|Grey's Anatomy Seasons|
- 1 Summary
- 2 Plots
- 3 Cast
- 4 Notes and Trivia
- 5 Episodes
- 6 Spoilers
- 7 Reception
- 8 DVD Release
- 9 Gallery
- 10 References
- 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their safety, all surgeons are forced to quickly adapt to the new reality where the usual workings and hierarchy are no longer valid.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.
- Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey (16/17)
- Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey (15/17)
- James Pickens, Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber (17/17)
- Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt (16/17)
- Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery (14/17)
- Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Amelia Shepherd (15/17)
- Camilla Luddington as Dr. Jo Wilson (15/17)
- Kelly McCreary as Dr. Maggie Pierce (16/17)
- Giacomo Gianniotti as Dr. Andrew DeLuca (9/17)
- Kim Raver as Dr. Teddy Altman (15/17)
- Greg Germann as Dr. Tom Koracick (14/17)
- Jake Borelli as Dr. Levi Schmitt (15/17)
- Chris Carmack as Dr. Atticus Lincoln (12/17)
- Richard Flood as Dr. Cormac Hayes (12/17)
- Anthony Hill as Dr. Winston Ndugu (13/17)
Special Guest Stars
- Eric Dane as Dr. Mark Sloan (1/17)
- Chyler Leigh as Dr. Lexie Grey (1/17)
- Patrick Dempsey as Dr. Derek Shepherd (4/17) (special guest star only in final appearance)
Recurring Guest Stars
- Jason George as Dr. Ben Warren (6/17)
- Grey Damon as Lieutenant Jack Gibson (1/17)
- Barrett Doss as Victoria Hughes (1/17)
- Jay Hayden as Travis Montgomery (2/17)
- Okieriete Onaodowan as Dean Miller (1/17)
- Danielle Savre as Captain Maya Bishop (3/17)
- Stefania Spampinato as Dr. Carina DeLuca (6/17)
- Jaicy Elliot as Dr. Taryn Helm (12/17)
- Alex Landi as Dr. Nico Kim (8/17)
- Linda Park as Deborah Lee (2/17)
- Louis Ozawa as Steve Lee (2/17)
- TJ Thyne as Aaron Morris (2/17)
- BJ Tanner as William George Bailey Jones (1/17)
- V. Vieux as Rosalind Warren (1/17)
- Debbie Allen as Dr. Catherine Fox (6/17)
- Justin Ellings as Frankie Morris (1/17)
- Aniela Gumbs as Zola Grey Shepherd (8/17) (Good as Hell and Someone Saved My Life Tonight only, recurring co-star otherwise)
- Mackenzie Marsh as Val Ashton (3/17)
- Melissa DuPrey as Dr. Sara Ortiz (6/17)
- Robert I. Mesa as Dr. James Chee (5/17)
- Nikhil Shukla as Dr. Reza Khan (5/17)
- Lisa Vidal as Dr. Alma Ortiz (3/17)
- Hilda Boulware as Antoinette Ndugu (3/17)
- T.R. Knight as Dr. George O'Malley (1/17)
- Frankie Faison as William Bailey (1/17)
- Bianca F. Taylor as Elena Bailey (1/17)
- Stephanie Kurtzuba as Opal (1/17)
- Michael Patrick McGill as Robert Corson (1/17)
- Dionne Audain as Sharon (1/17)
- Sophina Brown as Joyce Williams (1/17)
- Makayla Lysiak as Jada Williams (1/17)
- Yindra Zayas as Shanice (1/17)
- Sherri Saum as Allison Robin Brown (1/17)
- Bess Armstrong as Maureen Lincoln (2/17)
- Granville Ames as Eric Lincoln (1/17)
- Lisa Schurga as Karissa Skolaski (1/17)
- Kevin Berntson as Shayne Riley (1/17)
- Eric Roberts as Robert Avery (1/17)
- Sarah Drew as April Kepner (1/17)
- Richard Lawson as Bill Pierce (2/17)
- Marlene Forte as Carmen Delgado (2/17)
- Debra Mooney as Evelyn Hunt (1/17)
Prominent Guest Stars
- Noah Alexander Gerry as Joey Phillips (1/17)
- Frances Nichols as Nurse Karen (3/17)
- Zaiver Sinnett as Zander Perez (5/17)
- Allie Doke as Erin Banks (1/17)
- Sylvia Kwan as Mabel Tseng (4/17)
- Paul Syre as Kayden Lee (2/17)
- Branden Silverman as Paramedic (1/17)
- Brody Goodstadt & Ryder Goodstadt as Bailey (7/17)
- Olivia-Diane Joseph as Nurse Liv (1/17)
- Ella Faris & Gracie Faris as Ellis Shepherd (8/17)
- Kevin Clarke as Paramedic (1/17)
- Juliette Myers as Paramedic (3/17)
- Norm Nixon, Jr. as Nurse James (1/17)
- Payton Silver as Dr. Knox (2/17)
- Avalon Gray & Colette Gray as Leo Hunt (3/17)
- BokHee An as BokHee (1/17)
- River Davidson as Allison Hunt (3/17)
- Jayden Haynes-Starr as Austin Hayes (1/17)
- Nicolas Hedges as Liam Hayes (1/17)
- Karla E. Rodriguez as Nurse (1/17)
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.
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.
As was the case with all shows for the 2020-21 television season, production of the season was heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- 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.
|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
|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
|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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