In a new panel interview with the Television Academy, the ABC show's executive producer Krista Vernoff, joined by Grey's Anatomy stars Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey) and Kevin McKidd (Dr. Owen Hunt), revealed that Grey's Anatomy season 17 will be centered around COVID-19, and mirror much of the turmoil and challenges that face doctors in our world today.
"We're going to address this pandemic for sure," said Vernoff. "There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes."
While filming for the show continues to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vernoff said that as they do every year, the writers still met with real-life doctors in order to inspire the sometimes funny, sometimes difficult situations and cases that the medical drama's beloved characters encounter. But according to the producer, this year the writing team was faced with much more of the latter.
"It has felt more like therapy," Vernoff said. "The doctors come in and we’re the first people they’re talking to about these types of experiences they’re having. 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."
It's safe to say that like many shows inspired and affected by the current world events, season 17 will be unlike any other for Dr. Grey, Dr. Hunt, and their colleagues. But what will likely sets Grey's apart is that it looks like it will be a vessel for doctors to tell and document their stories, spreading more awareness and empathy for those who have been working tirelessly on the front lines.