How Sandra Oh Snuck A Massive Cameo Into The Chair

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Slight spoilers are ahead. The day before Sandra Oh's newest series, The Chair, dropped on Netflix, the actress posted a sentimental tribute to her former role as she welcomed in a new one. The video clip showed one of her last moments as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, in which she exits her office as Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and her first as Ji-Yoon Kim, entering her office as the newly-appointed English Department chair.
Together, the bookend-like moments feel like a little unintentional Easter egg for fans of Oh's work. But that isn't the only fun morsel that's tucked inside The Chair. And in fact, according to Oh, the real Easter egg was similarly kind of unplanned.
During the first episode, "Brilliant Mistake," Habi (played by Lee Ji-Yong) tells Ji-Yoon in the kitchen about concerns that his granddaughter JuJu's (Everly Carganilla) teachers have about her. But before they even get to that, Ji-Yoon notices that her father still has an old picture of her and her ex on fridge. She rips it off and asks him to get rid of it. The exchange is only about a few seconds long, but eagle-eyed viewers might notice that the "ex" is the photo is none other than Hawaii-Five-O's Daniel Dae Kim.
Courtesy of Netflix
Yes, please take a moment to process that. That means that somewhere in the The Chair universe, Ji-Yoon aka Sandra Oh and Dr. Peter Seung aka Daniel-Freaking-Dae-Kim were together as a hot college professor couple, and now he's in Michigan teaching classes and being handsome and crying behind his handsome professor glasses as he pines over his ex-love. The spinoff truly writes itself. Oh, however shared with Refinery29 that casting Kim as Ji-Yoon's ex was basically a fluke.
"When it was like, 'Oh, we need someone to play Dr. Peter Seung, we need someone,' they said, 'Sandra, do you have a picture of you and a handsome Korean guy?'" Oh, laughing, picks up her phone and mimes scrolling through her phone's photo album. "'Well, I have one with Daniel!' It was like we needed a prop. Isn't that hilarious?"
"You're making this thing so quickly," she continues. "For me to go find a local actor or a guy who's handsome and have a whole photo shoot with them just so we can put it up? So I just took it from my phone and I just texted Daniel, 'Daniel, can I please use our picture?' And he goes, 'Yeah, sure.'"
Unfortunately, that's all we see of Peter, though we finally get the details of their breakup in the finale. When Peter was hired in Michigan, the school didn't make Ji-Yoon a competitive offer as a spousal hire, so they tried long-distance, but he eventually met someone else. Ji-Yoon decided to work through the heartache and had her pick of tenure at a dozen schools, but she stayed at Pembroke, the school that helped mold her.
Now that the seed has been planted in our minds, it will honestly be difficult to shake this beautiful fantasy couple (no offense to Bill/Jay Duplass). Manifesting a season 2 cameo.

More from TV

R29 Original Series