The new season will address the coronavirus pandemic.

Olivia Harvey
Sep 09, 2020 @ 10:48 am
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Bonnie Osborne, ABC

The doctors are back on call. Grey's Anatomy Season 17 has begun shooting after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the set to shut down earlier this year. Now, Ellen Pompeo is sharing a behind-the-scenes photo from the set to get us excited for (eventual) new episodes.

The cast and crew had four episodes left to film for Season 16, but showrunner Krista Vernoff told Entertainment Weekly that some restructuring had to be done to incorporate the current global crisis, and as star Pompeo announced, Season 17 is dedicated to those who have fought and are still fighting COVID-19.

"First time back in my scrubs..." Pompeo captioned a September 8th post from the Grey's set.

"Since we shut down filming 7000 healthcare workers have died from Covid. 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... 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."

Pompeo's costar Giacomo Gianniotti told EW, "Our producers are all rapidly trying to implement all of these protocols to keep everybody safe," referring to coronavirus safety guidelines implemented by the CDC and Surgeon General.

"We're obviously going to be tested multiple times a week and sort of separated in zones," he continued. "We're going to have a lot less personnel on set...We're uniquely lucky that we get to wear PPE [personal protective equipment] because we play doctors, so for other shows that aren't in the doctor world I really feel for them because that's an added challenge that they have to face."

Season 17 of Grey's Anatomy will take place a bit beyond where Season 16 left off. New episodes have been written to focus on how the pandemic affects healthcare workers, and some previous storylines from Season 16 will be referenced in flashback, Vernoff said.

This new season probably won't be easy to watch due to the fact that it hits close to home for many, but as Vernoff said during a virtual panel in July, "Our conversations have been constantly about how do we keep alive humor and romance while we tell these really painful stories."

And knowing that Grey's Anatomy has done just that time and time again, we have faith that this upcoming season will be just as perfectly poignant and heartfelt as the seasons that came before it.