The Fox disaster drama opened Season 3 with a tsunami hitting the iconic Santa Monica Pier, the promo of which upset at least one parent. While the giant wave was a digital effect, the Fox drama's cast and crew spent weeks in Rosarito, Mexico filming in the water tanks James Cameron had built to film Titanic in the 1990s. “We actually built the ferris wheel from the Santa Monica Pier in the water tanks on the ocean in Mexico,” co-creator and showrunner Tim Minear tells The Wrap. “So we see our character climbing up a ferris wheel with people stuck in it and sticking out of the ocean. That’s real and that’s our people climbing the ferris wheel that we built. When you see Buck and Christopher being pulled down the rapids in the middle of a street in Santa Monica, that’s them in the water. And you just can’t beat doing things practically if you can.” In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Minear says he wanted to top the earthquake storyline with the tsunami, but they didn't want to film in "somebody's swimming pool and pretend like there were some flooded street." So they spent a lot of money using the Titanic water tanks. "These tanks are huge," he says. "We built city streets in these tanks. And when you look at some aerial shots from the drones, you see in one corner of these enormous tanks are city streets, and then a lot of water, like a mile of it, and then there is a Ferris wheel sticking out of the ocean." Why didn't 9-1-1 use digital effects or green screen? "I don’t think you can beat doing things practically if you can," says Minear. "I mean, it's the actors literally scaling this Ferris wheel, it's Oliver Stark in some raging rapids going down a city street, climbing onto a submerged fire truck. You're just in there. It's real. I think it aids the performance, I think it aids just the visceral feeling as you're watching it. And I think it was super exciting for the cast and the crew to pull off something like this. This was a very ambitious thing that we did, and we did it in such an enormously quick turnaround. In a feature film, it would take you months and months to prep something like this, and we're doing it really in a matter of weeks."