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Kelly McCreary on her 'Grey's Anatomy' departure, that lingering question and the ending table

[This story contains spoilers from April 11 Grey’s Anatomy , “The shadow of your love / Mother who gave birth to me.”]

Playing Dr. Maggie Pierce season after nine, Kelly McCree has bid farewell to the internship Doctor Grey ).

April 11 Interlude – with “The Shadow of Your Love/ Two Hours of My Tired Mom” ​​- Brings Maggie’s arc to a crossroads after a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon strains her marriage to husband Winston Ndugu (Anthony Hill) Weeks later she finds herself in a career crisis: stay and work on her marriage, or accept a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Chicago Heart Center?

To help Maggie make a decision, Grey’s Anatomy cites Maggie’s lineage. Meredith Gray’s half-sister and Ellen Pompeo’s titular character Ellis Gray (Kate Burton) had a biological mother. The late world-renowned surgeon has been a big influence on her two daughters, who are also now world-renowned surgeons, and McCleary said Ellis’ role in Maggie’s life has been her in Returning Polaris Anatomy on Grey’s, including currently airing Season 1 as she approaches Grey’s showrunner Krista Vernoff on leaving the series. message shortly after Pompeo rally Rumor has it she’s on screen quits ; the sisters will return for the finale of the season Ending.

“Maggie hasn’t found out about Ellis yet, and how will that affect her future going forward? This is the missing piece for her, despite her love for Gray Sloan and Growing up in a family, but she always had that question deep down,” McCreary shared in her Grey’s Anatomy) exit interview The Hollywood Reporter .

Ultimately, Maggie accepted the job and opened the door to a relationship with Winston, a difficult decision, Maggie’s late mother of two The presence of Ellis and Diane Pierce reassures her that the woman who raised her stands beside Maggie as she proudly steps out of the elevator at Gray Sloan Memorial Hospital to begin her next chapter.

Below, McCreary with Burton and Latanya Richardson (from Vernoff’s idea), and her alternative sister, Amelia Shepherd, played by Caterina Scorsone. The actress also unpacked Maggie’s decision and teased more when she returned to her last Grey in May) Scene with Winston season finale.

I read you went to the creative team and decided to leave Grey’s Anatomy. Can you talk about it?

Yes. Look, I’ve been on the show for nine years. It was a great time—I lived a lot of life during that time. No actor expects to be on the show that long. This is a very rare thing. You can probably tell with two hands the number of possible past shows 22 Year. Every year, you never know what to expect. So every year I evaluate: where is Maggie, where does she need to go? And, where am I, Kelly, in my life?

Maggie, fortunately, comes with such a rich backstory and answers the question, “Who am I? Who is my biological mother?” And, How does this tell me who I am?” Because she asked that question, I revisit it every year, and I say, “Has she figured it out? Has she found what she’s looking for? On the way, she What other questions were asked and answered?” There was a real friction with Winston [Anthony Hill] at the end of last season. They question their compatibility, and I wonder, maybe it’s not Winston’s compatibility issue. Maybe it’s another big question she’s asking for herself, and maybe she needs to get away and find answers elsewhere. Maybe this is the end of Maggie’s journey at Gray Sloan. Maybe she grew up in this space. So I went to Krista, and I said, “I think it’s time to wrap up.” She very graciously agreed and allowed me to do it.

Is there anything I beg you to reconsider?

(laughter). We’ve revisited this a few times this season. She wanted to make sure I was sure, which I thought was a very merciful act of hers. But the storyline keeps getting more and more, and I think that’s true. Now is the right time.

When did you have that conversation? How did you guys work together to get to the end of Maggie’s story?

[current] early season. But I can’t take credit for writing the storyline. I basically said that, and then I had to happily commission Krista and the writers to figure out how it would end. So I don’t know if that means they are going to decide that she is going to die! Or what that means. I didn’t coach them in any particular way, but I shared all of this with them. I share with them every season: “Maggie hasn’t found out about Ellis [Kate Burton], and how does that affect her going forward?” That’s the missing piece for her, even though she’s grown in love and family with Gray Sloan way, but there was always this question in the back of her mind. I don’t really know what they’re going to do, but I know they’ve thought about it. I really appreciate being heard in this way as a collaborator. They’ve always been very respectful of how much I care about the character.

They’ll never kill Maggie!


So when you got the script, especially when you read the last three episodes, how did you react to her arc and see it on paper?

I like it. I’m really sad that Maggie and Winston have clashed all season long. Because I was like, “What’s going to happen? Are they going to be together or are they not going to be together, and how are they going to work it out?” That chronic conflict and tension in that relationship, constantly asking if you’re compatible, if you have the same values, I Know that this is the real source of discord in relationships. This is very realistic. However, it is too uncomfortable!

So I’m really glad to see that in the end Maggie and Winston came to an understanding that Maggie could go, but she didn’t have to blow the way out on set. There’s also mutual respect; there’s a terrible misunderstanding about whether Winston feels valued and respected. Maggie needs to clarify this and make sure he knows she loves him. There is love there. She was careless about it, but she did love him. She does [love him]. So I’m really happy to see that they were able to leave on the terms of mutual respect.

Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and Winston (Anthony Hill) in “Shadow of Your Love/Mum Who Born Me” by Alyssa Margaret Jacobs Written by Sen and directed by Linda Klein. ABC /Raymond Liu

Do you think Maggie and Winston ended after that ending?

No, I really didn’t. Of course you can have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time, Michelle Obama said. Women in this society are like that. Maybe for everyone, but certainly for women. Maggie has always been driven by this passion for medicine. Her competitive, ambitious spirit was reawakened, but it remained. She never hides this. She has always been like this. And she also wants to be Winston’s wife, but they can’t exist at the same time. That doesn’t mean they’ll never exist, and I think having them separate on loving, frankly sad terms – sadness not anger – does open the door to some future possibilities .

I’m more worried about Amelia Shepherd now. How Caterina Scorsone lost her in such a short time The period of the two screen sisters?

I know, poor Amelia! Caterina symbolizes strength and resilience and the ability to surpass oneself. She’s been very important to me on this show since day one (emotional ), so we have a special bond and that won’t change. It’s been tough, but our relationship will move forward in a different form.

What was it like to bring back your two on-screen mothers, Kate Burton and Latanya Richardson, for you at the end of this episode One scene where Maggie steps out of the Gray Sloan elevator and into her next chapter?

So exciting! I want it to last forever, that scene. It was a brief moment, but it did last longer than we expected. We tried many different options. This is great. I love those women so much. They have nurtured and guided me in different ways since I first met them. Latanya I met Grey’s but I know Kate Burton , we performed together in Williamstown. so perfect. I think the only thing that would make it perfect is if the scene could also include Meredith [Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo] and Amelia. but it is not the truth. It was a perfect, whole moment for Maggie. I couldn’t think of a better way to send her off. It was Krista [Vernoff, showrunner]’s idea, and it was just a stroke of genius.

Can you share an inner monologue about her ride in the elevator ride?

Bittersweet. But in the end, she made the decision because she was thinking about the family of women she came from. She is thinking about her family legacy and building on the gifts her predecessors gave her. Nor can they have everything. They can’t have it all, and she can’t have it all. But she can do something that is very, very meaningful to her life, and do it in a way that they can’t, and she’ll be happy. These were gifts from her mother and she is proud to walk with them.

Grey's Anatomy Kelly McCreary and Kate BurtonKelly McCreary and Anthony Hill in Grey's Anatomy

Ellis Gray (Kate Burton) and Maggie (Kelly McCreary) ABC/Liliane Lathan

How do you imagine life for Maggie when she arrives in Chicago?

She’s kind of like Bachelorette Maggie! She’s still married, but she’s never lived alone. She is in a new city. She really strikes out on her own in a very independent way. She has no kinship in this place; no family ties at all. I think she’s at the bravest moment of her life. She’s always been very bold and confident when it comes to medicine, and I think she’s stepping into her prime. She is living her best life.

This sounds like a by-product to me!

(laughs.) Might be worth it at some point Revisit. You’re right, this actually sounds like a great spin-off idea. But I’m just spitting, I haven’t considered a spinoff yet!

Go back nine seasons ago, when you first played in 681, how long do you think this character will last?

I come by season . I was like, “This show is going to end in two years.” Who’d have thought? ! Maybe someone could, but shows don’t usually last this long, so I certainly didn’t expect that. I think, a few years and then go on. You said Maggie was in Grey’s


I was promoted to series regular about five episodes into the season , This is my first season. At the end of that season, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) died and Meredith went on a healing journey, and I remember feeling like Maggie and Alex [Karev, played by Justin Chambers] grieving the loss of Meredith and Derek together. I was like, “This is important.” That was definitely a moment inside of me thinking we were equals when we were together.

After all this time, Ellen Pompeo Also decided to quit the show. Is that what the two of you said, or is the timing like that?

I don’t know what Alan’s plan is. I think I know she’s been thinking about it for a while.but she His path is very different from mine. Her role on the show and the agency of the show is very different from mine, and even if she’s thinking about it, I don’t know how she’s going to make that decision, what are her metrics, and I know they’re going to be for me different.

How different is the scene without Ellen since she’s been the same since you were on the show?

no the same. She must have left a spot open. There is a hole. Still, there are a lot of differences this season. We had five great interns on board and they brought such energy. I love them as humans, and I think the character development is very interesting and exciting. There is that energy. So all these transitions were happening without other people knowing that I had made my own decisions. So I’m just kind of in the middle of this huge shift that’s happening on the show and having my own very personal moments around it and just feeling so grateful. This is where Maggie could have stayed and continued to reinvent herself for years to come. At the same time, the influx of new blood and the predecessors who were around, as they continue to move forward, persevere, this is a beautiful cycle. It’s like the cycle of life! It’s really cool. I feel like I’m going to put this show in amazing hands and have a bright future ahead. It’s been amazing to be able to grow with these people in this space. I wish I left better than when I arrived. That’s all you can do.

Krista Vernoff leaving showrunner is also a big change. She posted a photo of the playoff table reading, which is also your final table reading. Can you share what that experience was like?

Honestly, I’m lucky. I feel like the exit process I got was probably the best of anyone leaving the show. I have to get out slowly. I have the last two episodes to wrap up the storyline. I’ll be back for the final. In the meantime, in-person meter readings are back! That was the form we read face to face for the first time since February 2021. I can’t tell you what an amazing experience it was. It’s like an almost weekly community-building experience that you take for granted when it happens. But when it’s gone, there’s no form to read, the way our storylines are divided, and sometimes you might not see your co-workers for months. We hardly ever get the chance to be in the same room together. It was a full circle moment for me because Shonda [Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy] was reading at my first table; Shonda Read it at my last table.

The first table says, I’m the only one on the table besides Shonda who knows who Maggie Pierce is; it’s a bombshell, it’s Dropped during cold reading, no one else at the table read it. Like this exciting moment of arrival. And then having the table readout come back this week was an exciting time to go. This is such a sweet bookend. Kelly McCreary and Anthony Hill in Grey's Anatomy

You will end up with What kind of identity returns to the finale?

I would call it a celebration. It answers any lingering questions about Maggie and Winston.

So, we’ll see more solutions there.


You haven’t finished filming the last scene yet, have you?

Exactly. Technically speaking.

Did you have feelings for the elevator scene, was that the last scene you shot?

I was so excited about the elevator scene. So poignant. But my last scene was the coffee truck scene, actually with Amelia. The last scene of my episode. It’s tough, in a beautiful way. It was like another day of work, and then it ended abruptly, and it was like, “Oh my God, that’s the last scene.” It kind of surprised me. I thought about other scenes in the episode and filmed them all together. But the coffee truck scene was delayed a few weeks because of the weather because we had to shoot outside. So it pops up on the schedule and you go in and shoot it and you’re like, “Oh my god, wait.”

How open you go back Grey’s?

I love this show, people come back . I think it’s open. I think this is a problem with 1235355394 Meg Marinis who is new The show host . But I’m open to it, and I think the storyline makes it pretty open.

What do you want to do next?

I would like to take on more iconic roles with incredibly brilliant collaborators on era-defining projects, do you know? (laughs.) I was really lucky to spend nine years on a show that allowed me to do so many different things: comedy and drama and more In between is suspense and some action – ranging from silly to very meaningful and impactful. I’m looking forward to going deeper into one character at a time and learning about all these things. It’s just a matter of projects and collaborators, hopefully I can do something really interesting.

You mentioned that you lived a lot of your life at Grey’s. You met your husband on set and started a family during this time. In terms of how you’ve supported the set over the years and how it works, what are you looking for in your next show?

I like watching TV. I really enjoy the collaborative process of working with the writers and building these characters, which you can hang out with for a while. I love the idea of ​​a finite series where you can have a beginning, middle and end of an arc and dive into long-form character building that way. I’m looking for collaborators who also enjoy doing this.

Looking back at Maggie’s storyline, is there one thing you’re most proud of that sticks with you?

I’m really in love with how this show handles COVID and how they allowed Maggie to go from her being a black female doctor at the time Proud of the way of navigating it with a very unique perspective. Her status helped in a way to give her insight and heroism, which I think was true of many of our medical professionals at the time. They’ve all been through so much. We told this storyline in a way that wasn’t escapist or necessarily interesting to most viewers, but I can’t tell you how many medical professionals I know thanked me for showing it for what it is. They feel seen. I think it’s some of the most challenging and enriching work I’ve done on the show.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

Grey’s Anatomy Releases New Season 13 Thursdays at 9pm on ABC, the show also airs on Hulu.



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