Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital is losing two more doctors and here’s hoping they walk off into the parking lot of no return instead of flat-lining in a dramatic finale moment.
Yesterday, it was announced that Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew will be leaving Grey’s Anatomy at the end of the current season. There’s no news on how the two will exit, just that they’re being let go for “creative reasons.”
In a statement, showrunner Krista Vernoff said, “The characters of Arizona and April are permanently woven into the fabric of Grey’s Anatomy thanks to the extraordinary work of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew. As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.”
Capshaw, who plays Arizona Robbins, has been on the series for 10 years. She first joined in season five as a love interest for Sara Ramirez’s Callie Torres. Arizona hasn’t had many substantial storylines lately, so it’s been obvious that the writers have run out of ideas for her, which is a shame considering she’s one of the only disabled gay characters on television. It’s also confusing considering the fact that they’ve repeatedly used recycled storylines for Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) and a number of other characters.
Drew, who plays April Kepner, has been on the series for 9 years. She first joined in season six as part of the Seattle Grace-Mercy West merger. When she was originally introduced, she was kind of annoying but eventually became a fan favorite. She gave us a take on devout Christianity not often seen on television. One of the great losses to the series will be April and Arizona’s friendship and the proof that not all religiously inclined and gay people hate each other.
Shonda Rhimes, who created the series, released a statement via twitter saying, “It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters. Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV. I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performance and for inspiring women around the globe. They will always be a part of our Shondaland family.”
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 8, 2018
I’m sorry, but you cannot lament a lack of representation while simultaneously being a cause of it. Capshaw is currently the only series regular playing an LGBTQ character, and now she’s been fired. I’m surprised that Rhimes singled out the LGBTQ and devout Christian communities but ignored the disabled community. Maybe I shouldn’t be though, considering how Arizona’s disability is often forgotten about; and it was only really ever seen through Callie’s lens, not Arizona’s.
I’m sure I’m not the only fan now bracing for an emotional and tragic end to both characters’ stories. Grey’s has a history of killing off characters when an actor leaves; and it seems unlikely that both are escaping unscathed, especially when you think about April’s current descent into alcoholism and the number of tragedies both characters have walked away from. It seems as if we’ll have to wait until the finale to find out their fate, so for now, we’re left with these statements from Capshaw and Drew and the hope that we won’t be seeing the characters we love leaving the show in a body bag.
— Jessica Capshaw (@JessicaCapshaw) March 8, 2018
— Sarah Drew (@sarahdrew) March 8, 2018