Where We Pick Up With Meredith/Hayes & More ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Pairs in Season 18

James Pickens Jr as Richard, Chandra Wilson as Bailey in Grey's Anatomy
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Even for a medical soap that thrives on tears, angst and broken hearts, last season was a gut punch: The show’s beloved mainstay, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), spent months in a COVID-related coma. Her ex Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) died heroically. And veteran surgeons Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) and Tom Koracick (Greg Germann) left Grey Sloan Memorial to work at the Catherine Fox Foundation. Thank heavens for the nuptials of Mer’s half sister Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) and Winston Ndugu (Anthony Hill) in the finale!

Here, Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Meg Marinis preps us to scrub in for Season 18.

  • In the opener, an influx of patients flood the hospital after Seattle hosts a citywide summer celebration. “Everyone goes all out in an attempt to return to their pre-pandemic lives,” Marinis says. Surgery chief Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) focuses on filling job vacancies.
  • Finally free of her long-haul health problems, Meredith, the newly appointed residency program director, is “energized and devoted to her career,” says Marinis. Her date with Irish widower Cormac Hayes (Richard Flood) remains delayed. “Meredith is not looking for a new relationship now,” says Marinis, teasing the possibility of better timing down the road.
  • Ellis Grey (Kate Burton), Meredith’s late mother, wasn’t among the dearly departed seen in Mer’s coma dreams, but she will return to haunt her. The hypercritical Ellis “represents a voice in Meredith’s head that makes her feel like she’s never enough,” Marinis says. “Post-COVID, she will again have to overcome this fear.”


  • Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) and Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) “went through the emotional washing machine” after he discovered her infidelity on their wedding day, Marinis admits, but they’re “solid” now that he’s reproposed. Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) rejecting Atticus “Link” Lincoln’s (Chris Carmack) heartfelt proposal, however, has left the coparents’ relationship “definitely shaky.”
  • Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) will struggle to balance her ob-gyn residency with raising adopted daughter Luna. “We want to show what it’s like for a new mom with a stressful job,” says Marinis. “It will be heartbreaking, funny and very real!”

Grey’s Anatomy, Season 18 Premiere, Thursday, September 30, 9/8c, ABC

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2021 Returning Favorites issue. For more inside scoop on the new fall TV season, pick up the issue, on newsstands now.