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The seventeenth season of Grey's Anatomy premiered November 12, 2020 on ABC with a two-hour season premiere. It airs on Thursday nights 9/8c.



  • Like the rest of the world, Seattle is hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital quickly being turned into city's biggest COVID treatment center. While staying apart from their families and friends to ensure their safety, all surgeons are forced to quickly adapt to the new reality where the usual workings and hierarchy are no longer valid.
  • Working on the new COVID ICU, Meredith contracts the disease and slips in and out of consciousness as her close friends and colleagues try to figure out how to treat her, with knowledge about the disease evolving and guidelines changing every day.
  • Bailey springs into action to turn the hospital into a COVID treatment center. Separated from her family, she has to grieve by herself when her mother is admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and soon succumbs to the disease.
  • Richard returns to work in the middle of the pandemic and reunites with Catherine after some encouragement from Maggie. He is appointed Meredith's health proxy.
  • As news about Teddy's affair spreads, Owen decides to end things between them.
  • Jo and Jackson become friends with benefits. After being forced to deliver a baby, Jo contemplates changing careers to OB/GYN to find more joy in the midst of all the darkness brought on by the pandemic.
  • Amelia and Link adapt to life as new parents to their own baby boy Scout while also babysitting Meredith's kids.
  • Maggie and Winston maintain a long-distance relationship between Seattle and Boston. Maggie particularly grows increasingly frustrated with Black people being disproportionally affected and dying from to COVID-19.
  • Teddy is forced to take a hard look at herself when her entire life falls apart in the middle of the pandemic.
  • After an intervention by the people that care about him, Andrew is convinced to tackle his mental health issues. He starts taking medication and adapts a more regular lifestyle with sleep to stay on track. He is soon hired as an attending surgeon at Grey Sloan.
  • Tom is fired as Chief Medical Officer by Catherine when the pandemic proves too big of a challenge for him to manage. He ends up testing positive for COVID during routine testing but quickly develops worsening symptoms, causing him to be hospitalised. Faced with his own mortality as he is surrounded by dying patients, he starts losing his rougher edges.
  • While continuing to live with Jo, Levi finds comfort and stress relief with Nico.


Main Cast[]

Special Guest Stars[]

Recurring Guest Stars[]

Prominent Guest Stars[]

Recurring Co-Stars[]

Notes and Trivia[]

  • The series was officially renewed for season seventeen on May 10, 2019, before the fifteenth season finished airing. This marks the first time in its history that the show was renewed for two seasons at once.
  • As of this season, Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens, Jr. are the only remaining original cast members.
  • All voiceovers for the season are narrated by Meredith Grey with three exceptions. Fight the Power and Sign O' the Times were narrated by Miranda Bailey and Richard Webber, respectively. As such, all three remaining originals have narrated a voiceover this season. Additionally, Look Up Child was narrated by Jackson Avery, marking the first time since (Don't Fear) the Reaper that Ellen Pompeo did not appear in an episode in any capacity.
  • The table read for the first episode took place on September 3, 2020. Filming started September 8, 2020.
  • The season sees the departure of three main actors: Giacomo Gianniotti, Jesse Williams, and Greg Germann.
  • This is the first season to end in June rather than May as per usual, despite being one of the shortest seasons of the series.
  • Showrunner Krista Vernoff is not credited as the writer for a single episode this season, making this the first season of the series that she has worked on for that to be the case.
  • James Pickens, Jr. is the only actor of the entire cast to appear in every episode of the season.
  • It is the first season not to have an episode directed by Chandra Wilson since she started directing on the show in season six.

Impact of COVID-19[]

As showrunner, Krista Vernoff was tasked with deciding if the season would tackle the pandemic or not. She ended up deciding not to include it, figuring that there was pandemic fatigue amongst the audience and that people would turn on their television for a sense of escapism. She gathered her writers' room and challenged them to change her mind. The doctors in the room were most persuasive and convinced her that they had a responsibility to depict this pandemic because it was changing the face of medicine forever and that it was the biggest medical storyline of their lifetimes. They then invited their medical advisors to come in and talk to them about how they were experiencing the pandemic.[1]

As was the case with all shows for the 2020-21 television season, production of the season was heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.[2]

  • There were numerous meetings with unions, epidemiologists and health and safety experts to find ways to bring everyone back safely.
  • Actors on the show were tested for COVID-19 three times per week.
  • They stopped using paper scripts and instead used iPads.
  • Different stations were separated by plexiglass divisions in the hair and makeup trailer, where talking was not allowed since applying the makeup required the actors to take their face masks off.
  • Costumes, including scrubs, were delivered to the actors' trailers in plastic bags so people working in the costume department didn't actually have to touch the costumes.
  • Actors' chairs in the green room, where they kill time in between shooting scenes, were separated in their own zones. Eating also wasn't allowed in the green room anymore.
  • Rehearsals had to be repeated five times because of social distancing. Rather than gathering the entire crew for the first rehearsal, it had to be repeated for smaller fractions of crew members. After calling cut, only department at a time could come in and do their part, making for a turnaround of 15 minutes rather than the usual 2 minutes.
  • The writers were forced to re-examine their scripts and decide on which scenes would end up being cut in the editing process, which they then eliminated from the script to avoid unnecessary filming time. They also made sure to write longer scenes so the episodes had fewer scenes to film as well as limit the number of people in a scene. That led to the decision to not include all series regulars in all episodes.
  • Prior to the pandemic, they used to work 12-hour days minimum. During the pandemic, they did ten 10-hour days with a lot of wait time and turnarounds.


No. in series No. in season Title Directed by Written by Original air date
364 1 "All Tomorrow's Parties" Debbie Allen Andy Reaser & Lynne E. Litt November 12, 2020
In the midst of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grey Sloan Memorial and its surgeons' lives have been turned upside down. The season 17 premiere picks up one month into the pandemic, and it's all-hands-on-deck as Meredith, Bailey and the rest of the Grey Sloan doctors find themselves on the frontlines of a new era. Meanwhile, an unintentionally started fire has first responders from Station 19 bringing patients into the hospital for treatment.

Second part of a cross-over that started out on Station 19's fourth season premiere.

365 2 "The Center Won't Hold" Debbie Allen Andy Reaser & Jase Miles-Perez November 12, 2020
Bailey finds herself in the middle of an argument with patients' families as they await news about their children who were injured in a fire. Winston surprises Maggie, and Amelia and Link try to have some fun as new parents. Teddy learns her colleagues know more than she may like about her relationship woes with Owen, and Richard and Koracick go at it.
366 3 "My Happy Ending" Kevin McKidd Meg Marinis November 19, 2020
The Grey Sloan doctors continue to face their new COVID-19 reality and deal with a familiar and stubborn patient. Koracick is put in charge of the interns who recently joined the hospital ranks and Link operates on a sex therapist. Elsewhere, Maggie finds comfort in Winston's virtual presence.
367 4 "You'll Never Walk Alone" Allison Liddi-Brown Julie Wong December 3, 2020
Owen faces a medical diagnosis that challenges more than he imagined. Meanwhile, Koracick begins to go stir crazy and Maggie gets a not-so-subtle glimpse into Winston's background.
368 5 "Fight the Power" Michael Watkins Zoanne Clack December 10, 2020
Bailey panics as she hears there has been a surge of COVID-19 cases, knowing she has loved ones in an assisted living facility. Meanwhile, Jackson and Richard team up against Catherine to teach her a lesson, and Teddy continues to try to mend her frayed relationships. After an intense surgery, Jo is uncertain about her future.
369 6 "No Time for Despair" Pete Chatmon Felicia Pride December 17, 2020
Grey Sloan Memorial faces new pressures as Seattle Pres is overloaded, and Grey Sloan Memorial is now on surge capacity protocol. Meanwhile, Owen and Amelia are faced with one of the most controversial surgeries of their careers.
370 7 "Helplessly Hoping" Nicole Rubio Elisabeth R. Finch March 11, 2021
Both teams tend to a tense situation with so much at stake. Meanwhile, Jo convinces Hayes to bend the rules on a case, and Maggie and Winston reconnect.
371 8 "It's All Too Much" Debbie Allen Adrian Wenner March 18, 2021
As traumas and pressure mount, Grey Sloan doctors try to find a path forward, and Richard questions his faith. Meanwhile, Maggie gives Winston hospital privileges and they work together to treat an uneasy patient. Jo, Link and Jackson play an unconventional drinking game.
372 9 "In My Life" Kevin McKidd Tameson Duffy March 25, 2021
After a heart-wrenching loss, Teddy struggles to cope and it triggers memories of her past. When Owen brings her home, she must face some long-standing truths. Meanwhile, Amelia tries to help the situation by encouraging Owen to accept and forgive Teddy.
373 10 "Breathe" Linda Klein Mark Driscoll April 1, 2021
The hospital ventilator shortage has the doctors gravely concerned when both a mother and daughter are in critical condition with COVID and fighting over the last ventilator. Meanwhile, Hayes' high-risk sister-in-law with multiple sclerosis ends up in the hospital with a kidney stone, and the sister house has a few more kids join it as Amelia plays babysitter for the day.
374 11 "Sorry Doesn't Always Make It Right" Giacomo Gianniotti Julie Wong April 8, 2021
The Grey Sloan doctors are stuck in the middle of a fight between a newlywed couple who are injured in a car accident and brought to the hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, Jackson's generosity with COVID-positive patients goes a bit too far, and Hayes works to rebuild Maggie's confidence and convince her to perform an extremely risky heart surgery.
375 12 "Sign O' the Times" Michael Medico Jase Miles-Perez April 15, 2021
Maggie is preoccupied with Winston while trying to treat a patient wounded in the Seattle protests. Meanwhile, Levi is tested by an emergency, and the doctors struggle to treat a patient who doesn't believe in COVID.
376 13 "Good as Hell" Michael Watkins Zoanne Clack April 22, 2021
Amidst the need for more surgeons, Jo tries to convince Bailey to let her switch specialties. Elsewhere, Link accuses Amelia of overstepping while he is treating a patient remotely, and Winston comes up with an out-of-the-box idea
377 14 "Look Up Child" Debbie Allen Elisabeth J. Finch & Felicia Pride May 6, 2021
Jackson pays a visit to his father that helps set him on the right path.
378 15 "Tradition" Kevin McKidd Jess Righthand May 20, 2021
Jackson shares his big news with his colleagues while Koracick and Levi fight to save a pregnant woman's grandfather as she goes into labor. Maggie keeps a watchful eye on Meredith as Bailey and Richard put off telling her about DeLuca.
379 16 "I'm Still Standing" Michael Watkins Meg Marinis
Andy Reaser
May 27, 2021
Levi gets accepted into the vaccine trial. Meanwhile, Amelia and Owen treat a car crash patient, and Hayes and Jo are met with Luna's legal guardian.
380 17 "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" Kevin McKidd Meg Marinis
Andy Reaser
June 3, 2021
It's wedding day for Maggie and Winston. Meanwhile, Meredith takes on a new role at the hospital, and Jo makes a life-changing decision.


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DVD Release[]


Cast Promotional Photos[]




  1. LA Times Krista Vernoff knows all of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ secrets. And she’s ready to talk
  2. LA Times Krista Vernoff knows all of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ secrets. And she’s ready to talk