William Dunn was a patient at Seattle Grace Hospital who was on death row.


Early LifeEdit

William told Meredith that as a child, his parents would beat him everyday so he would hide under the sink and learn to read by looking at the letters on the detergent bottles. However, when Meredith asked if it was true, he replied "Whatever helps you sleep at night."

When his grandfather died, he told Dunn he smelled lemons, but Dunn never knew if it was true because his grandfather was a liar.

Imprisonment and HospitalizationEdit

William Dunn was detained in a high-security prison after murdering five women. He was admitted to Seattle Grace Hospital a week before his execution after being stabbed in the spine with a toothbrush that was sharpened (also known as a shiv).

Owen Hunt, Derek Shepherd, Cristina Yang (whom he described as "a bitch"), and Meredith Grey were the only doctors assigned to the case and he was placed in the VIP lounge to segregate him from other patients as much as possible. When they found that the shank was still in his spine, he asked if they could just leave him paralyzed, because his lawyer might be able to get a stay of execution if he's paralyzed. Derek refused. An MRI revealed that he also had brain contusions. Meredith asked if she could give him more morphine for his pain and despite Derek saying no, she gave it to him. They then took him into surgery, where they removed the shank and also his kidney. ("Wish You Were Here")

His brain contusions started expanding, so he needed to be taken into surgery or he could die, which he felt was ridiculous because he was being executed in five days. He refused the surgery because he'd rather die at the hospital than at the prison. Derek told Meredith and Cristina to wait until he passed out and then rush him into surgery. While out in the hallway to get tests, he met up with Jackson Prescott, who asked him what he did wrong. William lied and said it was a traffic violation and then offered his organs when Jackson said he needed a new liver and intestine. He later spoke to Meredith about her allowing him to die. Right before he went unconscious, he begged Meredith just to let him die, so she refused to be the second physician's signature to authorize his surgery. When he woke up after his surgery, he asked why Derek just didn't let him die. Derek told him that he didn't get a choice of how to die, just like the women he killed. Later that night, Meredith, knowing that he was a match for Jackson Prescott and that Jackson had had a failed transplant, went to him and told him that they'd taken his skull cap off, leaving his brain vulnerable. Once Meredith left the room, he started to bash his head into the top of his hospital bed. ("Sympathy for the Devil")


William attempts to die.

William started seizing and Meredith paged Bailey instead of Derek. She told Bailey that William was a match for Jackson. Bailey told her to keep her patient alive, because they're doctors, not executioners. When his condition started to worsen and he had trouble breathing, Meredith reminded him he could stop at any time and she'd page Derek. Cristina eventually came in to examine him and he begged her to help him, saying he didn't want to die. She paged Derek and William was rushed to surgery.

His surgery was interrupted by Miranda Bailey who, after hearing that Dunn's organs were a match for Jackson, asked Derek to put down the scalpel and let Dunn die. Shepherd allowed her to choose if he lived or died. Realizing the nature of what she was asking, she couldn't let him die, and told Derek to continue and swiftly left.


Dunn's execution.

After the surgery, William told Meredith he had been playing her the whole time. She said he was scared because death is scary. He then asked if she could attend his execution so he could at least see one friendly face in the crowd.


Meredith attended William's execution at Caldwell Correctional Facility. Before he died, he said quietly to himself that he smelled lemons, just like William's grandfather did before he died ("Stairway to Heaven")

Notes and TriviaEdit

  • He'd been in prison for 11 years.[1]
  • He likes strawberry jello.[2]
  • He often said the words, "Whatever helps you sleep at night."
  • Before dying, the last face he ever saw was Meredith's.[3]



Episode StillsEdit



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