Before the TV series This is Us came and became the leading tearjerker on television, Grey’s Anatomy was bringing viewers to tears every week. You could say in the Hall of Fame of emotional television, Grey’s Anatomy is an OG. The long-running series is the brainchild of Shonda Rhimes, the woman whose array of dramatic shows has earned her a reputation as a TV serial killer because of her tendency of killing off beloved characters on her shows.
The show came into existence as a result of Shonda Rhimes’ desire to see a show where smart women competed against one another. She adopted the medical setting due to her obsession and fascination with surgeries at the time. The name, Grey’s Anatomy was chosen as a play on the popular medical textbook, Gray’s Anatomy, written by Henry Gray. It was also the motivating factor for the title character’s name, Dr. Meredith Grey.
The show began production in 2005 as a mid-season replacement for Boston Legal. It is produced by Shonda Rhimes’ production company, Shondaland, which produces other shows like How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal, For the People and Station 19. It is produced alongside ABC Studios and The Mark Gordon Company.
The show has been largely well received and it is currently in its fifteenth season. Since its premiere, it has maintained an average score of 74% on review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes.
The show’s central core is about Meredith Grey, a new surgical intern who had just been accepted into the residency program of Seattle Grace Hospital, a fictional hospital located in Seattle. The show follows how Meredith Grey and her friends who are fellow doctors manage their career and their personal lives.
The show’s revolving cast may often change the relationship dynamics on the show but the show’s purpose of highlighting how women and people, in general, navigate the world, especially in a highly demanding profession like medicine has largely remained.
Grey’s Anatomy – Cast
A show that has lasted 15 seasons is bound to have a cast list that is as long as the Nile. Combined with Shonda Rhimes’ murderous tendencies, the show has seen a revolving cast that has managed to keep the point of the show alive and viewers interested. It has also managed to keep four of its original cast members on the show to date.
The casting process of the show is said to have used a color-blind casting technique due to Shonda’s insistence on making the show racially diverse. The show’s casting took a long process but it eventually ended and one of television’s most successful shows was ready to film.
Here is a list of some of the major cast on the show and their respective characters.
Ellen Pompeo – Meredith Grey
‘I need a girl like that girl from Moonlight Mile’ were the words coming out from Shonda Rhimes while she searched for the lead of her new show. The network decided to take it one step further and sign up the girl from Moonlight Mile and that is how Ellen Pompeo became the lead actor of Grey’s Anatomy and the titular character of the show.
The entirety of the show has mostly revolved around her as the focal point of the show. She was introduced as the daughter of a famous surgeon, Ellis Grey, and as a new resident of the show’s fictional hospital.
Ellen Pompeo has been highly praised for her continued performances on the show as Meredith Grey, with critics going as far as championing a campaign for her to win the most coveted Emmy Award as a television actress. While she awaits her first nomination and possible Emmy win, she has been recognized by other Award bodies like the Satellite Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild Award with multiple nominations and wins.
Other projects she has starred in include Daredevil, Catch Me If You Can, Moonlight Mile, Undermind, Law & Order, and The Job. She has also directed two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and has been credited as a producer in 10 episodes.
Sandra Oh – Cristina Yang
Sandra Oh portrayed one of the most iconic friendships in modern television as Cristina Yang with Meredith Grey and is one of the founding actors of Grey’s Anatomy. Her character, like Grey’s, began the show as interns who just secured residency. Till she left the show in its tenth season, she was one of the most beloved characters on the show and was cherished by both fans and critics as the audience followed her journey from surgical intern to resident to a cardiothoracic surgical fellow.
She was initially meant to play Miranda Bailey, which she had auditioned for but after seeing the role of Cristina Yang, chose to read for the role and was eventually cast for it.
Sandra Oh, who is a Canadian actress has been in the industry since 1989 and has featured several films and television shows such as Tammy, Catfight, Mulan II, Hard Candy, Arliss, Sesame Street, Phineas, and Ferb, among many others. She currently stars on Killing Eve as Eve Polastri.
Her career thus far has witnessed several recognitions like Emmy nominations for her role in Grey’s Anatomy, which she has never won although she has been nominated six times. She has won awards by the Screen Actors Guild Award and Satellite Awards.
Justin Chambers – Alex Karev
Alex Karev is another one of the main cast members that still continues to appear on the show. He is part of the group of interns that resumed at Seattle Grace Hospital at the beginning of the show. He was introduced as the show’s bad guy, who was disliked by the other interns and had terrible interpersonal skills.
The character has however undergone major development over the course of the show and along with becoming a nicer and better person, he became the Interim Chief of Surgery of the hospital, which also underwent its own development and became Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
The portraying actor, Justin Chambers is a former model who began his acting career as a recurring character in Another World. Since then, he has starred in films like Liberty Heights, The Wedding Planner, Broken City, among a few others. In television, he has starred in shows like Four Corners, Cold Case and has been appearing on Grey’s Anatomy as Alex Karev since 2005.
His entire award nominations and wins have been for Grey’s Anatomy, which includes a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Chandra Wilson – Miranda Bailey
Chandra Wilson is part of the original cast of Grey’s Anatomy and she continues to appear on the show. The actor/director was cast to play Miranda Bailey, a senior resident in Seattle Grace Hospital who was the supervising resident to the original gang when they joined the hospital. She is characterized as a stern, quick-witted personality with a mean exterior but loving insides. Currently, on the show, she is the Chief of Surgery at the hospital.
Chandra Wilson, who plays Miranda, has worked on other notable projects like Lone Star, The Cosby Show, The Sopranos. She has also directed multiple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, The Fosters and one episode of Scandal. She is also a stage actress.
So far, in her career, she has been nominated for 26 awards, including an Emmy nomination five times.
James Pickens Jr. – Richard Webber
James Pickens portrays one of the only four characters who are still on the show since its beginning, Richard Webber. Webber was the Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital at the beginning of the show. His work ethic and the quest for excellence and greatness broke his marriage. He was also known to have had an affair with Meredith Grey’s mother, Ellis Grey.
Richard Webber is played by James Pickens Jr, who started his career in the theatre. He has been in films like Dead Presidents, Venom, 42 and shows like Roseanne, The Practice, Seinfeld, The X-Files. He has been nominated for several awards for his portrayal of the character on the show.
Katherine Heigl – Izzie Stevens
Katherine Heigl might be unloved now, but she was once the darling of everyone when she began portraying Izzie Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy. She started on the show as a surgical intern like the rest of the group and worked her way up to resident level until she left the show in the sixth season.
Heigl received a lot of critical praise for her role on the show as Izzie and was recognized with numerous awards and nominations, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She has starred on other notable projects like Knocked Up, Jenny’s Wedding, 27 Dresses, and The Ugly Truth.
Other notable cast members of Grey’s Anatomy include Patrick Dempsey starring as Derek Shepard, Sara Ramirez as Callie Torres, Isaiah Washington as Preston Burke, Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt, Jesse Williams as Jackson Avery.
The show has an average episode length of 43 minutes with a total of 325 episodes so far. After the first season was aired with 9 episodes, each season after has average 24 episodes with the exceptions of the fourth, seventh, and eleventh seasons which had 17, 22 and 25 episodes respectively.
The first episode of the show was titled A Hard Day’s Night.
Release Date, Trailers, Spoilers
The show’s fifteenth season began to air on September 27, 2018, and the show has continued its stream of dramatic and heart-tugging plotlines. The show is due for a winter break on November 15th and is expected to return in 2019.