SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched the Season 13 midseason premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy,” which aired on Thursday, Jan. 26.
The Season 13 midseason finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” left viewers with a slew of cliffhangers, but the premiere on Thursday night only answered one of the questions posed in November when the show last aired. That’s because the ABC series took a trip to prison this week for a one-off episode, which was set away from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, putting some of the doctors in danger.
Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), Bailey (Chandra Wilson), and Jo (Camilla Luddington) visited a maximum security jail to tend to a 16-year-old pregnant inmate in what resulted in a high-intensity emotional roller coaster of an episode.
After the doctors delivered the baby and left the prison, the trio drove home together. But the ride was anything but peaceful. Bailey got a call informing her that Karev (Justin Chambers) — who, in the midseason finale, was last seen at the DA’s office — had indeed taken a plea deal that will send him to jail for two years.
Here, Jessica Capshaw talks to Variety about the prison-centric episode, and teases whether Karev will actually end up behind bars.
Where did the inspiration for tonight’s prison episode come from?
I don’t know, but I do know that our writer was researching for quite a long time over the hiatus. I know that there was a strong effort to have it be as realistic and accurate as possible.
What was it like for you to film an episode set in prison?
There’s a different brand of anxiety and anticipation that’s based in this episode. There’s always life-and-death when it comes to “Grey’s Anatomy,” but we’ve never dealt with this level of peril. You’re worried about this woman who is pregnant, but you’re also worried about what’s going to happen to the doctors. It makes for something that feels hopefully very tense and provocative.
Is this episode meant to make any statement on the prison system in America?
I think that is one of the most beautiful things about America is that we have the freedom to choose and have opinions. And there are so many different opinions to be had about the prison system, how the medical system works within the prison system, how people are accounted for, how they are helped, how they are not helped, and how they are treated. Hopefully, having this auxiliary universe that they’re operating in and having this different environment, you’re made to think and maybe have different opinions on those things.
In the final scene, Bailey tells Arizona and Jo that Karev took the plea deal and he’s going to jail. Is that actually going to happen, or is there any chance he can turn back?
No. I think it’s definitely a ship that has sailed and I think you’re meant to believe that, and now you need to brace yourself for what will happen, now that he’s done that [taken the plea deal].
So, will we see Karev behind bars?
You’re going to have to watch the show! [laughing]
How will Arizona deal with this news about Karev?
I think she’s completely devastated. Between having seen a pretty horrific side of parenting and motherhood [at the prison, earlier in the episode], and now combined with the fact that one of her nearest-and-dearest proteges could be taken away forever, I think it’s as bad as it gets. If he goes to prison, he can’t practice medicine again. I think it’s a pretty sh-tty car ride home.
If Karev does go to jail, will we continue to see him? What does this mean for Justin Chambers on the show?
When you watch the show, you’re going to find out whether or not he really goes and what happens and what could get him out or what could keep him in. You’re going to see it all.