SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Beautiful Dreamer,” the 19th episode of the 14th season of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“Grey’s Anatomy” has revealed that Sam Bello (Jeanine Mason), a surgical intern working at Grey Sloan Memorial, is an undocumented immigrant and a DACA recipient.
For the episode titled “Beautiful Dreamer,” producers enlisted the consulting services of Define American, a non-profit organization dedicated to humanizing immigrants through media.
“‘Grey’s Anatomy’ has always been ahead of the cultural curve, and Define American is honored and privileged to have worked with their expert team in charting new territory about how undocumented Americans are portrayed on network television,” Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees, managing director of creative initiatives at the organization, said in a statement exclusively for Variety. “Define American is incredibly proud of tonight’s episode, which is a highlight of our work in helping the entertainment industry tell accurate and inclusive stories of immigrants, documented and undocumented.”
“Grey’s Anatomy” hosted Define American’s entertainment media department — led by Voorhees and Kristen Marston — for a writers’ room meeting during the pre-production process. This meeting included several undocumented Americans (including medical students and representatives from Pre-Health Dreamers) for the writers to hear from firsthand. The organization also assisted in fact-checking and giving critical feedback on the feasibility of the situations that undocumented characters might encounter.
Define American consulted on more than 23 television and film projects in 2017, including NBC’s “Superstore” and Hulu’s “East Los High.” The work with “Grey’s Anatomy” marks their first collaboration with ABC-Disney.
In addition to consulting with writers, producers, and directors, Define American’s creative initiatives team also created the first-ever media reference guide on immigrants and immigration for entertainment professionals last year.
They will explore the topic of undocumented Americans in-depth during their third annual Define American Film Festival in Chicago next week. The opening night panel is dedicated specifically to immigrant representation in entertainment, moderated by Melissa Harris-Perry and featuring “Jane the Virgin” writer Rafael Agustin.