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Grey's Anatomy - Season 17

All starring cast members from the previous season returned with the exception of Justin Chambers, who departed early in the sixteenth season. In addition, Richard Flood and Anthony Hill, who both appeared in the sixteenth season in recurring and guest capacities, respectively, received promotions to the main cast. This season also marked the return of former series regulars Patrick Dempsey, T. R. Knight, Chyler Leigh, and Eric Dane to the series. Meanwhile, main cast members Giacomo Gianniotti, Jesse Williams, and Greg Germann all departed the series during the season. Former series regular Sarah Drew also appeared in the season as part of Williams' departure.

Grey's Anatomy - Season 17

Grey's Anatomy centers around the professional and personal lives of a group of medical professionals that work at the fictional Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Nearly every main storyline in the season centered around the COVID-19 pandemic, with a number of plot points also connecting to spin-off series Station 19 through fictional crossover events. The season primarily received mixed reviews from critics and remained ABC's most-watched scripted series, even though viewing figures dropped significantly from the previous season. The season eventually concluded on June 3, 2021. Despite initial uncertainty from the cast, crew, and the network, the series was eventually renewed for an eighteenth season.

The number in the "No. overall" column refers to the episode's number within the overall series, whereas the number in the "No. in season" column refers to the episode's number within this particular season. "U.S. viewers in millions" refers to the number of Americans in millions who watched the episodes live. Each episode of this season is named after a song.[1]

On May 10, 2019, ABC renewed Grey's Anatomy for both a sixteenth and seventeenth season.[54] Krista Vernoff, who serves as the series showrunner and an executive producer, signed a multi-year deal with ABC Studios in 2019 to continue working on Grey's Anatomy and spin-off series Station 19. The deal also attached Vernoff's production company, Trip the Light Productions, to the series.[55] Production on the sixteenth season was later cut short as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, finishing only twenty-one of the twenty-five episodes ordered; at the time it was unknown whether or not the four additional episodes would be produced as part of the seventeenth season.[56] In September 2020, Variety reported that the season would begin filming later that month.[57][58] Pompeo announced that filming had begun on September 8.[59][60] An ABC insider later revealed that the network was looking to produce a season of sixteen episodes, down from the twenty-four to twenty-five episodes per season that had been produced since the eighth season, but that the number could change since conditions were uncertain due to COVID.[61] One additional episode was ordered, bringing the total episode count of the season up to seventeen.[62]

The lower episode count caused the season to tie with the fourth for the second-lowest number of episodes, only having more than the first.[61] To limit the spread of COVID-19, cast and crew members only worked ten-hour days compared to the usual twelve hours.[63] The number of people in each scene also had to be reduced to allow for social distancing.[64] Vernoff said that face masks were worn by all cast and crew members while not filming, including between takes and during rehearsals, and that speaking was not allowed in the hair and makeup trailer.[63] Cast members carried their own makeup bags to do last-minute touch-ups, and different camera lenses were used to make people standing far apart appear closer together.[65] In addition, the cast and crew members received testing for the virus three times a week.[66] In March 2021, Deadline Hollywood reported that another spin-off series was in the works following an interview with ABC Entertainment President Craig Erwich.[67] A few days later, ABC Signature President Jonnie David clarified that they only meant to show support towards Grey's Anatomy and that a spin-off was not being discussed as the network was focused on future seasons of Grey's Anatomy.[68] Despite an initial uncertain future from Vernoff,[69] Pompeo,[70] and network executives,[71] the series was renewed for an eighteenth season.[72]

Kim Raver, Camilla Luddington, and Kevin McKidd each signed a three-year contract in July 2020, keeping them attached to the series through a potential nineteenth season to portray Dr. Teddy Altman, Dr. Jo Wilson, and Dr. Owen Hunt, respectively.[22] Pompeo signed a one-year contract to return as Dr. Meredith Grey, the title character, making $575,000 per episode[73] and also receiving producing credits on both Grey's Anatomy and Station 19[19] along with a signing bonus totaling around $20 million total for her work.[54] On July 30, 2020, it was announced that Richard Flood and Anthony Hill had been promoted to series regulars.[30] Flood recurred in the previous season as Dr. Cormac Hayes while Hill made a guest appearance in the nineteenth episode of the sixteenth season as Dr. Winston Ndugu.[31] Justin Chambers was the only main cast member from the previous season not to return to the series after departing early in the sixteenth season.[74]

A number of previous series regulars appeared in the season during a storyline revolving around Meredith Grey battling COVID-19 while imagining herself on a beach.[75] Patrick Dempsey was the first actor to return to the series as Dr. Derek Shepherd; Dempsey's last appearance was in the eleventh-season finale, "You're My Home".[76] He recurred throughout the season, appearing in four episodes total.[77] T. R. Knight also returned as Dr. George O'Malley in "You'll Never Walk Alone"; Knight last appeared in "Now or Never" in the fifth season.[42] Chyler Leigh and Eric Dane both appeared in "Breathe" as Dr. Lexie Grey and Dr. Mark Sloan, respectively.[78][43] Prior to their return, Leigh and Dane last appeared in the eighth-season finale "Flight" and "Remember the Time", the second episode of the ninth season.[79] Due to travel restrictions, Leigh was not able to travel to Los Angeles where production takes place, instead she filmed her scenes in Vancouver, Canada.[80] Leigh was filming Supergirl at the time; a green screen was used to eventually place her on the beach and an apple box was used to simulate rocks while tennis balls were used in place of Pompeo and Dane for dialogue portions.[81]

Giacomo Gianniotti, who portrayed Dr. Andrew DeLuca, exited the series as a main character after being killed off in "Helplessly Hoping."[26] He later appeared in two other episodes as a vision to Raver's Dr. Teddy Altman.[82] On May 6, 2021, it was reported that Jesse Williams, who joined the series in the sixth season as Dr. Jackson Avery, would be departing as a series regular following the fifteenth episode, "Tradition".[23] As part of his departure, former series regular Sarah Drew returned as Dr. April Kepner in Williams' penultimate episode, "Look Up Child", after last appearing in the fourteenth-season episode "All of Me".[83][84] Greg Germann, who had portrayed Dr. Tom Koracick since the fourteenth season, also departed in "Tradition", being written out in the same storyline as Williams' character.[27] Williams and Germann both briefly reprised their roles in the season finale, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight."[85] Germann is expected to return as a guest star in later seasons[86] while Williams said that he would be open to returning in the following season.[87]

Stefania Spampinato continued to make recurring appearances in the season as Dr. Carina DeLuca after being promoted to a series regular on spin-off series Station 19.[36][88] Debbie Allen and former series regular Jason George also continued to appear in recurring roles as Dr. Catherine Fox and Dr. Ben Warren, respectively; with George also being a series regular on Station 19.[35][34] Phylicia Rashad, Allen's sister, guest starred in the season's twelfth episode, "Sign O' the Times".[50] In addition, Barrett Doss, Jay Hayden, Grey Damon, Danielle Savre, and Okieriete Onaodowan made guest appearances as their Station 19 characters in crossover events.[89] Mackenzie Marsh was cast in a recurring role for the season to play Val Ashton.[90] Eric Roberts reprised his role as Robert Avery in "Look Up Child".[51] Lisa Vidal and Melissa DuPrey recurred as a mother-daughter pair named Alma and Sara Ortiz who were part of Grey Sloan's new intern class.[39][91] Robert I. Mesa was also cast in a recurring role for the season portraying James Chee, the first indigenous doctor on the series.[41]

The overarching storyline of the season centered around the doctors in the series battling the COVID-19 pandemic.[92] Krista Vernoff initially considered beginning the season prior to the pandemic or not including it at all, but ultimately decided to begin it in the peak of it, stating: .mw-parser-output .templatequoteoverflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 .templatequote .templatequoteciteline-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0

To be the biggest medical show and ignore the biggest medical story of the century felt irresponsible to the medical community, it just felt like we had to tell this story. The conversation became: How do we tell this painful and brutal story that has hit our medical community so intensely and permanently changed medicine? And create some escapism? And create romance, comedy and joy and fun? That's the challenge this season.[92]

To properly tell the story of the pandemic, the writers opted to begin the season in April 2020, with time slowly progressing throughout the season, instead of telling the story from a present-day standpoint, as done in previous seasons.[93] Zoanne Clack, a medical doctor who serves as a consultant, writer, and executive producer on the series and previously worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the goal of the season was to accurately show the infection rate and transfer of COVID-19.[94] A sub-storyline centered around the pandemic was Meredith Grey contracting COVID-19 early in the season.[95] Grey drifted in and out of consciousness throughout the season imagining herself on a beach scene seeing past and present characters of the series.[96] Other central characters were also written to have COVID-19 including Germann's Tom Koracick and the mother of Dr. Miranda Bailey.[97][98] Bailey's portrayer Chandra Wilson stated that nursing homes, where the character's mother was located, were largely affected by COVID-19 so that when the script was given to her she knew that the experience needed to be told.[99] 041b061a72


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