Episode 7 of season 17 of “Grey’s Anatomy”, which yesterday marked the return of the series to the United States on ABC after a three-month hiatus, was marked by the death of one of the heroes. The actor and the showrunneuse reacted to this unexpected death.
Warning, this article contains spoilers on season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy, still unpublished in France on TF1. If you don’t want to know anything, don’t read on!
For his big comeback last night in the United States on ABC, after a three-month hiatus, season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy gave us a midseason premiere shock – and rich in emotion – that fans will not soon forget.
This episode, the seventh in the batch, entitled “Helplessly Hoping”, was indeed marked by the death of Andrew DeLuca, played by Giacomo Gianniotti since season 11. A tragic death, but also heroic, on which the actor and the showrunner of the series, Krista Vernoff, returned to the microphone of TVLine.
After the events of the latest episode, proposed last December, which saw the resurgence of Opal (Stephanie Kurtzuba), the woman suspected of trafficking in human beings, DeLuca and her sister Carina launched in pursuit of her in the episode of Station 19 which formed, last night, a double crossover with Grey’s Anatomy.
A frantic race against time that ended in dramatic fashion as, although Opal could be stopped, Andrew was stabbed by an individual working alongside the criminal and had to be rushed to Gray Sloan. Where, unfortunately, despite Owen and Teddy’s best efforts, the young doctor died on the operating table.
But not without having found Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) for the very last time on the famous beach where the spirit of the heroine of the series has been blocked for several episodes, while she is fighting against the coronavirus. And also his mother, who died when he was a child.
A tragic plot that imposed itself on Krista Vernoff
In an interview with the American website TVLine, Krista Vernoff explained how the authors came to the conclusion that Andrew DeLuca must die. “I start each season by walking alone in nature, and the different plots are revealed to me”, says the showrunner of Grey’s Anatomy.
“This plot is the first, and the most powerful, to take shape in my head. I knew exactly what we were going to do and why we were going to do it.” But killing a character as beloved as DeLuca has not been easy for the producer and writer of the series: “It was difficult. I almost fell back several times during the season”.
Ultimately, Andrew’s death was important to the writers because it helped show the evolution of the character and offered him a heroic way out. While recalling that, in the middle of the Covid-19 epidemic which has been mourning the planet for a year now, people continue to die every day in equally sad or dramatic circumstances.
“There had never been any question of killing [DeLuca en fin de saison dernière]”, explains Krista Vernoff when TVLine asks her about the crisis that the character went through at the end of season 16 because of his bipolar disorder. “We had to make him overcome all that, it seemed essential to us that he survived this. We wanted to show that he could come out stronger and become an effective member of the medical team again.”.
“Honestly, I think one of the reasons for this intrigue is that every time we heard about a tragedy on the news or in the press during this pandemic, it seemed extremely shocking and hard to take. We wondered a little “how is it possible that the other tragedies do not end?” “She adds.
“DeLuca did not die from Covid, he died from something totally unrelated to it. People continue to kidnap children for money or for sex trafficking, and this man risked everything to prevent that. He couldn’t let this woman get away with it again, and unfortunately he got stabbed. That’s how this story was born. Even though we all have to deal with this pain and trauma. [du Covid], other horrible things keep happening in parallel “.
Giacomo Gianniotti reacts to Andrew’s death
After six seasons in the series, Giacomo Gianniotti, who was revealed by Grey’s Anatomy after a few appearances in Reign or The Murdoch Investigations, had to say goodbye to Andrew. But the Italian-Canadian comedian explains to TVLine that he was rather excited at the idea of telling this latest plot, which made it possible to show DeLuca in a light. “courageous” and do it “to die as a hero”.
“At the end of the day, I’m here to tell stories”, explains Gianniotti. “Whether you’re an actor or a director – and I just directed my first episode of Grey’s Anatomy – it’s always the story that comes first”.
Andrew’s death also puts an end to his relationship with Meredith, but according to Giacomo Gianniotti, the Covid, which plunged the character of Ellen Pompeo into a coma at the start of the season, had got the better of their story anyway. ‘love.
“At the start of the season, there was the possibility for them to see if there was still a way to rekindle their romance. But Meredith ends up catching the Covid, and all of that is put aside. All that matters is saving her. (…) But it was a very important relationship for both of them. I have met people in my life who have lost their mate – like Meredith did with Derek – and had to move on. They met, fell in love, but there was still this void in their hearts that could not be filled. Nothing, and no one, could replace the being they had lost. So I think it was wonderful to see Meredith find Derek in her dreams “.
What if Giacomo Gianniotti admits that he would have liked to see Andrew’s evolution as a doctor “who no longer has to obey a superior”, and that he wished he could continue to tell the story of a bipolar character in a work like DeLuca’s, in order to show that “things are possible” for people with such a disorder, it doesn’t close the door to other Andrew appearances in the Season 17 sequel.
“We could see DeLuca again in the future. There are possibilities of appearances later in the season.”. But according to Krista Vernoff, who ensures that Andrew’s death will have a significant impact on the other characters, and in particular on one of the doctors who will be “broken” by his death, a possible return of DeLuca should not be on the beach. So, will we see him again through flashbacks? Dreams ? The bets are open.
The heroes of Grey’s Anatomy mourn DeLuca in the teaser for the next episode: