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.