmount,” an officer’s voice is heard telling a dispatcher. “They have a spotlight.”

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“The Call”

In this 2013 crime thriller, a serial killer kidnaps Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin), a teenager from Los Angeles, and puts her in the trunk of his car. However, the girl has a flashing phone and makes a desperate call for help.

Dispatcher Jordan Turner (Halle Berry), still reeling because one of her callers was killed months ago, pulls together to save Casey. She uses everything she knows and every tool in her arsenal to get Casey home.

Like Jordan, Chagrin Valley employees know their town. But Jordan takes steps that go far beyond the duties of a dispatcher for the sake of cinematic thrills. However, the movie may have it right, when Jordan says that 911 calls follow patterns and escalate at certain times of the year.

“A full moon happens and things get crazy,” a 911 Crisis Center dispatcher claimed last season.

“The Culprits”

In this Thriller 2021, a woman claiming to have been kidnapped calls a Los Angeles 911 call center.

LAPD Officer Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal), dealing with marital and legal issues, is assigned dispatch shifts while he awaits a court hearing for an officer-involved shooting and answers the call.

Joey’s tactics aren’t exactly by the book, as he piece by piece decides what’s really going on with the kidnapped woman. However, the puzzle aspect of the film is similar to an aspect of the call center staff’s job.

“You have all these parts scattered,” said a Chagrin Valley dispatcher. “Our job as a dispatcher is to get information until we put the whole puzzle together. Once we did that, everything else was left to the officers.”

To learn more about dispatchers and what they do, see “911 Crisis Center”, premieres Saturday, September 3 IN 9:30/8:30c with new episodes airing on 9/8c BEGINNING September 10. Or you can stream season 1 here.

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