Kim Raver Teases 'a Lot of Comedy' in 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 16

Michael Maloney
KEVIN MCKIDD, KIM RAVER
Q&A ABC/Kelsey McNeal

She’s known for her many TV dramas (24, Third Watch) and especially for her run as Dr. Teddy Altman on Grey’s Anatomy, but Kim Raver’s a fan of comedy, too. Watch for some of that to pop up this season when the long-running medical drama returns for its 16th (!) season September 26 with an episode titled, "Nothing Left to Cling To."

TV Insider caught up with Raver at the ABC summer Television Critics Association press tour party and chatted with her about what viewers can expect to see this season for Teddy now that she’s a new mom. Might the actress, who put on a director’s hat earlier this year at Lifetime, start directing at Grey’s?

Read on to get the scoop!

We left off last season with Teddy and Owen (Kevin McKidd) bonding with their newborn daughter while Tom (Greg Germann) was at home setting up the crib. There’s heartache ahead for someone!

Kim Raver: And a lot of comedy, too. [This season] is quintessential Grey’s Anatomy. Krista Vernoff, our executive producer, has managed to bring everything we love about Grey’s Anatomy to the premiere, spring-boarding off the finale from last season. There were moments we had at the table read for the premiere where we were like ‘Oh, my God! What’s happening?’ to ‘No, that can’t be!’ to ‘Yes!’ It’s quintessential Grey’s.

(ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

Hiatuses can sometimes last a few months. How long does it take you to get back into Teddy’s skin?

Not long at all. I felt like I landed from a trip that I’d taken the night before. I fall right back into her.

Without giving too much away, what can you say about this upcoming season?

[Laughs] Nothing! No, what I will say is where last season there was a triangle going on that became a quadrangle now, we have more of an amazing situation where we’re trying to figure out what’s next for Teddy. You’ve seen her as this badass cardiothoracic surgeon, but yet never as a mother. We thought it’d be great see how she’s managing her different relationships and how she’s going to manage motherhood.

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The actor also teases what to expect from Levi and Nico in Season 16.

Does being a mom in real life give you an advantage in playing Teddy as a mom?

I have two teenage boys, but I think anything in life is something that you can draw on. If you’re directing, you don’t have to be a parent to know how to direct [an actor who is playing one]. You get into the essence of what’s happening for that character. Yes, because I’m a mother and I know what the insanity of having a newborn is like, I’m able to draw on all that to play Teddy. But I think people who do not have children are able to draw on something else in their lives to inform them [in their work].

(ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

Does having Owen’s baby give her an edge in winning his heart — if that’s what she even wants?

I don’t know. Teddy is going to be figuring out what is the best relationship for her and her new child. I think that is going to go through many different amalgamations over the season, which will be quintessential Grey’s. There will be comedy and maybe heartache… maybe not?

It sounds like you like doing the comedy?

I do. I love it. I’m having so much fun. Krista’s so good at it, balancing the comedy and the drama.

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But comedy’s very different on a drama than it is on, say, a traditional sitcom. How would you describe the difference?

I think the comedy on Grey’s Anatomy is very real and it’s based on the situation of what the characters are dealing with in the moment.

How was your experience directing for the Lifetime movie Tempting Fate?  

It was incredible. Everyone was so supportive. I loved every minute of it! I loved being able to tell a story from a different perspective while using everything I’ve learned as an actor.

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But will the new relationship be as successful as Bailey and Ben's?

Might you direct at Grey’s?

Maybe.

They’re aware of your interest?

Yes. Exactly.

Grey’s Anatomy, Season 16 premiere, Thursday, September 26, 8/7c