Post Mortems
Martin Henderson Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy: Martin Henderson on Sibling Twist and 'Enabling' [Spoiler]

Hit the nearest exit if Thursday’s fall finale of Grey’s Anatomy is still eating up space on your DVR. Everyone else, read on… 

In the final moments of Grey’s Anatomy‘s fall finale on Thursday, Meredith doled out a big clue regarding the nature of Owen’s beef with Grey Sloan’s new MD Nathan Riggs when she posed this Q to Cristina’s ex: “I didn’t know you had a sister.”

Yep, Owen’s family tree produced a surprising new branch, one which appears to be connected to his arch nemesis Riggs. But how? And why? In the following Q&A, Riggs’ portrayer, Martin Henderson, weighed in on those mysteries still unsolved, while also touching on the unfortunate (and unintentional) role his character played in Amelia’s relapse.

TVLINE | So, is it fair to say something happened between Riggs and Owen’s sister that caused this rift?
I think it would be more than fair. [Laughs] I think that would be rather accurate. There’s something in his history that involves Owen’s sister, who is not around from the sounds of it. But what that means and the circumstances surrounding it I don’t know an awful lot about. As you probably know, things are mysteriously dribbled out to the audience [on Grey’s]. And even I don’t know the exact circumstances of it yet.

TVLINE | Is his sister dead?
Possibly. Again, I don’t actually know. What I do know is that Owen is extremely resentful of [Riggs] being around because of something that happened involving his sister a while ago. And what I can glean from the episodes we have shot since [the fall finale] is that in a previous time Owen and Riggs were actually quite close. And this situation that happened with his sister has caused this rift that Owen refuses to forgive him for. And it seems like my character feels quite vindicated, in the sense that he doesn’t feel that he has to explain himself.

TVLINE | Owen’s mom doesn’t seem to carry a similar grudge.
Exactly. So whether she heard my version of events and was more trusting and willing to believe him, or whether she was privy to information that would absolve him, I don’t know. But Owen’s mom was very clearly able to forgive and accept him.

TVLINE | Does the Owen-Riggs tension continue? 
Yeah, it doesn’t really calm down. It’s interesting, Riggs is willing to accept Owen’s feelings and not defend himself and I think maybe that comes from a position of him understanding Owen’s hurt. But he’s certainly not willing to accept blame. I think Riggs understands Owen’s position and is willing to allow [this tension] to exist as long as he can do his job. But eventually Owen’s strong position on it causes other people in the hospital to distrust Riggs and marginalize him to the point where it’s starts to affect his ability to do his job. And that’s when [the feud] escalates. That’s down the line a little bit of it.

TVLINE | Let’s talk about the scene with Riggs and Amelia at the bar. First off, does he know at this point that she is romantically involved with Owen?
Riggs hasn’t seen Owen and Amelia together, so that’s a good question.

TVLINE | I thought for a second he was going to hit on her. 
From what I know of Riggs as a character and his values, if he was aware that Amelia and Owen were romantically involved he wouldn’t dare stir that pot — particularly in light of what has happened between them historically. I don’t believe he’s the kind of person who would willfully do something like that.

TVLINE | And then he buys her a drink…
And he certainly would not have offered her a drink had he known she was an alcoholic.

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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60 Comments
  1. Eddie Pimu says:

    Seems pretty obvious given Rhimes’ script history. Riggs is Owen’s transgender sister. Not much of a surprise.

  2. ThePhilosophisingWatcher says:

    Nathan IS Owen’s sister. Bombshell…

    • No way – Owen was one of the doctors counseling Ben when he went through that storyline. Ben’s brother wanted to transition. Ben wasn’t happy about it and the other doctors tried to help him reconnect with his brother. There is no way that storyline gets repeated again (and verbatim)

    • That makes no sense whatsoever. I don’t understand why people keep saying this. Does anyone use their brains or think of all aspects of the storyline as a whole?

  3. Stacy says:

    Given Shonda’s history, the other comments about Riggs being transgender are certainly possible, but I’m leaning away from it. I don’t think it fits the rage and PTSD. He could be a foster brother, and there was some accident or terrible decision in their teens. He could have been married to Owen’s sister and something happened.

  4. iiillijlijlijl says:

    I first thought of the transgender route but then I thought about his accent. His character is proudly a New Zealander, so I think his sister was also in the army and Riggs and her were married, but something happened to her. Therefore giving Owen PTSD for life, and Riggs being family too.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Nathen could not be the trans gender sister,because Owen punched him in the face like men do to each other.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I think they have different last names.

  7. Lucie says:

    He can’t be his sister. He has an Aussie accent and you don’t develop an accent from living in a country for a few years. Something happened to Owen’s sister and Owen blames Riggs for it. My best guess is that they were married; she was seriously ill and Riggs decided to pull the plug.

    • lizzie says:

      Or the sister was the army too and Riggs failed to protect her from getting killed.

    • peanut says:

      Actuaaly that is the plot of off the map except hat he did not pull the plug for years so that he could use her money for the clinic and only starting thinking about it when he fell for another woman. That was a rhimes show too

      • BRS says:

        I loved that show and I actually had to look up that it wasn’t the same character! That would have been an interesting cross over!

  8. PL says:

    They just did that the transgender storyline last season with Ben’s brother, now sister. They won’t repeat something like that so soon. Sorry to burst your bubble, people.

  9. mercurio6662015 says:

    I hope that the chapter has been more entertaining to watch than reading, which to me has been my boredom. The comment, which contains only an account of what has happened in the chapter, without taking a position on the quality of the performances, of scenes filmed, I think the orders of Debbie Allen, or the quality of the scripts but what you might say, It is a ” Vintage Grey’s ” of previous seasons, good is not strict, if it was, Derek Sheperd would be in the plot and I would not have stopped watching the series from chapter 21 season 11 that “witch chocolate” decided to eliminate Patrick Dempsey. I repeat, this is not a comment, it is a monotonous summary of what happened in the chapter, without comment on the frames, interpretation or technical … maybe do you want to feed the curiosity of dissidents to return to the fold? Are you impartial or equipment Shonda Rhimes guides your pen? But what I know, I was just a fan who watched without fail this series since its beginning.
    By the way, the makeover new guy it does not strain, if they intended to achieve a resemblance to Patrick Dempsey, have failed, but although to try harder they will never get it, PATRICK DEMPSEY is unique, but I wonder what kind of person modifies its aspect to try to supplant another actor with a charismatic physical

  10. EM says:

    Amelia makes everything all about her. Mer told her it wasn’t her story to tell and to back off. She needs to talk to Owen. Why am I thinking she is going to have a drunken one night stand with Riggs and Owen finds out?

    • Sory but, who was way out of the line was Meredith. She should have told Amelía. Amelía has a right to know, she is Owen’s girlfriend. I won’t keep a promise to a jealous cold hearted bitch like Cristina who pushed Owen away, and nearly made Mer push Derek away and then leaves half the way aroiund the world

      • Bazinga says:

        First off is she his girlfriend? I thought they were more like sort of dating mostly sexing. Also Mer has a much longer relationship with Owen and she is respecting his wishes in not telling Amelia. She didn’t even ask details from his mom she simply asked how worried to be. Amelia needs to be less neurotic and just be there for Owen as much as he will let her. She could do that without having all the info.

    • BRS says:

      I feel like we are going to go all soap opera here…she hooks up with Riggs and gets knocked up and wants to keep it due to her previous baby’s death…and for the record…I am ok with that….

  11. I really highly doubt that Rigg is a trans man. There has BEEN a storyline where a doctor’s brother was transitioning (Ben’s), so don’t you think that Owen being the person that he is, would have approached Ben to give some advice? I don’t at ALL see Owen being unaccepting of a trans sibling.

  12. EM says:

    Amelia makes everything all about her. Mer told her it wasn’t her story to tell and to back off. She needed to talk to Owen. Why am I thinking that she will have a drunken one night stand with Riggs and Owen finds out?

  13. Ricwig says:

    Could it be Riggs is transgender?

  14. Price says:

    I think Riggs was married to owen’s sister. There was some accident and Riggs saved his self and Owen sees it as Riggs allowed his sister to die.

  15. robandco says:

    No way Riggs is transgender. It doesn’t fit at all with Owen’s character.
    I wonder what happened to her sister. Was Riggs his lover? Did she die because of him? Mama Hunt holds no particular grudge so it mustn’t be that bad…

  16. Ella Jasper says:

    I can’t stand the character of Amelia, on PP or GA. Maybe they’ll send her off to rehab and forget about her.

  17. the girl says:

    My theory is that Riggs had a choice to save the sister or save Owen and he chose Owen. And Owen resents him for it. It fits with the Grey’s history of having mirroring stories. Last night there was a firefighter who wanted the doctors to focus on who could realistically be saved rather than wasting resources on him. Then you have this resentment from Owen to Riggs, I’m thinking it has something to do with Owen’s inability to accept that Riggs trying to save his sister would have been a waste of resources. I also suspect there was something romantic between Riggs and the sister, because of how intimately he referred to Owen’s mom (an ex-doctor wouldn’t call her “Ma”). Perhaps Owen is like, how could you pick me when you were supposed to love her? Okay I’m thinking too much about this.

  18. Monica4185 says:

    Riggs is Owen’s ex-brother in law. Owen’s sister is dead and Owen blames Riggs for her death. Simple people.

  19. Kristen says:

    Riggs will get the brunt of the blame for Amelia relapsing. Owen will make attacks on Riggs, Meredith will probably end up putting Owen in his place about Amelia being a grown woman in control of her own actions which will be the ray of sunshine on the future pairing of Riggs and Meredith. I’m interested to find out the dirty details of why Owen hates Riggs, although I have a feeling that once released it won’t be bad enough to warrant Owen’s actions towards Riggs. I have to say I really like this character for the show though.

  20. Jean says:

    My two cents: Nathan was married to Owen’s sister, and was driving when they had a accident and she died — maybe he had been drinking — maybe she was — either way, Owen blames him for his sister’s death. I think Amelia will get drunk at the bar, get in an accident, and as her life hangs in the balance, Owen’s anger will escalate, and Meredith will feel guilty about the way she has treated Amelia.

  21. Lane says:

    Owen has PTSD from his tour(s) overseas, several episodes address this (the fan/helicopter when he attacked Cristina; the flashback episode with this former commander’s death, etc.) He might have previous PTSD from witnessing a traumatic event involving his sister and Riggs. Riggs isn’t Owen’s transgender sister, the man stated in E07 that he’s from New Zealand while operating with Maggie and then detailed his professional history for her as an impromptu job interview.

  22. Kylie says:

    Oh goodness NO, you can’t have Meredith and Alex !! But personally, I wish that they would get rid of Stephanie.

  23. peanut says:

    Go to plot line of off the m

  24. Jillian clark says:

    I watch Grey’s Anatomy every day, Lifetime reruns. It’s my tranquilizers. I’m an expert and obviously adored the show. I’m done. The words from character Meridith to character Amelia( her portrayer should have won an Emmy on “Practice”) about not being her sister, that ended it. Of course I won’t give up the reruns on Lifetime, those were written by good writers. But noore Thursday nights. Horrid non-writers. And it took too much energy to hate( the Thursdays.) They won’t miss me, bye.

  25. Kuroe says:

    I love me some Martin henderson. He’s from my favorite m ob view the Ring with nominated watts. I’ve had a celebration crush on him ever since. He still looks good as heck! Oh be still my heart. First Sloan now him yummy. But I’m can’t wait to figure out what’s going on. He’s a bit of a risk taker….wonder if he accidentally killed Owens sister :-(

  26. Kuroe says:

    Never mind question answered…wow. that’s a surprise to me!

  27. Christina castille says:

    Owens sister was an addict, the other guy was married to her and he didn’t do anything to help her get away from her addiction and she died of an overdose. That’s what an enabler is. Owen blames him because Owen tried to get her to stop and her husband probably took his wife’s side thinking that Owen was making it worse and when she died they both thought it was the others fault.

  28. Den says:

    His character is really great. I like him a lot, and I personally hope they will develop him further. I would love to see more of Riggs.