The plot of the 17th season of Grey's Anatomy, expected this fall on American channel ABC, has been established. The medical drama will touch upon the COVID-19 pandemic, a subject the entire world can relate to.
"We're going to address this pandemic for sure," said executive producer Krista Vernoff during a panel hosted by the Television Academy titled "Quaranstreaming: Comfort TV That Keeps Us Going", to be shown via the Emmys' website.
This announcement could mark a turnaround for the series, which has lately been suffering from lackluster storylines and numerous cast departures. Most recently Justin Chambers ("Alex Karev"), left the series after 15 years, leaving Ellen Pompeo as the only remaining member of the original cast.
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An homage to medical personnel
The appearance of COVID-19 in the screenplay, which has already been filmed to a large extent, will bring surgeon Owen Hunt, a former military doctor played by Scottish actor Kevin McKidd, to the forefront. For source material, the screenwriters interviewed real doctors about their experiences related to the pandemic.
"Every year, we have doctors come and tell us their stories and usually they're telling their funniest or craziest stories," said Vernoff. "This year, it has felt more like therapy. They are literally shaking and trying not to cry, they're pale, and they're talking about it as war -- a war that they were not trained for. I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories."