Meredith Grey’s COVID-19 Diagnosis And The Fate Of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Written by on November 27, 2020

In late 2017, Ellen Pompeo, who famously performs Dr. Meredith Gray on ABC’s long-running medical procedural “Gray’s Anatomy,” signed a deal that made her tv’s highest-earning girl in a drama. The 2-year contract set her as much as make greater than $20 million a 12 months as an actor and producer — $575,000 per episode, together with a seven-figure signing bonus and one other $6 million from her share of syndication income.

It was a groundbreaking achievement that, deservedly, acquired a ton of consideration on the top of the Me Too motion. 

“Inventive Artists Company compiled a listing of stats for me, and ‘Gray’s’ has generated practically $Three billion for Disney,” Pompeo informed The Hollywood Reporter on the time of the deal. “When your face and your voice have been a part of one thing that’s generated $Three billion for one of many largest companies on this planet, you begin to really feel like, ‘OK, perhaps I do deserve a chunk of this.’”

Final 12 months, Pompeo renewed her contract till 2021, establishing “Gray’s” to run via at the least Season 17, which debuted on November 12. However alas, within the opening episodes, an overworked Meredith collapses after contracting a extreme case of COVID-19, leaving many viewers to query whether or not she would survive the real-life virus which has now killed greater than 250,000 Individuals.

“Over 1,700 well being care employees within the U.S. have died of COVID thus far. Many 1000’s extra have been contaminated. Well being care employees are on the entrance strains of this disaster, residing via a battle for which they weren’t skilled,” showrunner Krista Vernoff stated in a press release. “We noticed a chance to dramatize and illuminate their plight via the extremely well-loved and well-known character of Meredith Gray.”

With out Meredith, the destiny of “Gray’s Anatomy” can be sealed. 

Pompeo as Meredith Grey in "Grey's Anatomy."

Pompeo as Meredith Gray in “Gray’s Anatomy.”

“Gray’s” was an immediate hit when it debuted in 2005 with unique forged members Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Patrick Dempsey, Katherine Heigl, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers, T.R. Knight and James Pickens Jr. Within the years since, many of the fundamental gamers have both left or been killed off the sequence, apart from Pompeo, Wilson and Pickens Jr., who now star alongside a slew of supporting gamers together with Camilla Luddington as Jo Wilson, Kelly McCreary as Maggie Pierce, Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt, Caterina Scorsone as Amelia Shepherd and Jesse Williams as Jackson Avery.

It’s not irregular for “Gray’s” to place its characters in life-threatening conditions, and most of the medical doctors on the present have confronted near-death experiences, heartbreaking losses and tragic ends. George O’Malley (Knight) died following a bus accident that left his face unidentifiable. Lexie Gray (Chyler Leigh) and Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) sustained deadly accidents in a airplane crash. And Derek Shepherd (Dempsey) was taken off life assist after his automobile was hit by a semi-truck. 

Meredith Gray herself has been concerned in a sequence of harrowing conditions through the years, however has by some means managed to beat the percentages each time.

In Season 2, she holds an energetic explosive regular inside a affected person’s physique cavity whereas a bomb squad skilled, Dylan (Kyle Chandler), walks her via tips on how to take away it. As soon as the bomb is safely out of the affected person, all appears OK ― till it explodes as Dylan carries it down the hospital hallway. Meredith narrowly escapes the blast. 

In Season 3, Meredith operates on a affected person who has poisonous blood that causes these round it for greater than 20 seconds to turn out to be unwell and collapse. She exceeds the 20-second mark however seems to be high-quality. Just a few episodes later, she is knocked into the water by a person thrashing in ache following a disastrous ferry accident in Washington state’s Puget Sound. Though Derek finds her as she’s drowning, it seems Meredith is simply too far gone. She drifts off to an in-between world the place she visits former sufferers as she clings to life. Simply when the crew is about to pronounce her legally lifeless, Crisitina Yang (Oh) urges them to strive resuscitating Meredith only one extra time ― and he or she begins respiration once more. 

In Season 6, Meredith sacrifices herself to guard Derek (who has since turn out to be her husband), finest good friend Cristina and different colleagues after a grieving widower returns to the hospital to kill the medical doctors who couldn’t save his spouse. She finally ends up surviving after the group manages to trick the shooter into leaving the working room. 

As well as, Meredith comes out of that aforementioned airplane crash unscathed in Season eight and, on the finish of Season 9, manages to speak a surgical resident via her personal surgical procedure after she begins internally bleeding following her C-section throughout an influence outage.

Meredith additionally survives a brutal assault by a affected person in a fugue state in Season 12, however is left badly injured and quickly deaf.

All of that is to say, what else can this girl endure? Can Meredith Gray actually beat COVID-19, or will Season 17 function the loss of life scene longtime viewers won’t ever be ready for? 

“We don’t know when the present is absolutely ending but. However the fact is, this 12 months may very well be it,” Pompeo admitted to Selection in an interview final month. And Debbie Allen, who govt produces, directs and stars on the present, informed Andy Cohen, “This was alleged to be our final 12 months however, um, I’m unsure.” 

ABC didn’t reply to HuffPost’s request for remark about Pompeo’s and Allen’s quotes or the way forward for “Gray’s Anatomy.”

The original cast of "Grey's Anatomy." Standing: Isaiah Washington, Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Kate Walsh, T.R. Knight, J

The unique forged of “Gray’s Anatomy.” Standing: Isaiah Washington, Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Kate Walsh, T.R. Knight, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr. Sitting: Sandra Oh and Katherine Heigl.

Fifteen years after its debut, “Gray’s” continues to be bringing in strong rankings. The finale of Season 16 earned 7.Three million viewers and “Gray’s” was named the Present of 2020 on the Individuals’s Selection Awards. The Season 17 premiere attracted 5.Three million stay viewers however as soon as 3.1 million delayed viewings had been added in, it grew to become the highest leisure present for adults 18-49.

These numbers had loads to do with the surprising return of the late Derek Shepherd, aka McDreamy, who seems in Meredith’s — look forward to it — desires as she battles the coronavirus. The spouses reunite on a seaside, in a heaven-esque state, unable to embrace as they name out to 1 one other. Dempsey stated he’ll seem “all through” the season and hinted that different former stars would possibly present up, too. 

“Fantastic and fully stunning issues are completely attainable,” govt producers Andy Reaser and Meg Marinis not too long ago informed Individuals

Characters like George O’Malley and Lexie Gray might probably seem in COVID-19 hallucinations as Meredith’s well being worsens, or she might even obtain Zoom calls from Cristina, Alex Karev (Chambers) and Izzie Stevens (Heigl). How nice would that be? 

However, once more, will Meredith Gray actually die? Whereas some followers assume that’s the simplest method to finish the sequence, most are simply hoping Meredith ― and her three kids, Zola, Bailey and Ellis ― will lastly get her joyful ending.  

Solely time, and Ellen Pompeo, will inform. 

“Gray’s Anatomy” returns Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC. 

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