Grey's Anatomy Boss' Season 8 Finale Conundrum: 'I Don't Know What I'm Going to Do'

As anyone well versed in the teachings of Shonda Rhimes knows, the Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice boss maps out each season of her shows in reverse: First she establishes the finale’s endgame and then works backwards to the premiere.

Unfortunately, with the contracts of several core Grey’s castmembers (Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers, included) set to expire in May, the Empress of Shondaland is breaking with tradition for the first time.

Grey’s Anatomy Promo: Meredith is [Spoiler Alert]!

“I don’t know what I’m going to do at the end of the season yet,” Rhimes confesses to TVLine. “Until we know [who's coming back], we just don’t know [how the season will conclude]. So we’re taking it in a different way.”

That means treating Season 8 almost like it’s two separate seasons. “We’re looking at it in segments,” she explains. “We’re planning the first half of the season [now] and then I’ll plan the second half of the season when I know more stuff.”

Spoiler Alert: And Grey’s Anatomy‘s New Chief Is…

Regardless of what happens, Rhimes is certain Seattle Grace’s doors will remain open for a ninth season. The exec is having a tougher time predicting which longtime physicians will once again be walking its halls though. “I have no idea,” she hedges. “That’s not my job.”

Want Grey’s Anatomy Spoilers 24/7? Follow Ausiello on Twitter via @MichaelAusiello

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54 Comments
  1. lara says:

    As long as Sandra Oh comes back I will watch!

    • steve ostetwitz says:

      If Oh comes back for a 9th season, I will never watch the show again!

      I wish her character would transfer to another hospital in the first episode of the upcoming 8th season and NEVER come back.

      Better yet, just to make sure Oh never returns, like on ER….have a helicopter fall on her.

      • KCatty says:

        Hey, man. Not everybody can handle women who are unapologetically brilliant, fictional or otherwise.

      • Lida says:

        I guess Cristina is too competent and confident for you to stand her, huh? I personally love seeing such a strong female character. :)

      • Anonymous says:

        Sandra oh ( Christina yang) is my favorite character of all. I didn’t like her the first few seasons, but I love this marriage she has with Owen haunt. It changed her in many ways and it’s sweet how he is always making sure she’s okay.
        If she leaves grey’s anatomy, I will be very disappointed, but I don’t think she will because by looking at the online polls, it seems that she is the overall favorite character and the show will probably try hard to keep her on.

        ( I hope that they bring Katherine heigl back- izzie- to be with Alex)

    • miller says:

      (sorry for my English)

      Hmm…quick brainstorm : Desperate Housewives / Grey’s Anatomy crossover !!!

      Bree visits her ‘evil’ stepmom (the always great Carol Burnett) who is dying and wants to make peace with her…but can’t because Eleanor has a dark, heartbreaking secret, one that she just simply cant’t take to the grave : when Bree was a freshmen at college, she fell in love with a pre-med student and got pregnant. He was the love of her life a year before she met Rex (who reminded her of her first love) and they decided to have the baby…and she did. But Eleanor who was against it all along, managed to bribe a nurse AND a doctor and made it look like the child was stillborn. This broke the energetic and lively Bree, who broke up with the love of her life and became the repressed control freak Bree, we all know. She couldn’t control the death of her own baby, so she wanted to control everything else from then on and was obsessed with giving her future children the “perfect” life, the one she couldn’t give her first baby. Meanwhile, the child was sent to foster care. After Eleanor tells all this to Bree, Bree urges her to start praying because she will go to hell and since she is already on her deathbed, it will happen soon enough and leaves her without even the slightest sign of forgiveness.
      She starts searching for her child and finds his son (late twenties) who works as a social worker only an hour away from Fairview. She tries to get close to him so she starts volunteering there, as well and they bond immediately. She struggles to tell him the truth because she is convinced she wouldn’t want anything to do with her, but Lynette tells her to come clean, that’s the only way and she shouldn’t feel bad about leaving him, because she never did and even though they had never met before, he clearly inherited a lot of her great qualities (social worker, generous, selfless etc.). She does and the son doesn’t get angry or upset as she expected…he silently starts crying and hugs her. She persuades him to move in with her so they wouldn’t lose any more time to get to know each other. The girls – Lynette, Gaby, Susan, Renee – love him and make funny, inappropriate comments because he is strikingly good-looking. Gaby and Renee even throw a pool party just to see him shirtless but he arrives fully clothed, so Renee “accidentally” pours her drink on him. He goes home to change, Bree brings him a shirt and is shocked to see that he has terrible scars on his back, chest and arms. He refuses to talk about it, so she goes to his foster mom, an elderly woman who loves him dearly. The elderly woman tells Bree that before she took her son in at the age of 8, he was with a remarkably abusive foster family where the ‘father’ brutally abused the little boy constantly in every possible way. Apparently he molested him and every time the boy refused, he cut him with a knife but only where the clothes hid the injuries (that’s why the character always wears clothes that cover his arms, too)…and seeing the many, many scars her son still has, it’s obvious he NEVER let him without a fight even though he was only a little boy. Bree is shocked and outraged. She decides to kill the bastard and plots a plan to make it look like self-defense. She pulls it off with – of course – a little help from her friends.
      Then her son wants to know who her father is, so she tells him and he travels to Seattle to meet him. It takes him a whole day in Seattle Grace to finally find the man, because his father is busy all the time. During the day, he has the chance to hear a lot about him from others and there could be several funny one-liners about him looking like DotDotDot Jr., although nobody knows they are indeed related. At the end of the episode, he finally meets his father : Derek. Now he lives with him for a while and forms a close friendship with Meredith who is now (around the end of the season) 7-months-pregnant. The two go grocery-shopping one day, when a pity thief tries to rob the tiny store and panicks when Meredith’s phone starts ringing and shoots her…only “the son” jumped in front of her and he is now between life and death. Bree and at least one of the gals (Lynette!!!) go to Seattle where Bree asks Derek to save their son whatever it takes. His heart is wounded almost fatally, so Derek has to make the ultimate sacrifice…shortly after seeing his new-born baby who had to be delivered after the robbery, he commits suicide so his firstborn could have his heart. Meredith is heartbroken but comforts “the son”, that Derek had no choice and should embrace life because her husband gave him life twice now…

      THE END

      Something like this could be a an appropriately epic and memorable end of one of THE most iconic TV-shows (Desperate Housewives) AND a remarkably popular character (Derek). If my memory serves me well, Dempsey has already stated he won’t do another season, and Pompeo could still come back and start over with a fresh storyline. It could be a 6 episode DHW and 4 episode GA, ending the whole storyline with a 2-hour-GA-season finale that is also a DHW-GA-crossover episode and then (a week later) giving DHW a proper series finale…although something like this could be probably only realized IF Desperate Housewives had ANOTHER season…

      And for the record, I have huge respect for the writers on these two shows, I’m not trying to tell them what to do (mainly because they will do a MUCH better job than this AND they have probably already drafted the whole season). I’ve seen every single episode and I am grateful that they put such quality work on TV, I just offered a quick idea about these important finales from the point of view of a loyal fan…that’s all.

  2. Vittoria says:

    I need Shonda Rhimes to shut up and go back to write as she used to do in the first 3 seasons.

  3. xav says:

    Let’s face it: the woman never knows what she’s going to do. And even if she does have a cohesive season plan it’s always shot to hell by pregnant actresses.

  4. Alex says:

    I feel like this is a “make it or break it” time for Grey’s. Or “moment of truth” time. Or something important.

  5. Mohammad says:

    What I don’t get is why ABC isnt speeding up the negotiations so if cast members are leaving they have time to write them out properly. We’re gonna end up watching characters we’ve known for 8 years get the Erica Hahn exit treatment.

    This seriously sucks. I wish they’d just end it.

    • Miranda says:

      The series seriously needs to end with this season. If Meredith and Derek don’t come back, I won’t be watching. Lexie cannot take over the “Grey” in Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith is the voice of the show. It’s gone on long enough, it should end gracefully.

      • Alicia says:

        She better not kill Meredith or Derek either way, that’ll be the dumbest thing she could do.

      • SunnyBlue says:

        I don’t get why you insist the whole series needs to end if you won’t be watching without two of the actors anyway. If they don’t come up it’ll be over for you and those of us who are interested in the other characters and storylines can still continue to enjoy it.

        • Michelle says:

          I agree with Miranda. If the 2 main characters leave the show, it will ultimately go down hill. Tie up the loose ends and call it a day.

          • Jen says:

            The two main characters? Interesting. Seems like I must have been watching a completely different show all those years. ;)

  6. Sami says:

    they’re all gone and she forced them out the door being a sucky writer

  7. Michelle says:

    They just need to end the show already. 99% of the storylines have been recycled a dozen times already!

  8. hello says:

    So why don’t they just solve the problem now. Is there some silly SAG or DGA or WGA rule that says they can’t?

    • AK says:

      No, the actors are likely in standard contract negotiations with the network. The ones who want to leave are probably being swayed to stay, while the ones who want to stay are probably asking for more money. Eventually we’ll get an announcement that either a bunch of the stars got raises, or a bunch of them are leaving “to pursue other projects.”

  9. Aily says:

    I only want a good final for Meredith and Derek, the most wonderful couple on tv. I want them to be happy together, as marriage and as parents, even with a biological child. they deserve that.

  10. BRETT says:

    Another article on this topic, and basically NO new information included. We have heard time and time again that they don’t know what they’re going to do…Give them some time to figure it out!

  11. shuayb says:

    I know we can’t frakkin’ curse, but would all you haters, for petes sake just shut up!!!!!!
    Grey’s Anatomy may have lost some of its former glory. But its still one of the best damn shows on the TV!!!!!! it re invigorated the medical- type shows. Shonda is a great writer and Greys will continue. If you want Grey’s to end, how about YOU stop watching?????? Then its the end, Kapish! Get a life!

  12. Lisa says:

    As long as Justin Chambers stays I’ll keep watching and supporting Grey’s Anatomy. I love Cristina Yang too, but I’m pretty sure Sandra Oh will leave after season 8. She’s so talented and can do so many other things and it seems she’s not happy with how the writers have been treating her character and I understand that. Chandra Wilson and James Pickens jr. should stay too. The others I don’t really care about that much.

    • shuayb says:

      When has Sandra Oh ever said she is not liking what Shonda is doing to christina. I think tv line would have covered that interview.

    • Samantha says:

      I’m with you, Lisa. I’ll keep watching Grey’s Anatomy if Justin Chambers stays. If he leaves then I’m giving up on the show because quite frankly I’m not all that invested in the other characters or couplings and the writing for the most part has become so contrived and OTT.

  13. Nikos says:

    This is ridiculous. What is ABC waiting for? Can’t believe we might get rushed endings for some of the original characters, the foundation of GA’s success, because they’re in no hurry to start talking money and new contracts with the actors.

  14. Andy says:

    She may want Grey’s to go on for a ninth season but if Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey are out ABC will cancel Greys for sure. Shonda has no say in that.

    • Bee says:

      grey’s will stay as long as the ratings are there. and unless it has some sudden crash and starts going under 2.0 in the demos this season, season 9 is a go. beyond that is uncertain.

    • Tanya says:

      That’s what Pompeo and Dempsey fans want, but it’s not gonna happen. Grey’s brings in more than decent ratings for a show that’s pushing towards its eight season and they’ll try to milk it as long as possible. They’ll take a chance and give it a ninth season even if all of the core cast members leave next season. And only if there’s a huge ratings crash they’ll consider cancelling it.

    • Samantha says:

      Nah, Grey’s Anatomy is ABC’s cash cow. Even if all 4 main originals leave the network will keep the show on air as long as they are making money off of it. ABC will milk this cow for as long as they can even more so if they don’t have another hit drama in the new season.

  15. Bee says:

    agree with the person whose going WTF at the contract negotiations. maybe it’s a little too soon right now, but they should get on that ASAP. cus it will be the biggest suckfest and insult to fans if any of the originals are written out like hahn or even izzie since they have actual time here to prep and plan the departures. having said that, i like the two-season approach. it’s the best way to go when so much is up in the air.

  16. Meg says:

    Can someone recap the season finale for me? I’ve completely forgotten everything that happened last year (besides the fallout after the shooting and the Lexi-Mark-blue-eyed-guy-Arizona-Callie-baby thing). Blame it on the musical episode.

    • Lida says:

      Cristina is pregnant but is not sure she wants to keep the baby, which has made Owen upset. It looks like Teddy has chosen to stay with her husband, Henry, and start a real relationship with him. Alex revealed that Meredith got Chief Webber’s wife into Derek’s clinical trial by unfair means. Derek is angry that she jeopardized his trial, and he appears to have moved out of Meredith’s house. Meredith came home with the baby she and Derek adopted, only to realize that Derek is not there. April is chief resident. Alex’s girlfriend, the doctor whose name I can’t remember, has decided to go to Africa, leaving Alex alone again.

      That’s all I remember.

  17. KJMorse says:

    How about a decent medical storyline for Mark- last decent one would have to hav e been the face transplant

  18. Sam says:

    Ellen Pompeo would be nuts not to stay, seeing as this is probably the only successful, long-term job she’ll ever have.

    • Danielle H. says:

      INAORITE ? That’s what I’ve been thinking the whole time; but maybe she’s just burnt out and wants to fade out. You can kinda tell she really isn’t into the whole Hollywood, star life. She’s never at events and rarely photographed. The same can be said about alot of the stars on this show; this is their shining vehicle. O well.

  19. Ray says:

    I wish they would bring Burke back. Isiah has paid for his crime long enough. The character could stir things up.

  20. Monica says:

    Since I’m pretty sure this is Patrick and Ellen’s last season they should end the show with them. It’s not Grey’s anatomy without Meredith & McDreamy

  21. Jane says:

    I doubt Patrick Dempsey will come back after this season. He’s doing well in movies. If Ellen P. comes back, they could just have Derek become a stay-at-home dad to their adopted daughter and then maybe Meredith could have a real story-line that doesn’t involve them breaking up/ getting back together. I’m remember reading somewhere that Jackson Avery was supposed to turn out to be the secret child of Chief Webber and Ellis Grey. That would be a interesting story. I’ll keep watching as long as it doesn’t turn into the Callie Arizona Show like last year. I like the characters, but please enough already! Give some others the spotlight this year.

  22. SD says:

    If Pompeo, Dempsey and Oh leave the only way they might get another season is if all of ABC’s new shows this fall tank. Unless they have something to replace it with, it could squeeze out another year or two even with the declining ratings. Michael how about asking ABC when their contracts will be extended? I hope they are already talking.

  23. lolade says:

    i wish greys anatomy wil neva come 2 an end. I mer/der,christinah,every cast in d series. Pls,i dont mind d lexie-sloan happily ever after. I also want izzie back 4 alex’s sake. Shonda,u ar d best!

  24. lolade says:

    i wish greys anatomy wil neva come 2 an end. I luv mer/der,christinah n every cast in d series. Pls,i dont mind d lexie-sloan happily ever after. I also want izzie back 4 alex’s sake. Shonda,u ar d best!

  25. Kristi says:

    Great picture of Meredith and Patrick but this article was like a Seinfield episode. It was about nothing that hasn’t been said before.

  26. Judee says:

    Rhimes has stated she pitched eight different endings for the finale depending on who stays and who goes. I suspect those that choose to get off the Shondaland train will be killed off as a final FU to the actors who helped put her on the map. Can’t understand why they didn’t take a page from DH and get the negotiations settled earlier so that they could map out the season properly. Maybe ABC is waiting to see what the ratings are before committing to a ninth season. Just seems like a bad business decision.

  27. Claire says:

    They should just make it the Arizona Robbins show and be done with it. Or start a new Calzona spin-off where they raise their ten kids. Without Mark.

  28. blueyes says:

    they absoulutely should NOT end grey’s its the best tv drama since FRIENDS! they made it ten seasons and went out with a bang. no reason why Greys can’t do the same. i just hope meridith and derek AND christina are able to stay to see the show to the end..it wouldnt be the same without them and as much as i love the show..no one could replace them..the worst thing i think would be attempting to do so {replace them} i hate it when shows try to keep going with a different actor for a character.

    sorry but ashton kutcher CANNOT!! be Charlie Sheen!! it just doesnt work..you cant build a character for years and expect that another actor can do the same job!

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