May the die-hard Grey’s Anatomy fans in the back pipe down? Because we have to discuss Dr. Deluca, Meredith Grey’s newest suitor. Played by Giancomo Gianniotti, Deluca has been on Grey’s since season 11, when he started as a surgical intern. At this point, playing an intern on this show is like an extended audition for the show itself: You get a season (or two) to try your hand at being a Grey’s favorite. If the fans enjoy you, you get to stick around. If they don’t — or if the Rhimesian jury doesn’t rule in your favor — you’re out. Deluca, thankfully, got the former.
Andrew Deluca first arrived on Grey’s Anatomy late in the eleventh season, just as Patrick Dempsey’s time on the show came to a close. This was a key season for Grey’s: It followed Sandra Oh’s dramatic departure in season 10, and it marked the beginning of the end of Sara Ramirez’s tenure on the show. In other words, season 11 was the part when the old guard of Grey’s started passing the baton to the new. That’s why Deluca seems like the most possible new love interest for Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). He entered just as Meredith Grey’s closest confidantes left the scene.
He first appeared in the episode “Time Stops,” the episode before Derek Shepherd dies. His entrance was dramatic, echoing that of Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd). As the hospital admits patients from a tunnel collapse, Deluca emerges from one of the rescue vehicles. He was on his way to work at Grey Sloan Memorial when he saw the accident, he said, and he joined the rescue brigade.
“I’m a doctor,” he says, “actually, a surgeon.” Oh, hello there! (He was also wearing a suit at this time.) Because he looked official in his suit, the doctors assumed Deluca was an attending, not an intern. He was later outed, and this led to some gentle ostracizing from his fellow interns. Honestly, at this point, we should have known: Deluca would be one of the interns who played with the big kids.
The interns in Grey’s are sometimes more like set pieces, floating around the show just to create atmosphere. The ones who stand out are the ones who become enmeshed in the greater Grey’s cast. Once upon a time, Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) was just an intern. Then, she fell in love with Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), one of the few characters who has been on the show since day one. Because of her turbulent relationship with Alex, Jo stuck around; she’s officially an attending doctor at Grey Sloan now, right alongside her husband Dr. Karev.
Deluca quickly became friends with Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw, otherwise known as Steven Spielberg’s stepdaughter), and he moved in with her, officially joining the ranks of Interns Who Infiltrated The Attendings.
In the seasons between his entry (really the tail end of season 11) and now, Deluca has been a mildly interesting set piece. He dallied with Meredith’s sister Maggie (Kelly McCreary) briefly, but he ended things after he decided he wanted to keep things professional. (When have any characters on this show ever wanted to keep things professional?) Then, his ex-flame Sam Bello (Jeanine Mason, soon to appear on The CW’s Roswell) arrived at the hospital, and he backslid into a relationship because, well, Grey’s likes to keep things messy.
Deluca’s reputation is this: He’s passionate, handsome, and a bit of an idiot. In the season 14 finale, he drunkenly took the stage at Jo’s wedding, where he rambled about his heart being torn apart, a reference to his broken relationship with Sam. And who stepped in to save the day? Why, Meredith Grey, the person who eventually plays mom to everyone on this show.
“Andrew, I know we don’t know each other well,” she told him. “But I do know how much it sucks to lose the person you love. And I know that Sam wouldn’t want you spending your time drowning in pain.”
Deluca then kisses her. Meredith waves the kiss away, but she does tell him that she was “flattered” by it.
Now, the season 15 promo contained a misleading clip of Meredith kissing Deluca in bed — this ended up being a part of Meredith’s imagination. This doesn’t mean they won’t eventually end up in bed together for real. It just means, for now, Deluca is a fantasy, someone the show is toying with promoting from series regular to Meredith Grey’s Love Interest.
After all, this is what showrunner Krista Vernoff said about Meredith’s potential love interest:
Complicated enough to add a churlish Dr. Deluca to the mix? Only Vernoff knows, and, knowing Grey’s, the truth will be shocking, funny, and accompanied by a soft acoustic cover.