Grey's Anatomy's Kim Raver: Teddy's Grief Fuels 'Intense, Surprising' Changes for Her and Owen

Step 1 for Grey’s Anatomy‘s Dr. Teddy Altman was learning that her husband, Henry, had died during surgery. Step 2 was realizing that said sad news was kept from her for hours. Step 3, played out last week, saw Teddy finally process her loss, and break down emotionally. So what’s next for the devastated doc as her story continues tonight at 9/8c on ABC? Kim Raver shared with TVLine some insight into Teddy’s mindset, and how a sense of betrayal will steer one Seattle Grace relationship, in particular, in a “surprising” new direction.

TVLINE | When you first got wind of the Henry’s death storyline, did you have any concerns, were you tentative about anything? And if so, how were those feelings alleviated?
I wouldn’t say “concerns” is the right word to describe it. I was excited because I think there are so many layers for Teddy to work through. You know that Teddy is going to have to go to some pretty dark, sad places, but what I think is interesting — and [series creator] Shonda [Rhimes] and the writers and I had a conversation about this — is the way she grieves is played out in a different way. There’s a direction that Teddy is starting to go into, where she sort of becomes a workaholic. She’s in so much pain and not actually going through that grieving process, because she’s kind of in denial. Also, there’s an interesting thing that’s happening between Teddy and Owen; it’s very clever on Shonda’s part to create this tension with the two of them, because they have such a big history. It’s with the deepest friendships that subconsciously she felt the safest, and that’s what we’re sort of playing with.

TVLINE | So if she is hardest on Owen, it’s coming from a place of, “Hey, we’ve been friends for a while, going back to Iraq.”
Yes. There’s some intense stuff that’s coming up with that, and that makes for interesting drama. A lot of surprising things for their friendship will definitely be coming out of Teddy’s grief. I don’t want to give away too much, but…. Teddy feels extremely betrayed, in a way. She was in an OR, fixing someone else’s mistake, and people kept coming in — but especially one person — saying everything [with Henry’s surgery] was fine. So to have that trust be broken, especially by the person she really entrusted her whole life to, cut pretty deep.

TVLINE | What was your interpretation of the scenes where Teddy had Cristina repeatedly recount Henry’s surgery? Was it not so much that she wanted to know Cristina did it right, but that Teddy needed to have it driven into her head that Henry was dead?
I think it’s a combination of things. Those scenes were so interesting to me, again because she’s not grieving like a regular person. She was sort of balancing between surgeon and wife, and that was a high-wire act for her. Having Cristina repeat it over and over again had nothing to do with her wanting to “torture” her, as [April] said. What it really was for her was, “If I had been in that surgery, I need to meticulously go over every single thing that happened, to know if there was anything that I, Teddy, could have done to make the outcome different.” Not knowing that is unbearable for Teddy. It’s almost as if she needed to “replay the video” in her head, to see what she could have done to save Henry. Teddy’s “thing” is about fixing things and making them better — that’s why she’s an incredible surgeon — so her inability to have saved the person that’s he was madly in love with is excruciating for her. That’s that’s why there was that release at the end [of the episode] – it’s her horrific realization that there was nothing that could have been done. And for Teddy, that is kind of incomprehensible.

TVLINE | Some of our readers felt Cristina could have given Teddy a hug during her breakdown. Of course, that’s not typically Sandra Oh’s character, but was there any discussion on the set of trying that out…?
I’m trying to recall….. I don’t know, that’s really a question for Sandra. That’s her domain.

TVLINE | The synopsis for this week’s episode, in which Teddy and Cristina steal a case from Alex and Dr. McQueen, suggests a lighter, more “normal” Teddy. Or is that not quite the case yet?
It’s definitely a lighter Teddy, but she has a lot of anger underneath, so she’s going to be covering. I don’t want her to be like, “Oh, now everything’s fine! She figured out how he died and everything’s cool.”

TVLINE | She’s acting out.
Yeah! That’s a perfect way of putting it. She knows what she’s doing and what she’s not supposed to be doing, so “acting out” is a great way of saying it. She’s angry. She’s angry with Owen, and that anger could be covering sadness. I think she’s extremely sad.

TVLINE | You’re making me somewhat scared for Kevin McKidd. It sounds like Teddy is really going to lean into Owen.
[Laughs] I am tipping you off a bit. I don’t know how much we want to give away, but yeah… It’s going to be difficult between her and Owen. But it’s also exciting what starts coming out of Teddy’s sadness, and it’s pointed toward Kevin McKidd’s character.

TVLINE | And before we go: Will you be tuning into True Blood next season, to catch Scott Foley (who played Henry)?
Yes, absolutely! With some sadness, I will, but with excitement for him!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Lucia says:

    It is not in Cristina’s nature to hug. There are only two people that Cristina hugs – Meredith and Owen – her best friend and her husband. So for her to hug Teddy, that would be so out of character.

  2. MsL says:

    I could care less about Teddy. They are wasting time with this character. Remember Alex Shonda?

    • gloria says:

      Who is “Alex Shonda”?

    • rob60990 says:

      Alex is boring.

    • Olive says:

      Alex is a dick. I hope gets axed one day.

      • Becky says:

        Not sure if you have watched every episode of the show, but his storyline has made it clear that the character of Alex is actually a really good person deep down. The douche bag act is just that – an act to cover up his sensitive side and pain from his past. Remember when Ava/Rebecca came back all psychotic and he was taking care of her? It came out that his mother had mental issues as well and he’d taken care of her in the past AND his father was a heroin addict who’d been physically abusive… Also, his brother was schizophrenic and tried to kill their sister, then showed up later in their psych ward… Then he married Izzie when he thought she was dying and tried to take care of her, but SHE left him broken-hearted… Then the thing with Ava/Rebecca went down… Just saying… People aren’t always as they appear, whether it’s on tv or in real life. Good life lesson there… You should take notes.

  3. gloria says:

    The idea of Cristina hugging Teddy is really off.

    I’m not happy that Henry was killed. I liked him so much. Sigh.

  4. Nerdista says:

    I hope this has nothing to do with Owen and Christina’s relationship problems that were hinted at. I really hate Teddy/Owen.

  5. *Muse* says:

    Who is Dr. Mcqueen ?

    • Sarah says:

      Dr. McQueen is a Cardio fellow that was introduced last season to look over Cristina when Cristina had PTSD and had to watch over Roy while Teddy went to get his heart and lungs.

  6. Babygate says:

    I like Kim Raver and love Teddy. I think she’s funny and dynamic and the best mentor that Cristina has ever had because she not only cares about her skill but also her emotional growth and character development. I’m glad that Teddy is getting a meaningful storyline. But I do take pause with all the attention and storylines that Owen is getting. Now he’s the chief so he is everywhere. He has major turmoil coming up with Cristina and also with Teddy. And he only joined the show in S5. Callie on the other hand has been around since S2 and the only significant storyline she has gotten was last season and it was handled so badly that it did more damage than good. Her cartilage research continues to go unaddressed while both Richard and Derek got their trials and she gets precious little screen time. And Alex feels sometimes like a background player who after 8 seasons still hasn’t found a a consistent partner. Katherine Heigl wants to come back. Let her come back and let Alex be happy once and for all. Point is, too much Owen. And I like him, but there are other characters that are being neglected.

  7. fran says:

    Kim Raver is just… wow, mind blowing. such an amazing actress.

  8. Nina says:

    God, it that means Teddy will start something with Owen I am gonna puke! Absolute no-go!! I cant imagine Owen with someone else and I dont want to. They have sent Cristina/Owen fans through hell this season. And I want a f…….g happy ending for gods sake.

    • Kate says:

      It’s too bad Shonda Rhimes killed off Henry because he was making Teddy almost tolerable as a character.

      The Teddy/Owen/Cristina trial was a huge mistake and Owen/Cristina, which was one of the best pairings on the show in a long time, was spoiled and has never recovered.

      I don’t care how long Teddy and Owen have been ‘friends’, keep Teddy away from Owen. It does neither character any favors.

      • Gretchen says:

        I’d like Teddy and Owen to marry, then disappear to a hospital far, far away. I like Teddy, but if it gets rid of Owen, hooray!

  9. mel7 says:

    Can someone make this woman stop talking please ?

    • Annie says:

      Can someone PLEASE explain to me all this Teddy-hate? She’s as well-written as any other character. She has no annoying tics like April’s nerve-grating voice. Kim Raver is no less skilled than any other actor on the show. What the heck is it that people feel so strongly and negatively about her? I just cannot fathom. I’m not a raving fan (I’m not a raving fan of any of the characters, to be honest, which is kind of why I love the show, and it’s best when it’s a true ensemble) — I just don’t see it.

      • Nicole says:

        Because she ‘threatens’ their OTP. It’s ridiculous.

        As for the Kim hate, I think it’s their hate of the character clouding their opinion on the actress.

  10. charissa29 says:

    People talk about Teddy’s torturing of Christina, but Sandra is the real star in those scenes. She is absolutely amazing! What she can do with her eyes and tone of voice while her face is covered by a mask?! Wow! Just Wow!

  11. Cher says:

    This show has seriously deteriorated. The story lines are ridiculou. The directing of the actors, especially during the surgery scenes. They are pathetic. The scripts are becoming more and more unrealistic and too far fetched with too many holes in logic to even take what you are seeing seriously. The directing lacks a sharp narrative to get across what it’s trying to say. It has gone stupid.

  12. Simon says:

    Wow, i looked Up on that Katherine Heigl thing, and I immediately found that she WANTS to return, at least thats what she has told E! Online!! That would be awesome

  13. Ally says:

    I can not stand “Teddy.” I don’t know why but I loathe everything about her. I am so tired of seeing her unblinking eyes peering over a surgical mask. However, she does look the part!

  14. Amy says:

    I love Teddy. And I get the feeling I’m in the minority, but I like Teddy and Owen. Cristina and Owen don’t agree on children and I can’t see that changing, hence I can’t see it working. They both feel so strongly about what they want that they’re incompatible. I liked Teddy’s history with Owen in S6 and I wouldn’t mind progressing with it this season once the storms have passed.