Grey’s Anatomy‘s future is up in the air, but that doesn’t mean the show isn’t plowing ahead anyway. The tumultuous 17th season began with Meredith’s collapse and has spent all season sending characters in and out of the ER. But even with a coronavirus pandemic-fueled season arc, fans weren’t prepared to lose yet another lead character. But there’s good news for those who weren’t ready to say goodbye so soon. Showrunner Krista Vernoff says DeLuca will be in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 after his death in the mid-season premiere.
Warning: Spoilers for Grey’s Anatomy Season 17, Episode 7 follow. There was a time when Grey Anatomy killed off characters as easily as Game of Thrones. From Teddy’s husband, Henry Burton, to Derek’s shocking death after his marriage to Meredith, there have been many love interests who haven’t made it. But in more recent times, the show has gone easier on taking down leading characters, letting them go off into the wild blue yonder rather than to the grave.
Until the mid-season premiere of Season 17, when the series decided to off Meredith’s latest love interest, Dr. Andrew DeLuca, with a stab wound. It was extra tough because Meredith isn’t the only one directly connected to him. DeLuca’s sister Carina is another long-time character fans know well. (She’s technically on Station 19 now instead of Grey’s Anatomy, but the continuing crossover episodes made it possible for her to have an extended guest spot.)
But even though DeLuca may be gone from this life, actor Giacomo Gianniotti’s time on the show isn’t quite over yet.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Vernoff said it was a hard decision to kill off DeLuca, but it felt necessary to show that other tragedies don’t stop just because there’s a pandemic on. "It was like, "What?! Isn’t COVID enough? But everything else didn’t stop because of COVID, and we were all having to process other things, too, and horrible tragedies that come with life." said Vernoff. "That’s part of where this story was born. All these people are going to die of COVID but also sometimes other people just die."
Moreover, though DeLuca’s final moments of Meredith’s mental beach walking away with his mother were "powerful closure," fans shouldn’t be surprised if he turns up again. Gianniotti concurred. "Maybe there’s flashbacks or other scenarios where we can see DeLuca. That’s about all I can say."
Meanwhile, the fate of Grey’s Anatomy overall remains in question. Fans will have to keep tuning in to see if Season 17 turns out to be the last.
Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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