Ellen Pompeo is donning her Meredith Grey scrubs for the first time since the pandemic began
Production for the upcoming, 17th season of Grey’s Anatomy is underway, and not only will the new season tackle the coronavirus pandemic, but it’ll be created with some very special people in mind. In a new Instagram post, Ellen Pompeo announced she’s dedicating the new season to healthcare workers.
“First time back in my scrubs,” Pompeo captioned a selfie of her and co-star Richard Flood, who plays Dr. Cormac Hayes, wearing N95 surgical masks and scrubs.
“Since we shut down filming 7000 healthcare workers have died from Covid,” she continued. “I dedicate my season 17 to all who have fallen and to every one of you who by the grace of God is still standing.” Pompeo channeled her inner Meredith Grey this spring by calling out “TV doctors” like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, who were spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
Earlier this summer, showrunners confirmed that season 17 will feature art imitating life during the pandemic. “We’re going to address this pandemic for sure,” said Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Krista Vernoff said during a television panel . “There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes.”
Vernoff and the team of Grey’s Anatomy writers spent time off from the show creating new story arcs — with the help of doctors who have been working on the front lines of the pandemic.
“The doctors come in, and we’re the first people they’re talking to about these types of experiences they’re having,” she says. “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. And that’s been one of our big conversations about Owen [Kevin McKidd’s Dr. Owen Hunt, who served in the Army], that he’s actually trained for this in a way that most of the other doctors aren’t.”
After spending time listening to healthcare workers describe their ordeal working through the height of the ongoing pandemic, Vernoff said the painful experience led to the decision to make the current health crisis part of the new season. “I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories,” she said.
As for Pompeo, she concluded her sentiment with a nod to the healthcare heroes who are tirelessly working to keep people safe and healthy while risking their own health in return:
“This season is for you with humility and a bit of humor to get us through and endless amounts of gratitude. I hope we do you proud.”