‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘This Is Us’ & More Shows With Concrete Coronavirus Plans

TV Shows 2020 2021 Season Coronavirus Storyline
ABC/Kelsey McNeal; Sam Lothridge/CBS; NBC

Art sometimes imitates real life, and in the cases of some shows in the 2020-2021 season, it will do just that when it comes to the cause for production shutdowns across the board in March.

We already know of several shows with concrete plans to incorporate the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected people globally, into their new seasons — and not just medical dramas, like Grey’s Anatomy and The Resident. At least one procedural, a family-centered drama, and a comedy have plans in place already to address the virus’ effects on their characters.

Scroll down to find out what to expect and when these series plan to pick up in the pandemic.

Coronavirus Storyline The Good Doctor Season 4
ABC/Jack Rowand

The Good Doctor

The ABC medical drama is kicking off its fourth season with a two-part premiere that includes the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Storyline Grey's Anatomy Season 17
ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Grey's Anatomy

The ABC medical drama will begin its 17th season “a month and a half into full COVID,” series star Giacomo Gianniotti (who plays Dr. Andrew DeLuca) has revealed, adding that as medical professionals in a hospital, they’ll be able to wear “full” personal protective equipment.

Showrunner Krista Vernoff previously explained they have “an opportunity and a responsibility to tell” the stories of the real-life doctors’ whose experiences they’re hearing about in the writers room. “They’re talking about it as war — a war that they were not trained for,” she added, which is why former Army surgeon Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) is “actually trained for this in a way that most of the other doctors aren’t.”

Coronavirus Storyline NCIS New Orleans Season 7
Sam Lothridge/CBS

NCIS: New Orleans

At least one procedural drama will also feature a COVID-related storyline. The Season 7 premiere will be about the pandemic, with coroner Dr. Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder) at the heart of the story when someone she’d advised about protection from the virus ends up in her morgue.

Coronavirus Storyline The Resident Season 4
Miranda Penn Turin/FOX

The Resident

Season 4 kicks off with “the early days of the outbreak, focusing on the effect on our hero doctors and nurses as they risk their lives daily,” cocreator Amy Holden Jones has said. The Fox medical drama will also deal with the after-effects of the virus.

Coronavirus Storyline Shameless Season 11
Brian Bowen Smith/SHOWTIME


The long-running Showtime series may be a comedy, but executive producer John Wells isn’t going to ignore the pandemic. He even did some rewriting to include it in the upcoming final season, revealing several of the Gallaghers will get COVID-19. “It’s impossible to do a satirical comedy about the working poor without addressing what happened and what is going to happen to that community,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “The challenge, of course, is making it feel funny because there’s not much that’s funny about it.”

Coronavirus Storyline This Is Us Season 5

This Is Us

The NBC drama will “attack things head on” when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic in Season 5, executive producer Dan Fogelman shared on Twitter. However, no specific details have been revealed just yet.

“I think they want to give themselves the leeway and the freedom to bring some of that in, if it makes sense, but everything is changing so quickly,” Mandy Moore (who plays the Pearsons’ matriarch Rebecca) had told TV Insider about the subject. “So I’m curious to see how we’re going to address that, because I don’t see how we couldn’t in some way.”