Ellen Pompeo Opens Up About Grey's Anatomy's 'Huge Responsibility'

Grey's Anatomy has been an emotional rollercoaster from its very first episode, but the latest season has been particularly rough as it has focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to portray the ongoing pandemic was one that showrunner Krista Vernoff struggled with but eventually realized was necessary.

"To be the biggest medical show and ignore the biggest medical story of the century felt irresponsible to the medical community," she told The Hollywood Reporter's TV's Top 5 podcast. "It just felt like we had to tell this story. The conversation became: How do we tell this painful and brutal story that has hit our medical community so intensely and permanently changed medicine? And create some escapism? And create romance, comedy and joy and fun? That's the challenge this season."

The show's star, Ellen Pompeo, agrees that it's important for Grey's Anatomy to explore the pandemic. Her character, Meredith Grey, was diagnosed with COVID-19 early in the season.

Ellen Pompeo said Grey's Anatomy has a 'huge responsibility' to explore the pandemic

Pompeo spoke to People (the TV Show!) about the difficulties healthcare workers are facing during the pandemic, and why it was so critical for Grey's Anatomy to share their story. "It's really serious what they're going through, and if we could put a face on those faceless healthcare workers... people just hear about them, or they see them behind masks," she said. "Even though we are behind masks, so many people are familiar with our show, and that was something to take seriously. It was a huge responsibility. We were so eager to take it on. I have to say, everybody on the show, all the actors, are super dedicated to it, and really, really excited about getting something so meaningful to portray this season."

Pompeo added that, ideally, the pandemic wouldn't exist, but as it does it needs to be explored on the show. "These healthcare workers gave it to us this season, so we feel really grateful to be able to tell the stories of these healthcare workers," she said.