Separate character pages:
- Former Main Characters. note
- Seaside Health and Wellness (Private Practice) Characters. note
- Seattle Fire Department Station 19 Characters.note
- Supporting Characters. note
Grey Sloan Attendings
Dr. Meredith Grey (Portrayed by Ellen Pompeo)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S1-present); The Video Game; Station 19 (S1)
Meredith Grey is the Narrator for the series, giving a voice-over dialogue for every episode (with very few exceptions). Daughter of a world-famous surgeon, she has been dogged by allegations of nepotism—especially after she also found out that she was sleeping with her boss, also-world-class neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd. The show follows her adventures as she attempts to navigate the world of internship (and eventually residency) at Seattle-Grace Hospital. As the star of a medical drama, Meredith deals with a lot of crap.
- Abusive Parents:
- Ellis Grey was extremely negligent and incredibly harsh to Meredith. As Alzheimer's sets in, we get scenes of her yelling about how little she respects her daughter.
- Her father, Thatcher, flat-out abandoned them both in Meredith's childhood and again in adulthood.
- Aloof Big Sister: Is this to Lexie at first, but thaws the ice as the two grow closer.
- Broken Bird: Whooo boy! One has to wonder if Shonda Rimes has an enemy out there named Meredith Grey for all of the crappy things that happen to Meredith starting from before the show even starts, never mind what comes after.
- Character Development: In the fourth season, she starts talking therapy and begins to actually acknowledge and address her problems.
- Character Title: The show is called Grey's Anatomy for a reason.
- Cool Big Sis: Eventually evolves into this for Lexie.
- Disappeared Dad: Her dad abandoned Meredith and her mother when she was a child.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Meredith and tequila.
- The Eeyore: To the point she used to call herself "dark and twisted". Eventually with Character Development (and a little help from therapy) she grows out of it a good deal.
- Happily Married: To Derek. Initially anyway.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Cristina. So much that Meredith mentioned that she was the third wheel of her mariage, which is incidentally falling apart now that she left. She even wonders if she is the love of her life, but makes it clear she is not attracted to her at all in a sexual way.
- In-Series Nickname: Following her plane crash, she became a frightening attending, described as a monster of mythic proportions, awarding her the nickname of Medusa.
- It's All About Me: Constantly. To the point that she essentially monopolizes the grief over Derek's death. Worst offense though is probably the episode "Crash Into Me" where an ambulance has crashed and overturned, two paramedics suspended upside-down inside the rig, one of them dying. As Meredith watches his panicking wife weep and plead for him to stay with her, all she can think about is this:
- Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Before settling down with Derek.
- Love Triangle: With Derek and a variety of other men, such as Finn. Also with Derek and Addison.
- Missing Mom: Loses her biological mother in 3x17, though this allows her to bond with her father's new wife Susan. Then she dies six episodes later.
- Morality Pet:
- For Richard, who sees her as a daughter due to her being the child of the woman he loved as well as having seen her growing up from afar.
- Also for Alex. Though they were at odds with each other at first, Meredith eventually became one of the few people Alex would open up and talk to aside from Izzie (who was his Love Interest and who he had a Slap-Slap-Kiss relationship for the most part anyway). Indeed when he tells on Meredith on season eight, Cristina calls him on it by saying that he has just hurt the one person who ever cared about him.
- Platonic Life-Partners: with Alex, especially after Cristina leaves in season 10.
- Really Gets Around: Before her relationship with Derek stabilized, she was in the habit of getting drunk and picking up random men for one night stands.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Along with the other plane crash survivors to protest the sale to Pegasus.
- Trauma Conga Line: She's the star of a Medical Drama. What do you expect?
- To elaborate: she has a Disappeared Dad, a famous surgeon mother who was very cold towards her and believed her to be average. Then, when she joins Seattle Grace as a surgeon, she has to deal with even more hardships which stretch the lines of a medical soap opera. This includes stopping a bomb with her finger during surgery, witnessing her husband get shot, being held at gunpoint, miscarrying, losing her husband in a car crash, being assaulted by a patient. At one point, she died (though got better).
- "Well Done, Daughter" Gal: Toward her mother. Her father too, to a lesser extent.
- You All Meet in a Bar: How she met Derek.
Dr. Miranda Bailey (Portrayed by Chandra Wilson)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S1-present); Private Practice (S2-3); The Video Game; B-Team; Station 19 (S1)
- Black and Nerdy: If we're to believe the descriptions of her as a teenager: she was part of the school band, was smart enough to tutor other students and has some knowledge of science fiction which she retains to this day.
- Brutal Honesty:
- To the point people expect her to lay "The Reason You Suck" Speech lectures every time they do something wrong.
- When Burke asks her in episode two what she really thinks of his character, Bailey says she isn't supposed to, since he is her superior. He tells her she can be completely honest for the next 30 seconds. She proceeds to totally tear him down, and when he tries to interrupt, she says she still has a few seconds left.
- Character Development: When she has a heart attack and calls Ben over to the hospital after originally trying to face it alone.
- Deadpan Snarker: Nearly from her first appearance."I have five rules. Memorize them. Rule number one, don't bother sucking up. I already hate you, that's not gonna change."
- Heroic BSoD: After she accidentally gives several patients a staph infection, leading to their deaths. It's discovered that the gloves mandated by the Corrupt Corporate Executives at Pegasus Holdings were defective, but Bailey still takes it hard. Very hard.
- Hypocrite: At the end of Season 15 she fires Meredith, Alex and Richard when the first commits an insurance fraud and the other two cover for her, while Bailey herself in Season 10 treated a Bubble Boy against his parent's consent and this is not only illegal but also contrary to the Hippocratic Oath.
- In-Series Nickname: In fact, she earned two nicknames.
- She was once called "The Nazi", because she was the most severe doctor at the hospital. She didn't mind being called that, since she likes names that inspire terror. However, after her surgery on a racial supremacist (who had the Nazi swastika tattooed on his torso), she made it pretty clear that no one was allowed to call her that anymore.
- Beginning season 9, she has a new nickname, radically different from her ancient one: B.C.B, which stands for Booty Call Bailey. She is not amused when she discovers it.
- Mama Bear: Toward her son, Tuck, along with her former interns.
- Married to the Job: Almost literally, after her divorce from her husband.
- Not So Above It All: In earlier seasons she was usually portrayed as the Only Sane Man in a hospital full of relationship drama. Eventually Bailey got enough storylines that show that she can be just as quirky as any of the other characters. There's a very memorable scene of her plugging her nose and humming to the Scottish national anthem while high.
- Parental Favoritism: Played with. The interns are not actually her children, but she refers to them as such several times in later seasons, claiming to have raised them, and in season nine she admits to Grey she had a favorite among them: George O'Malley.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Miranda will drop everything to help Richard (including operating in emergency on Adele, Richard's wife, on her wedding day), and Richard is very protective of her. Their relation is so strong that Adele actually wondered if Richard didn't cheat on her with Miranda. Also, in season 9, Miranda takes it very hard when she believes Richard turned his back on her, something which pushed her even deeper into her massive Heroic BSoD.
- Runaway Bride: Was engaged to marry Ben. Didn't at first, because Adele came into the hospital, but eventually did.
- Sassy Black Woman: Has her moments.
- Second Love: With Dr. Ben Warren.
- Team Mom: To the interns, who she several times refers to as her "babies" or "children" (no, not always in a good way) and to an extent to the whole known hospital staff. If they have a problem or need some advice, they usually go to her, even knowing they might get lectured.
Dr. Richard Webber (Portrayed by James Pickens Jr.)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S1-present); Private Practice (S1-2); The Video Game; B-Team
The Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace, Dr. Webber is just as no-nonsense, and just as secretly-a-Team Dad, as Bailey is. A well-respected surgeon who has spent most of his career in Seattle, he also carried on a long-term affair with Meredith's mother Ellis, while his own wife Adele looked the other way. He is also the closest thing to a father figure Meredith has.
- The Alcoholic: Recovering but fell off the wagon in season six, he gets better.
- Badass Teacher: God help you if you ever threaten his hospital and his students.
- Cool Teacher: Was one to Miranda during her internship, and the two of them developed a strong relationship based on mutual respect and actual friendship.
- Da Chief: Stepped down in season six after falling off the wagon, and in season eight to take the fall for Meredith after she tampers with Derek's clinical trial.
- Henpecked Husband: There's very few people he's more straight up obedient towards than Adele.
- Long-Lost Relative: his daughter Maggie, the result of his affair with Ellis Grey.
- Love Triangle: Between Adele and Ellis. Notable for being part of his Backstory and for having gone on for a very long time.
- Married to the Job: So much that it was one of the reasons he neglected his wife.
- Missing Mom: We learn in season 13 that his mother died of pancreatic cancer when he was 10.
- Morality Pet: Meredith. As Derek notes, Richard is the picture of professionalism in all things regarding the hospital, except for when something concerns Meredith Grey.
- Not So Above It All: Despite being the Team Dad as well as Da Chief, and being one of the characters who most gives the "life lectures" Grey's is so well-known for, Richard has several moments of this.
Richard (to Alex, after catching him in the act of pulling pranks): You need to step up your game.
- He has quite the competitive side, and has entered several silly skill disputes, such as with Cristina in an early season.
- There is one instance where he helps Alex to pull off pranks on a male nurse who Alex really dislikes. He became quite more relaxed ever since he forwent his job as Chief of Surgery.
- Parental Substitute:
- To Meredith. Having an affair with her mother and contributing to her broken childhood by means of Bystander Syndrome is a source of deep guilt to him, and he has a strong fatherly and protective instinct towards her. It takes Meredith a while to fully accept it.
- To Jackson in later seasons, after marrying his mother Catherine. Interestingly, both Meredith and Jackson have desconstructed Richard's role as this in different occasions by reminding him that he is not their father, and Richard admitted as much, but reconstructed as their relationships still stand as this anyway.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Miranda will drop everything to help Richard (including operating in emergency on Adele, Richard's wife, on her wedding day), and Richard is very protective of her. Their relation is so strong that Adele actually wondered if Richard didn't cheat on her with Miranda. Also, in season 9, Miranda takes it very hard when she believes Richard turned his back on her, something which pushed her even deeper in her massive Heroic BSoD.
- Rage-Breaking Point: When he visits a bar after that trades in visitors sobriety chips in exchange for free shots. As a former alcoholic, he doesn't take it well. The bartender finds this out the hard way when he takes a bat and promptly smashes all the alcohol on tap.
- Team Dad: Everyone will be on the receiving end of a fatherly, supportive lecture at one point or another. No exceptions. Jackson even tries to rebuke this during the aftermath of a bad fight with April.Jackson: "Just...stop, okay? You're not my father."Webber: "Well, I don't see anyone else around. Do you?"
Maj. Dr. Owen Hunt (Portrayed by Kevin McKidd)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S5-present); B-Team
A former Combat Medic who toured in Iraq, Hunt serves as Seattle Grace's foremost trauma surgeon. He has an aggressive, sometimes-unorthodox training style and a lot of confidence, which endeared him to Cristina. However, he wants children and she doesn't, which has proved to be a source of friction in the past.
- The Atoner: For the plane crash, with a dose of trying to avert the Bystander Syndrome, after discovering that he signed off on changing the charter company contract without bothering to check the new company's safety records.
- Babies Ever After: A recurring arc with Owen is that he wants children. However, both his wives Cristina and Amelia don't for different reasons (e.g. Cristina believes that children would stall her career while Amelia already had a child who passed away and she didn't want to go through that trauma again). In season 14, he starts the adoption process of a baby boy and also allows the baby's (teenaged) biological mother to live with him. Additionally, Teddy comes back pregnant, likely with his child, at the end of the same season.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Cristina and Owen did not talk about the abortion ever since it happened, leading to suppressed emotions and Owen breaks in mid Season 8.
- Da Chief: Starting in the third episode of season eight.
- Declaration of Protection: Owen tells the shooter that if he touches Cristina, he will kill him. There are also other events where Owen saves and protects Cristina from harm.
- Happily Married: Zigzagged Trope. He and Cristina get married, but it only works out so well because he wants Babies Ever After and she doesn't. Then they become Amicable Exes, and are arguably closer as exes than as spouses. Also, Amicable Exes is his relationship with Amelia.
- Hypocrite: He cheated on Cristina, but still, after Megan's return, deemed as stupid that the latter was ready to forgive Nathan for cheating on her.
- The McCoy: To Cristina's Spock.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season five, episode six.
- Sole Survivor: After his first appearance, he returned to Iraq, where his entire unit was slain.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Suffered from PTSD upon his return. This was his major arc throughout season five.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Cristina and Owen love each other, but have faced countless obstacles in their relationship and break up every season only to eventually they get back together again.
- 10-Minute Retirement: In Season Nine, in protest of the other characters' ten-minute retirements. His is even shorter than theirs, lasting less than an episode.
- Trauma Button: Wakes up strangling Cristina. His therapist later informs him it was likely because of her ceiling fan - the blades symbolic of the propellers on a helicopter.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Christina gives him this big time when he holds her abortion over her head, then cheats on her with a woman at the bar...whose name he doesn't even know.
Cmdr. Dr. Theodora "Teddy" Altman (Portrayed by Kim Raver)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (S6-8, S14-present)
Theodora Altman is a friend of Owen's, having served as a trauma surgeon alongside him in the Army. Hired as a new head of cardiothoracic surgery and a mentor for Cristina, she initially saw Yang as a rival due to her own unrequited feelings for Owen. Later she got involved with Henry Burton, an ill man with a rare disorder, and married him so that he could take advantage of her health insurance. This was really the only thing she did on the show, which might explain why Kim Raver did not accept a contract renewal when the option was offered her. Come season 14, Teddy is back for two story arcs: returning Megan Hunt to the States after being missing for many years, and also almost getting together with Owen. She returns in the finale pregnant and gets offered the job as Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan.
- Action Girl: Prior to her first appearance, she was in the Army along with Owen.
- Amicable Exes: With Owen.
- Citizenship Marriage: To Henry, in order to get him a good medical care. Turned alright since they grew to love one another.
- Put on a Bus: After Raver decided to leave the show. She is fired by Owen in the Season Eight finale so she can take an awesome new post at Army Medical Command.
- The Bus Came Back: In season 14 Owen goes to her attempting to start a relationship but she breaks it off after finding out he's only doing it because Amelia basically told him to, then she returns to the hospital in the season finale.
Dr. Jackson Avery (Portrayed by Jesse Williams)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S6-present)
One of four new residents introduced in Season Six after Seattle Grace merges with the nearby Mercy-West hospital, Jackson was originally viewed by the main characters as interference and competition. Time and familiarity have made him more accepted, however, and he is currently a plastic-surgery fellow. Though his grandfather is the famous Harper Avery (of the Harper Avery Foundation, and the Harper Avery Award), and his mother the nearly-as-famous Catherine Avery, Jackson was never pushed much because he was "just the pretty one," and became a driven surgeon of his own accord.
- Anger Montage: When he's attempting to dismantle Samuel's crib. He badly cuts himself while trying to reach through the bars and flies into a fit of rage, smashing the crib, throwing a chair, then destroying the rest of the room.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: A particularly heartfelt one with Maggie in Season 14.
- Jackson: "Maggie, you think of yourself as this goofy underdog and it's an old idea. You're beautiful. You're brilliant and powerful and you have all the power here. I'm over here sunk and you keep showing me just how capable you are of walking away."
- Batman Gambit: When he fools the shooter in 'Death And All His Friends' and pretends to let Derek Shepherd die. It was a highly risky move, what with having a pistol held to his face, but it ends up working. The shooter is so agitated he doesn't bother to double-check before fleeing the room.
- Beneath the Mask: A calm, charming, good-humored doctor who works as hard as anyone else on the team. It's also apparent as the seasons go by he has a seriously difficult time expressing himself, either avoiding direct confrontations or bottling up his pain until it overflows. A major example is just before his break-up with April, where he suddenly yells and slams his hand on the table. Then there are several meltdowns in Season 7, Season 11 and Season 15 where he actively isolates himself or snaps out of nowhere.
- Big Brother Instinct: To April, following her nearly losing her virginity to Alex, causing him to punch Alex in the face.
- Birds of a Feather: With Meredith, as a platonic form of this trope. Both are children of famous surgeons, had absentee dads, have a pretty dry/sarcastic sense of humor, and get along pretty easily, though they do disagree when it comes to certain things.
- Brainless Beauty: Subverted. He is often mentioned to be very attractive by nearly everyone who meets him and the fact that beauty might be all he has is often brought up. His own family seemed to rule his out as this trope, and he had to work hard to show he was just as smart as anyone.
- Broken Pedestal: It's bad enough to discover his grandfather was a serial sexual deviant who fired female doctors who refused his advances. But finding out his mother helped cover it all these years to keep up the family name is worse. This is somewhat helped later when the man drops dead in the middle of a meeting. Jackson looks downright giddy about it.
- Jackson: "I am happy to inform you that my grandfather has died. ...Doing what he loved."
- The Charmer: Played with, then deconstructed. He wavers between being a suave flirt and someone who's keenly aware of the dehumanizing pedestal he's been put on since birth. At one point he tries to use his looks to get Teddy to let him do some surgical procedures, by batting eyelashes and flirting. She ends up confronting him by having Jackson answer a quick quiz about a heart surgery, to make sure he really isn't a Brainless Beauty after all.
- Character Development: When he cries into Maggie's arms while waiting on the results of his mother's surgery. This is a major leap from the man who normally bottles up his emotions until they explode and always cries alone.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Despite being cool under pressure in the operating room, has a tendency to rush into a dangerous situation. This is seen when he saves a little girl from a burning bus about to explode, then later when he rushes into a burning building to find Stephanie. His very first introduction involved him football-tackling an angry patient wielding a hammer.
- Cry Laughing: A vivid example in Season 11, when he's faced with the reality of his newborn son, Samuel, being diagnosed with a lethal birth defect.
- Disappeared Dad: Robert Avery couldn't handle the pressure of being an Avery. His mother Catherine raised him single-handedly, and continues to be active in the Avery Foundation despite having married into the family. He later visits his father in Montana in season 13, though wants nothing to do with him.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: With Maggie. Come Season 14 he offers to take her out for a drink, which she turns down because she's aware of how easily complicated their lives could be if their relationship attempt fails. When Maggie's Tinder date arrives Jackson stares the man down with a look that's not entirely friendly.
- Heroic Safe Mode: Very good at keeping his cool in terrifying, tragic situations. Not so good at expressing anger, grief, or hurt among his family and partners.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Jackson to Webber when he finds out the guy's dating his mother.
- Jackson: "You hurt her, I hurt you."
- Mr. Fanservice: His abs are legendary.Jackson takes off his shirtStephanie: Oh, lord.Jackson: What? You want me to put it back on?Stephanie: Are you kidding? Don't ever put it back on.
- My Beloved Smother: Jackson is very close to his mother. He also finds her incredibly controlling and is regularly frustrated with her insistence on pushing him toward paths he doesn't want. At one point he even calls her a lunatic. This is readily apparent in Season 14 over a tense dinner with his parents and Maggie, where his mother gets frustrated at his attempts to pull away from the family name.
- Catherine: "He left plenty to the foundation. It was his gift to you."Jackson: "It's not a gift, Mom. It's an economy."Catherine: "It's how he showed his love."Jackson: "Yeah, well. I don't want it."
- In Season 8 Jackson heads off to take the prestigious boards exam...and is horrified when he runs into his mother. While Catherine is at the same hotel on business, Jackson assumes she's arrived to spy on him. Considering she has literally hired people to spy on him and loves forcing herself into his OR to discuss his life choices, it's an understandable assumption. Later in the episode he flees to the bathroom to panic about all the ways he could fail her.
- A minor, but no less frustrating example in 'Judgment Day', when Jackson attempts to eat a cookie and Catherine literally snatches it out of his mouth like he's seven years-old.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In order to get the aid of a doctor from another hospital, Jackson agrees to waive a non-disclosure agreement she had made with his grandfather, assuming it has to do with a past research project. Instead, it was to cover up the fact the doctor was one of 13 women Avery Harper sexually harassed, meaning the woman can now organize a massive lawsuit that will hurt the hospital.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The normally unflappable Avery has a meltdown in Season 7 after surviving the hospital shooting. He starts yelling when he realizes he's locked in with a patient and refuses to stop giving said patient CPR even when his co-workers try to help. He's later found kicking over a gurney and clutching his head. When you consider how traumatic the entire experience was, it's a wonder he was able to work at all.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His and April's first child, Samuel Avery, had osteogenesis defecta (brittle bone disease) and died just hours after being born.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season seven.
- Religious Russian Roulette: Does this when April is brought to the hospital severely hypothermic and on the brink of death. This later leads him to reconsidering atheism and exploring Christianity.
- Restricted Rescue Operation: During the hospital shooting. He's held at gunpoint by the shooter and told not to save Derek Shepherd. He seems to play by the shooter's rules at first, letting Derek flatline and even telling the others to hold their hands up. Once the shooter leaves, however, he reveals he had only disconnected the machine and gets right back to work.
- Sex Equals Love: At first played straight. Subverted after April's pregnancy scare.
- Survival Mantra: When attempting to save Nisha, the biker that got hit by a car in his stead.
- Jackson: "If I had to live, you have to live. If I had to live, you have to live. If I had to live, you have to live."
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Frequently. Considering he might have PTSD (and definitely has repressed anger issues), it's unsurprising.
- Trauma Button: Being locked in with patients. This originates from being trapped at the mercy of a mass shooter while attempting to save Derek Shepherd's life in Season 7. Not long after Jackson has a meltdown when the new security system locks him with a patient with heart failure, then another one in Season 15 while testing out Bailey's hyperbaric chamber.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Tends to take his shirt off frequently.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Unsurprisingly, given his larger-than-life grandfather and Disappeared Dad. He is concerned he learned a "Screw This, I'm Outta Here" attitude from his father.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: People often comment on his green eyes, usually when talking about how handsome he is.
- Will They or Won't They?: With April.
- Unflinching Walk: When he rescues a little girl from an exploding car.
- You Are in Command Now: The bankruptcy plot is resolved when the Harper Avery Foundation buys out the hospital, unexpectedly resulting in Jackson becoming chairman of the board.
Dr. Maggie Pierce (Portrayed by Kelly McCreary)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S10-present); B-Team; Station 19
Current Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery, she revealed to Richard Webber shortly after starting work that Ellis Grey is her birth mom.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Sometimes to Meredith, especially when she wants to know about Meredith's love life. Becomes a downplayed trope as they grow closer.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Maggie is one of the sweetest characters in the show. That doesn't stop her from clocking a homophobe in the mouth with a right hook.
- Birds of a Feather: With Jackson. They're both intelligent, hardworking professionals in the medical field who appear, for all intents and purposes, pretty composed. Peel back the layers, though, and you have two emotionally constipated workaholics who have a really hard time being vulnerable around others.
- Buffy Speak: Can get... interesting with how she gets across her thoughts.
- Child of Forbidden Love: the product of the extramarital affair between Meredith's mother Ellis and Chief Webber, given up for adoption after the Will They or Won't They? between them swung towards "Nope."
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: A particularly cute moment between her and Avery before they hook up, when he goes to sit down with her during lunch and gets confused at her staring.
- Jackson: "...Is there something on my face?"Maggie: "Oh, no, no. Your face is perfect."
- Dramatic Drop: Drops her coffee upon seeing Jackson. Makes sense, since the last she saw him he made it clear he's smitten with her.
- Emotionally Tongue-Tied: Wavers between being very blunt and struggling with vulnerability. A Justified trope, thanks to her high-pressure upbringing and social neurosis.
- Friendless Background: Maggie mentions a few times how her intensive studies didn't leave her much time to make friends. That, and being bullied for being a few years younger than everyone else.
- Genki Girl: She's probably one of the most optimistic characters on the show. Her mother calls her a 'ray of sunshine'.
- Happily Adopted: Was very happy in her adoptive family. She just wanted to know about her real parentage.
- Horrible Camping Trip: In Season 15. Despite hating camping, she wants to show Jackson how much she cares and takes the plunge. It results in her getting painfully bitten by nearly every insect, twisting her ankle and losing sight of Jackson in some very strange weather.
- Motor Mouth: Tends to talk a mile a minute, usually when she's passionate or nervous.
- Kids Are Cruel: Was badly bullied as a kid, with her status as a young genius being a point of jealousy for many of her classmates. Maggie shares with the other doctors how she was locked in rooms, called nasty names and saw her possessions destroyed.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Seemingly played straight when Maggie insists on an innovative trial for her mother's cancer, only to see her symptoms get even worse. This is then subverted when it's revealed her mother had not only been sick for years, but had made peace with her death.
- Opposites Attract: Despite several similarities, Maggie and Avery differ on the personality front. Maggie is more peppy and anxious, while Jackson is calm and a little suave. They also come from very different backgrounds: Maggie was adopted and had to work hard to be accepted at a prestigious university, while Avery grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and was raised by a single mother.
- Sand In My Eyes: When talking to Webber about the death of his wife. She insists she suddenly has allergies.
- Socially Awkward Hero: A compassionate and kind doctor who excels in heart health. She's also way more competent at open-heart surgery than asking men out on a date or talking about her problems.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Explored between her and Webber. While Maggie tries to brush off the missed opportunity of a father and daughter relationship as no big deal, it's clear she's pretty hurt about it. When Webber realizes she genuinely wants to give their family a second chance he starts reaching out to her, sharing details about his past and being more open.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Calls out Jackson when he confides in random women about his struggles instead of opening up to her. This trope is then flipped on its head when he calls her out on the same thing.
- Wrong Assumption: A frequent committer of this. Could be a side-effect of her brain working at a thousand miles per hour.
Dr. Amelia Shepherd (Portrayed by Caterina Scorsone)
Appears in Private Practice (S3-6); Grey's Anatomy (S7, S8, S10-present)
The youngest sister of Derek Shepherd, and also a neurosurgeon. Had some drug and alcohol problems that she has now recovered from, and formerly worked with Addison in LA before moving to Seattle. She took Derek's job as the Head of Neurosurgery.
- The Alcoholic: Got better.
- Ambiguously Bi: Mentions having a crush on Carina Deluca to Teddy Altman and being jealous of Owen when she found Carina and him kissing.Amelia: "The men I would have not have slept with... and the one woman I would have."
- In season 18, she develops feelings for her nonbinary coworker Kai Bartley.
- Always Second Best: Feels that way about her brother.
- Dark and Troubled Past: A former alcoholic, lost her fiancé to a drug overdose, and her baby son died less than an hour after his birth - most of that time spent in surgery, where his organs were harvested to save other babies.
- Death by Irony:
- Her son was born without a brain (and dies quickly), she even says "My baby has no brain. No brain. I'm a damn neurosurgeon and my baby has no brain. I would say God has a sense of humor but [...] no god would do this."
- She doesn't die herself, but does have a really big brain tumor for ten years that she completely missed. It's been affecting her judgement and receptiveness for her entire medical career.
- Dynamic Akimbo: Uses the superhero pose to psych herself up first before starting the "impossible" surgery on Herman, and then before going in to have her own brain tumor operated on.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Her baby lived for 43 minutes.
- Transplant: She first appeared in Private Practice before moving to Grey's after the show ended.
- Trauma Conga Line: Just looking at season 5 of Private Practice: Her friend with Huntington's asks her to assist in her suicide, the suicide attempt goes south resulting in a traumatic rush to the hospital. The friend survives, but Amelia spends the day thinking she caused the horrific death of someone she loves, far from the peaceful passing she'd promised her. Upon finding out she was alive, Amelia goes to visit her friend...only to find her body, having completed suicide on her own. This drives Amelia to relapse on drugs, where she meets her boyfriend, Ryan. They fall in love and get engaged during a bender. They decide to finally get clean and get married, but Ryan overdoses and dies during their "one last high" while Amelia sleeps next to him. She goes to rehab, gets clean, and finds out she's pregnant with her dead fiancee's child. Deep into the pregnancy, Amelia learns that her fetus doesn't have a brain and will not survive long after birth. Long past the point of legal abortion, she's forced to carry the baby to term and holds him in her arms for about a minute before he dies. Cue the tears.
Dr. Josephine "Jo" Wilson/Brooke Stadler (Portrayed by Camilla Luddington)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S9-present)
- Child by Rape: It's revealed Jo is this.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Her former husband used to beat her and almost killed her. She changed her name so he couldn't find her. And before that, she was abandoned as a baby, went through several foster homes, and once lived out of her car as a teenager. She later tracks down her biological mother, only to learn that she was a Child by Rape that eventually led to the woman giving her up.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Benefits from it at one point, with at least one Lampshade Hanging / deconstruction behind her back.
- Freudian Excuse: Jo suffers from PTSD after the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband, when she attacked Jason Myers and put him in the hospital it was likely an adrenaline rush 'fight or flight' reaction she could not control. She said he 'grabbed her'.
- In-Universe Nickname: Cristina calls her "Ponytail." Alex calls her "Princess."
- Like Brother and Sister: with Alex.
- Will They or Won't They?: ...until it isn't.
- Mysterious Past: Was formerly married to someone she's running from, who may be still trying to find her. And "Josephine Wilson" is not her real name.
- Parental Abandonment: Was abandoned by her mother when she was 6 weeks old, bounced around foster homes until she started living out of her car aged 16.
- Promoted to Opening Titles: In Season 10.
- The Apprentice: Eventually becomes this to Meredith, especially in season 14.
Dr. Carina DeLuca (Portrayed by Stefania Spampinato)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S14-present), Station 19 (S3-present)
A girl in a bar that charms Arizona with her accent and falling over English idioms, she gets taken home where Andrew walks in and reveals that she's his sister. She then starts research at Grey Sloan, observing the female orgasm and embarrassing Arizona and Andrew frequently. She later begins dating Maya Bishop, captain of Seattle Fire Department Station 19.
- Malaproper: Arizona finds her getting words a little wrong cute, except when she flubs a phrase and it sounds much worse, like saying she "screwed a dog". You "screwed the pooch". What makes this better is the fact that particular phrase is so North American that it still sounds wrong to everyone else (including some Americans from different States), beyond what they gather from context (she screwed up, a simpler phrase that could still have been accidentally butchered for the funny).
- Transplant: Was, and continues to be, a recurring character on Grey's. However her relationship with Maya ended up bringing her fully onto the Station 19 cast, being promoted to regular for season 4.
Dr. Atticus "Link" Lincoln
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S15)An ortho god who knows Jo from med school.
Dr. Andrew (it. Andrea) DeLuca (Portrayed by Giacomo Gianniotti)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S11-present)
Dr. Nico Kim (Portrayed by Alex Landi)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S15-present)
- The Ace: Is very good at orthopedic surgery and knows it.
- All Asians Know Martial Arts: Is of Korean descent and knows Taekwondo. Although it is still not enough to kick down a door that has a cement truck parked in behind it.
- Has a Type: Is into nerdy guys, which is what causes him to kiss Schmitt the first time.
- Heroic BSoD: When an attempt to cement a weakened vertebrae causes a patient's death, Nico is knocked for an emotional loop that causes him to become cold and distant, even to Schmitt.
- Seme: To Schmitt, being taller, athletic and more self-confident.
- Straight Gay: Has absolutely no stereotypically gay behaviors.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Schmitt compares him to a Roman sculpture.
Dr. Levi "Glasses" Schmitt (Portrayed by Jake Borelli)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S14-present); B-Team
An intern who dropped his glasses into a patient in the OR and slept with Jo while doing a sub-i rotation at the hospital. He returns later as an intern, with an athletic strap to keep his glasses on.
- Basement-Dweller: He lives with his mother due to medical school.
- Coming-Out Story: In season 15, he develops an attraction and eventually a relationship with new surgeon Nico Kim, and later confesses that he had never really loved anyone before because of both his shyness and how his mother would react to it.
- Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: The nerdy, bespectacled Levi ends up dating the handsome, well built Nico.
- Jewish and Nerdy: Also, more than a little neurotic and worried about what his Jewish Mother thinks.
- Nerd Glasses: The source of his nickname and worst early humiliation. After he loses a pair during a windstorm, and starts to gain more self-confidence, he begins wearing contact lenses instead.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: After dropping his glasses in the surgical field, he becomes referred to almost universally as "glasses". When he later becomes a live blood transfusion donor and Meredith calls him by his name he is really touched.
- Straight Gay: Schmitt doesn't display any stereotypical characteristics of a gay man.
- Uke: To Nico. Schmitt is small, has been referred to as a "child doctor" by a patient's hysterical husband, is a self-admitted nerd and is rather nervous and shy.
Lt. Dr. Casey Parker (Portrayed by Alex Blue Davis)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S14); B-Team
- Chekhov's Gunman: In "B-Team" his tech skills are exploited by Helm to suggest he should be on discharge duty (Owen even saying that it really doesn't require advanced skill). The next episode of GA is the second of the hacker-shutdown ones and Bailey suddenly remembers that he's good with tech, he then gets taken off patients and is trying to break into and override the system.
- Combat Medic: Played with — he was in the army and watched the Army doctors, which is what made him decide to pursue medicine.
Dr. Taryn Helm (Portrayed by Jaicy Elliot)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S14); B-Team
- In-Universe Nickname: Hellmouth, from her explaining how to pronounce her last name.
Dr. Dahlia Qadri (Portrayed by Sophia Ali)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S14); B-Team
- Genki Girl: She is very bubbly in personality.
Dr. Ellis Grey (Portrayed by Kate Burton)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (S1-3, S6, S8, S11, S14)
- 0% Approval Rating: Everyone may admire her skill as a doctor, but when it comes to being a wife, mother, or even a decent person, she's an absolutely miserable excuse for a human being.
- Abusive Parents: Was not precisely supportive to Meredith."I raised you to be an extraordinary human being. So imagine my disappointment when I wake up after five years and discover that you're no more than ordinary. What happened to you?"
- The Ace: A world-renowned surgeon. After she retires due to her illness, everyone assumes she's off working medical miracles somewhere.
- Driven to Suicide: After her first break-up with Richard, when Meredith was six. While Meredith watched. Not really driven to suicide as much as staging it to either get Webber back or make hm feel bad. That night she found out she was pregnant with second child (Webber's) so didn't stick around to enact the full plan. Meredith figured out the fake suicide attempt part during a therapy session (after ferryboat crash iirc)
- Early-Installment Weirdness: in the pilot, she's the person Meredith is Narrating to.
- It's All About Me: It's made very clear multiple times that she really doesn't care about her patients beyond using them to demonstrate what a great surgeon she is.
- Love Triangle: Married Thatcher, but quickly met Richard Webber.
- No Social Skills: Has a habit of saying whatever crosses her mind. Then she got Alzheimer's and lost that filter and things got worse.
- Opposites Attract: With the warm Team Dad we call Chief Webber.
- Time-Shifted Actor: Played by both Sarah Paulson and Sally Pressman in younger iterations.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: At the end of "The Time Warp" she and Webber have a drink at Joe's in memory of their deceased patient, when she sees Webber has a club soda she tells him it's not an appropriate drink to toast an Irishman with and orders him a vodka. It's not explicitly said but it seems from his reaction that Webber may have known he had a problem and been sober at that time.
- What You Are in the Dark: Because of her disease, we find out.
Thatcher Grey (Portrayed by Jeff Perry) and Susan Grey (Portrayed by Mare Winningham)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (Thatcher: S2-7, 15; Susan: S2-3)
Meredith's spineless father and his new wife. Though Thatcher is typically too intimidated to bond with Meredith, Susan did her best for both of them, alternately pleasing and confounding her stepdaughter with attachment-style parenting. They have two daughters, Lexie (Chyler Leigh) and Molly (Mandy Siegfried).
Dr. Catherine Fox (Portrayed by Debbie Allen)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S8-present)
Jackson's famous mother. She becomes an alternative love interest to Webber, especially after Adele begins to completely forget who he is, and a larger character after Season 11.
- Dysfunctional Family: A subtle example. The Avery family has a very polished public veneer, but peel back those layers and you find a son who's more than a little messed up, a grandfather who is revealed to be a serial sexual harasser, a disappeared dad, a single mother who has to keep the whole legacy working by any means necessary...
- Fake Guest Star: She frequently appears in most of the show's episodes as of season 11.
- Happily Married: To Richard.
- Mama Bear: Is very protective of Jackson, and her grandchild, as April Kepner very nearly finds out the hard way when Catherine has to be talked down from having Jackson sue her for custody.
- Moment of Weakness: When she falls over during a physical therapy session. The proud and dignified Catherine Avery is reduced to tears, being completely unused to showing any signs of weakness.
- My Beloved Smother: A classic example. While a sympathetic version of the trope, Catherine often goes too far in her goals to keep Jackson honoring the family name. When she's not making decisions about his life without his input she's refusing to let him in emotionally...which might explain his own emotional issues.
- Shared Family Quirks: The Avery family is filled with passionate, intelligent individuals who know how to deliver a mean speech. Jackson and his mother differ, though, on personality: she's more commanding and controlling, whereas he's a little more patient and flexible.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Shades of this with Jackson, though later character development starts to subvert this. Jackson regularly feels like he can never please his mother, with several episodes devoted to him challenging her or outright avoiding her. Catherine herself admits she's overprotective, desperate for her son not to go through what she did to get ahead.
- What the Hell, Hero?: On the receiving end of this by Jackson when he finds out she helped cover up his grandfather's sexual harassment claims for years to uphold the family name.
Adele Webber (Portrayed by Loretta Devine)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (S2-9)
Webber's long-suffering wife. Richard believed that he was able to keep his affair with Ellis secret from her, but discovered in the second season how wrong he was. He stayed with her out of honor, though. Like Richard's other great love, she too develops Alzheimer's, and eventually needs to be committed to an assisted-living facility. She earned the show its other Emmy as a Guest Actress.
- Undying Loyalty: To her husband. He shows it back, though in different ways.
William George "Tuck" Bailey Jones (Portrayed by BJ Tanner since S13)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S2, S4-10, S13-present); Station 19 (S1)
Bailey's son from her first marriage, Tuck was named after her father, William Bailey, and her intern, George O'Malley. He is nicknamed Tuck after his father, Tucker Jones. He is the oldest of the main characters' children, and becomes something of a teenage brat in later seasons, having to be reprimanded and scared into compliance by his step-father Ben Warren via x-rays borrowed from the hospital. When he is 13 his parents decide to give him "The Talk" — to teach him how to react if the police ever stop him and to not copy his white friends in precarious situations. He has a fondness for science and medicine, shown in various seasons with him sneaking around and dressing up in the hospital. Previously portrayed by Marcanthonee Jon Reis in Season 10.
Carlos Torres (Portrayed by Héctor Elizondo)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (S3, S5-7, S10)
- Cure Your Gays: When Callie comes out to him, he wants to help her by bringing in their preacher from Florida to Pray Away The Gay.
- Papa Bear: He will physically push around and threaten all of Callie's romantic partners, and absolutely adores his granddaughter.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He loves his daughter so much, but his extreme Christian lifestyle conflicts with her bisexuality, he initially doesn't understand it and believes that he can help her by trying to restore her heterosexuality. Once he gets some speeches about love, he widens his perspective and sends the preacher home, reinstates Callie, and ditches his wife to go to Callie's wedding.
Sloan Riley (Portrayed by Leven Rambin)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (S6); Private Practice (S3)
- Family Theme Naming: Like her half-sister (Sofia), has one of her parent's last name as a given name.
Zola Limbani Grey Shepherd (Portrayed by Aniela Gumbs since S11)
Derek Bailey Shepherd (Portrayed by Brody and Ryder Nolan Goodstadt since S12)
Appear in Grey's Anatomy (Zola: S7-present; Bailey: S9-present; Ellis: S11-present)
- Dead Guy Junior: Ellis is named after her late grandmother. Bailey is also named after his late father, but was born whilst he was still alive.
Sofia Robbin Sloan Torres (Portrayed by Eva Ariel Binder since S12)
Appears in Grey's Anatomy (S7-14)
- Family Theme Naming:
- Named after a Greek virtue, like her mom (Calliope = beautiful voice, Sofia = wisdom). And a place, like her other mom (Arizona and Sofia, capital of Bulgaria). And generally a foreign name, like both (2 Greek, 1 Spanish).
- Like her half-sister, has one of her parent's last name as a given name (Robbin being a middle name after Arizona).
- Has Two Mommies: Is the child of Arizona and Callie.
- Two First Names: Inverted, her middle name is more like a surname because of her parents wanting to make sure she took them all.
Henry Burton (Portrayed by Scott Foley)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (S7-8)
Cpt. Dr. Megan Hunt (Portrayed by Abigail Spencer)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (S13-14)
Dr. Paul Stadler (Portrayed by Matthew Morrison)
Appeared in Grey's Anatomy (S13-14)
Jo's abusive former but still legal husband, who Alex once spots at a conference and imagines killing, and who appears at Grey Sloan. A revolutionary in laparoscopic and similar methods, he initially attracts a lot of fans in the staff there and a "guy-crush" from Arizona. After fighting with his new fiancee, Jenny, he gets hit by a drunk driver, and when he tries to attack Jenny and Jo whilst in recovery he hits his head and dies of second impact syndrome (brain shuts down after getting another concussion when it still has the first). Jo is given power of attorney and donates his organs.