Ellen Pompeo Says ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Could Be ‘Less Preachy’ on Social Issues

Ellen Pompeo on Grey's Anatomy
ABC/Liliane Lathan

Ellen Pompeo admits Grey’s Anatomy could do a better job of tackling social issues, stating that the long-running ABC medical drama could be “less sort of preachy” with the way it approaches those topics.

Speaking on the latest episode of her Tell Me podcast, Pompeo, who stars in and executive produces the hit series, said, “I think if I had any desire, honestly, it would be to be less sort of preachy in one episode about certain things.”

Expanding on what she means, Pompeo explained, “It’s like, we do one episode about let’s see… Asian hate crimes is one that we did this past season that was really moving. I think I’d like to see things happen a little more subtly and over time. You know, consistently and less sort of hit you over the head for just one hour and then we never talk about it again.”

Across its 18 seasons, the characters at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital have tackled issues such as gun violence, domestic abuse, abortion, mental health, alcoholism, PTSD, and sexual assault. However, these topics are often featured in single one-off episodes rather than story arcs across multiple episodes/seasons.

Pompeo added, “I wish we could touch on these social issues that are important and have them be threads throughout.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that Pompeo would be scaling back her work on Grey’s, appearing in only eight episodes in the upcoming season. She will, however, still be the narrator for all Season 19 episodes (which could be a total of 22) and executive produce. This comes after the Golden Globe-nominated actress landed a starring role in Hulu’s limited series Orphan, inspired by Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace and her US adoptive parents, who claimed that she was an adult ‘sociopath’ pretending to be a child.

Grey’s Anatomy, Season 19 Premiere, Thursday, October 6, 9/8c, ABC