If these were normal times, we would be just about ready for Grey's Anatomy Season 17 to begin, but 2020 hasn't been a normal year for anyone. The pandemic not only caused the show to lose three episodes in Season 16, but fans will have to wait a bit longer for Grey's Anatomy Season 17 to kick off.
The Season 16 finale left the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial in a bit of a dark place. Owen (Kevin McKidd) found out that Teddy (Kim Raver) was cheating on him with Tom (Greg Germann) via a voicemail that was played for an entire operating room to hear. Needless to say, Owen did not show up to his and Teddy's impromptu wedding ceremony that night. Meanwhile, DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) saved the day once again when he realized that Richard's (James Pickens Jr.) condition was due to cobalt poisoning from a previous hip replacement ceremony, but the manic episode he had while getting to that conclusion forced him to admit that something isn't quite right with him and he finally went to Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) for help.
It wasn't all somber news in the finale though. Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Link (Chris Carmack) welcomed a new baby boy into the world, but the name is still pending. So what can we expect when the show returns for Season 17? Here's what we know so far.
Grey's Anatomy premieres in November. The series returns on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 9/8c with a two-hour premiere after the Season 4 premiere of Station 19.
Grey's Anatomy has returned to production. Pompeo confirmed that the cast and crew were back on set, adhering to COVID-19 shooting guidelines, via Instagram in early September. The actress dedicated the upcoming season to the over 7,000 healthcare workers who have lost their lives in the pandemic.
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Grey's Anatomy Season 17 will have a COVID-19 pandemic storyline. Giamotti revealed to ET Online over the summer that the new season will pick up a month and a half into the pandemic. Showrunner Krista Vernoff confirmed that Grey's couldn't possibly ignore the greatest health crisis of our lifetimes during an Entertainment Weekly Emmys panel and elaborated on The Hollywood Reporter‘s TV's Top 5 podcast that the pandemic will affect all of the doctors on the show in varying ways, and not all of them will be terrible. “There's joy and fun to be had in people who are quarantining away from the hospital…Many of [these doctors] aren't going home to their families; they're getting Airbnbs and living together,” she said. “There's a lot of story to tell that is sort of COVID-related but not about death and despair.”
There's a new couple in town. Pompeo teased fans after the Season 17 premiere table read that she has a new favorite couple on the show and she can't wait for everyone to see who it is. Yes, we do already have theories.
— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) September 4, 2020
The Grey's Anatomy cast is expanding. It was announced in July that Anthony Hill, who played Maggie's (Kelly McCreary) medical conference paramour Dr. Winston Ndugu in Season 16, will be joining the cast full-time in Season 17. Richard Flood, aka Dr. Cormack Hayes, aka McWidow, has also been bumped up to series regular, which means the love triangle between him, Meredith, and DeLuca could continue for some time yet. The casting was confirmed by showrunner Krista Vernoff in July.
DeLuca has been diagnosed with Bipolar 1. Due to Grey's Anatomy Season 16 ending early, we didn't get to find out directly what had been going on with DeLuca for the past several episodes. However, it was revealed during a conversation between DeLuca's sister Carina (Stefania Spampinato) and Maya (Danielle Savre) on Station 19 that DeLuca had been diagnosed with the same condition as his father — Bipolar 1.
Carina is heading to Station 19. Speaking of Carina and Maya, the former character is moving over to Station 19 as the two characters reunited in the Station 19 Season 3 finale after a nasty fight. We'll get to see more of their love story play out, though you can probably still expect Carina to pop up on Grey's Anatomy every now and again as well.
It's unclear how much Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 will overlap this season. Fans saw a lot more crossover between Grey's and its spin-off Station 19 in Season 17 and Season 3 of the respective series, with at least one Grey's cast member showing up in every episode of Station 19. However, the pandemic skewed the timelines, with Station 19 able to complete its full season and get a little ahead of Grey's. “I think for the most part, people enjoyed it and it expanded the number of characters we could write for,” Vernoff told TV Guide back in May before the writers rooms had convened for either series' next season. At that point she wasn't sure how much overlap the shows would have going forward, but admitted she was content with the format they had come up with. “I wish I had a more satisfying answer. I don't have a plan, but I was pretty happy with what we did this year.”
Amelia and Link will not name their baby Derek. According to a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Krista Vernoff shut down the theory that Amelia and Link might name their baby boy after her beloved older brother. There was a line of dialogue that was cut where Link made the suggestion and Amelia said no because she didn't want to burst into tears every time she looked at her son.