Any fan of Grey’s Anatomy knows that the show does not care about killing off main characters at all. Last night’s episode was both shocking and devastating, two emotions the show is extremely used to evoking. After the tragic death of a fan favorite, fans want answers. Why did such a prominent character have to be killed off?
*This article contains spoilers for Grey’s Anatomy season 17 episode 7*
Dr. DeLuca’s death
In season 17, Dr. Andrew DeLuca had been struggling with his mental health. On last night’s midseason premiere, he chased down a sex trafficker who had gotten away earlier in the season due to his lack of credibility. While apprehending the woman, he was stabbed. Initially, it seemed like DeLuca was going to make it out of the harrowing situation alive, but later, he began to crash and had to undergo a second surgery.
While in surgery, DeLuca ended up in Meredith Grey’s COVID-19 fever dream. While on the dream beach with Meredith, DeLuca seemed to come to terms with the fact that his life might end.
“I don’t know what happens from here, Meredith,” he said. “No matter what happens, I want you to know that I’ve never felt seen the way you saw me. I’ve never felt inspired the way you inspired me. You made me want to be not just my best self, but better. And yeah, I felt small around you sometimes. I felt insecure. I wanted something from you that I needed to give myself. But here, now, on this beach with you, I get it. I don’t just get it, I feel it. I know who I am, my strength.”
Later in the dream, DeLuca’s deceased mother showed up and called him to her. The two ran off together as DeLuca’s time of death was called in real life.
Why was Andrew DeLuca killed on ‘Grey’s Anatomy?
After the episode aired, fans were shocked and left wondering “why?”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed why he had to die and said that DeLuca’s storyline “told itself” to her “at the very beginning” of the season.
“These episodes came in whole cloth,” she said. “This is what I came into the writers’ room knowing. I didn’t like it and it made me mad and it made me cry even as I imagined it, and I will admit that multiple times as we were writing the season and even as we were shooting these episodes, I came into the writers’ room shouting and crying like, ‘Really?! This is what we’re doing? I think I’m chickening out! I think we have to save him, you guys!‘ Me, the fan, wants DeLuca to live but the storyteller, I follow the stories where they want to go.”
“Nobody wanted to kill DeLuca,” she continued. “I didn’t want to kill DeLuca! But when I came in and said, ‘You guys, this is the story,’ everyone went, ‘Oh yeah, that’s the story.’ We wanted to honor the fact that we didn’t feel like we had completed the storytelling of the sex trafficking [plot] and this felt like the story.”
When Vernoff told Giacomo Gianniotti about his character’s death, she made sure to thank him.
“What I said to Giacomo at the table read for this episode I think is the truth,” Vernoff continued. “I said, ‘Thank you for playing this character so beautifully and so powerfully that we all get to feel our collective grief through the loss of him.’”
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