'Grey's Anatomy's Jaicy Elliot Says Everything's 'Upside Down' in Season 16

JAICY ELLIOT
Q&A
ABC/Byron Cohen

Well, there's one doctor Alex (Justin Chambers) would have a hard time recruiting for Pac North on Grey's Anatomy — unless he has one Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) in his back pocket.

Amid the staff changes at Grey Sloan, Jaicy Elliot says Taryn Helm isn't going anywhere. But will she ever be able to work alongside her idol once again? Meredith faces the medical board in what Elliot calls a "very exciting" episode Thursday.

Here, Elliot discusses the recent changes at the hospital, her character's thoughts on Meredith's recent actions, and more.

How is Taryn dealing with all the shake-ups at Grey Sloan?

Jaicy Elliot: For any of the residents, it's disappointing because they came to Grey Sloan Memorial to be at Grey Sloan Memorial with its people because they're all legends at this point. Specifically for Taryn, as long as she has Meredith by her side, she's okay. Hopefully that doesn't change. It's definitely a season that shakes everything upside down. It brings turmoil within the residents.

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Would Taryn move to Pac North if she had the chance?

Taryn would go anywhere Meredith would go. If Meredith can no longer be a doctor, the way that Taryn exists in my mind, she would want to stay at Grey Sloan because it's the name of Grey Sloan. It's what it is. It's what it represents. It's who it's created. It comes with a whole history. That's important for her.

If she found another mentor that would take her to Pac North, she'd maybe do that, but as of right now, I don't see her excited about Pac North. It also doesn't have the technology she would want to use. It doesn't have the advanced possibilities. But it might grow into something. I'm rooting for Karev. I hope he makes it into what he's hoping for.

(ABC/Eric McCandless)

So Meredith's recent actions — the insurance fraud, that article — haven't changed Taryn's perspective of her, right?

No. She feels very much in love with her. One of the things Taryn likes about Meredith is that she is all about the work and helping people and it doesn't really matter how she gets there. That's a badass move. The whole package. She's beautiful. She's caring. She's super smart. She's strong. She's very good at what she does. And she goes the extra mile. If anything, that makes her admire Meredith even more.

In this week's episode, Meredith faces the medical board. How does Taryn feel watching this woman she looks up to facing possibly not returning to medicine?

The way Taryn deals with it is maybe denial a little bit. She's hoping all of this will blow over.

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It looks like everyone's coming together for this.

Yeah. Everyone's there. In that sense, everyone's going to give their point of view. As much as a fan of the show myself and as Taryn, what I've seen and what I feel is there's a lot of respect for Meredith and how much humanity she has.

Will we learn more about Taryn this season?

This year is bringing more information about Taryn definitely. I'm excited about the direction she's taking. But what I'm mostly excited about more than her personal life is her career. She lives to be a doctor and that's really exciting for her and me.

(ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

She gets in on a few surgeries. She got in on that one surgery that she was competing with DeLuca and she didn't do a great job, but that was a very advanced surgery. People might be open to giving her more chances this season, which is very cool. I also love doing these surgery scenes, so the more the better.

How do you think she's changed the most since we first met her?

This is her third year, and she's now become a resident. It's funny because there are so many parallels between Taryn and myself in my real life. We started at the same time in a big institution.

This year, Taryn just has a little more of a defined space. She's a little more comfortable. She's just that much more confident because it's her third year and she knows the people and she's familiar with the hierarchy and she has her mentor and she has her friends and she doesn't have to be as competitive anymore even though she still does that.

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Overall, she's just a little more established within herself. I think she feels more legitimate of a doctor also.

And Grey's is reaching quite the milestone in the 350th episode. What can you say about that episode?

It's a fun episode. It's a lot of different stories within stories. We had a lot of fun reading it. I'm actually really excited to see it.

(ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

How would Taryn handle being out in the field in the middle of one of the major crossover emergencies with Station 19?

What I would want for her is to have the courage to step up and be as involved as she thinks she wants to be. It feels like she's always a little frustrated with not being already a doctor. Also, she doesn't have as much knowledge as she thinks she does, so that's something. But if she was in a situation like that, I hope for her that she steps up and makes it into a hero moment. That would be fun for her. It would also make her more confident.

Grey's Anatomy, Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC