Post Mortems
Grey's Anatomy Meredith and Nathan

Grey's Anatomy's Ellen Pompeo on Meredith's Sudden Romantic Detour: 'We've Got to Lay This on Fans Gently'

Grey’s Anatomy, you bait-and-switchy bastard.

Just as Thursday’s penultimate Season 12 episode had begun laying the groundwork for a Nathan-Maggie romance, Shonda Rhimes threw out one of her signature curve balls by having Meredith lock lips (and then some) with Grey Sloan’s newbie surgeon. Of course, the hookup was as surprising as it was inevitable. Ever since Martin Henderson arrived on the scene last fall fans had pegged his doc as “The New McDreamy.” But even the actor himself was thrown by how the romp went down.

“The way it was set up, I was convinced that Maggie and Nathan were going to be the couple,” he says. “And then this thing happens with Meredith — I was shocked. Even though I knew there was always a potential for [a Nathan-Mer romance], I never really bet on it. I thought Shonda had other ideas.”

You know who wasn’t surprised by the sudden shag session? Ellen Pompeo, who tells us, “I knew it was coming eventually.”

In the below Q&A, Pompeo elaborates on the who-what-where-when-why of Meredith/Nathan, disclosing what she thinks along the way.

TVLINE | How did you find out Meredith and Nathan would be a thing?
The day before the table read, [exec producer] Debbie Allen came and told me. I don’t think anyone else knew at the table read. They thought it was going one way, and then in the last scene, it’s like, boom.

TVLINE | Why do you think it took so long?
Shonda is very cautious about Meredith’s journey forward, and who that’s with and how that happens. I know she’s very thoughtful about it and has very specific ideas about what Meredith’s introduction to new guys should be. We’re trying to get the fans used to the idea of Meredith dating first and seeing Meredith in the presence of another man romantically. I think we’ve got to lay that on the fans very gently.

TVLINE | Did Will help start that transition?
I think that was the point, yes. A little foreplay there. [Laughs] I think that Meredith really liked [Will], and that scared her. She really enjoyed their night together, and that made her feel very guilty, so she had to end that, because she wasn’t ready to fall for another man. And I think that with Nathan, [Meredith feels] they can never really be together, because there’s too much else going on with him and Owen. She feels like it’s much safer, because she’ll never have feelings for him; it’ll just be sort of scratching an itch.

TVLINE | A one-night stand?
I don’t know if it’ll be a one-time thing or not, but I think that it’s emotionless. It’s just a physical thing. That’s why she’s doing it — because she doesn’t have to worry about falling in love with another man.

TVLINE | What do they see in each other?
I have no idea. [Laughs] I think that possibly Meredith sees that he lost someone, too, so they have that in common.

TVLINE | How does their hookup reverberate in the finale?
No one really knows. Maggie has a crush on him, so Meredith can’t really reveal what has gone on, because she has to keep it secret from her sister… [And] I’m not sure if the relationship, the sexual relationship, is going to continue or not. I think maybe they want to give the fans a little taste and see how they react first, and then they will decide what to do. Shonda is sort of savant in that way. She just gets these ideas, and she’s very, very confident about what direction she wants her characters to go in. So maybe she has a plan for next year.

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. I’m all for it! I’m ready for their relationship build up.

  2. Gul says:

    Here for it!

  3. Sara says:

    Yes, finally!! That was so hot and they have amazing chemistry.
    I want to see Meredith happy, she’s been so sad for too long.. it’s time for that to change.

  4. Lea says:

    I keep watching their scene lol, that was the highlight of the episode. So here for it!

  5. EM says:

    No surprise here. Whatever I think from the promo is going to happen….I turn that up side down and figure out what really will happen. Surprised they waited this long.

  6. Wooster182 says:

    I’ve only liked him around Maggie. I’m actually really disappointed about him with Mer. I hope it’s not the long term plan.

    • Coconuts says:


    • Coconuts says:

      I guess I’ll have to be the one that is 100% against Mer and Riggs. I was looking forward to Maggie and Riggs. Mer and Riggs lacked chemistry the kiss was so weird and awkward and she was telling him to shut up too. Ugh…

      Maggie brought out a nice side of Riggs. Oh well guess not.

      Jo… Can we all vote Jo off the island? I mean seriously! That pissed me off saying no to Alex.

      Ha ha for Callie she needs therapy.

      I’m sad for Kyle he was too hot to die. (lol)

      That Amelia Owen engagement was crazy fast!

      • broncfanwa says:

        Probably in the minority here, but the relationship I’d like to see end is Maggie and Grey’s Anatomy. Every time I see her onscreen all I can do is send thanks to whoever invented fast forward.

      • Emma says:

        Jo is insane! Alex is a prize catch, girl needs to give her head a shake, seriously!

    • Eric says:

      I Loved the thought of him with Maggie! Wish Meridith would go to the gorgeous dude after her!

  7. Lauren says:

    Yeah that was a good kiss. But man, that other doctor she dated was SO HOT though. He told her he was going to call her again. I hope they’re keeping him on the back burner for next season.

  8. Allison says:

    Oh snap! I believe this will be very interesting indeed especially since Maggie seems to have a crush on Nathan.

  9. Giuseppe says:

    I’m a big Merder fan but I have to say I’m all in for Mer and Riggs!

  10. Pamela says:

    There isn’t any man in the cast right now that can follow in Derek’s footsteps. Just let it be a fling and introduce more men next season please.

  11. Cindy cook says:

    Meridith and Riggs need to hook up and stay together

  12. NM says:

    I think a Maggie and Meredith conflict could actually be entertaining.

  13. Jess says:

    For a minute I thought they were going with Maggie and Nathan and I hated that idea. Maggie is a boring character if she’s not in the ”sisters scenes” IMO. There’s not much story you can tell between them. Meredith and Nathan make much more sense they are both dark and twisty, they had a loss, and seem like a great fit and can be really interesting and dramatic. And really I doubt they are going to waste a series regular on Maggie – most fans called it when Martin was made a series regular that it’s going to be for Meredith.
    The last scene was really, really hot. And they have amazing chemistry together, guess they will have a bigger story next year – this episode and next episode will lead in to season 13! Looking forward for it.

  14. Velloso21 says:

    I’m just glad the hookup wasn’t Merriam and Alex.

  15. Kourt says:

    I thought Mer and Riggs kiss was hot and steamy. I loved how much they argued before the kiss. Great banter.

  16. Right…nope. While I have no problem with Meredith dating, I honestly prefer Nathan with Maggie. Meredith and Nathan just feel too weird and too forced for me.

  17. Bark Star says:

    This is a prime opportunity for the show to explore something different and not go the usual romance route. Stick to the idea that Mer feels safe satisfying her sexual needs with him because of his status as a pariah – like Ellen said in the interview ! THATS interesting. But a relationship ? No, doesnt work with these two and would be boring and vanilla. We have enough of that already.

  18. Ally says:

    No no no to mer and Riggs! She’s supposed to be on Owens side, being a good friend. Disappointed

  19. kpmom says:

    I like it. I think they should definitely take them down this road and see where it leads. However, I absolutely DO NOT want to see Mer and Maggie fighting over a man. Never, no way, no thanks. Not interested.

  20. Nawshin says:

    I like meredith and nathan together. Hopefully there will be more…

  21. tvadictmom says:

    Meredith needs to be with someone quick. The way she treats Amelia reminds me of how awful her mother treated her

  22. Desp says:

    Have to say, although it came out of nowhere, I really liked the scene. Riĝgs is a very strong man, which is not so usual in Shonda’s world, so it would be nice to see those two interact. It’s time Mer got a life- being without a man has really turned her bitchy and bitter

  23. Cindy says:

    Am I the only one who sensed that Mer was subconsciously lashing out at Shepherd for encouraging Hunt to get a big boy house. To get rid of Derek’s house. And by extension, hooking up with Hunt’s enemy as punishment for knocking the wind out of her by turning over the trailer in the hospital parking lot.

  24. EM says:

    Thorpe was lust and liked by Mer. Riggs was lust and disliked by Mer. Next guy??? Hard to replace the father of her children. Not sure it can ever happen but hope Mer gets happy soon. Hate to see her so unhappy.

  25. Carlee Collins says:

    I am so very happy!!!! My heart raced so fast, i cried tears of joy! If Shonda doesn’t keep the relation ship going i think I’m going to cry and possibly stop watching Grey’s because the day they first met i was like “owww they should definitely hook up” I really think that he could be the new Mcdreamy!!!!!!!

  26. Eric says:

    I’m praying Shonda pulls a good one and it’s April and Jackson who get remarried! I already know Torres is leaving and I absolutely Love her! Wish she and Arizona had stayed together. Dr. Shepard is clean and deserves to be happy so does Owen and I hope they do well together! Meridith was perfect with the first guy she met, I know Lil Grey was falling for the dude Meridith kissed so that was a bummer bC they actually would look awesome together. I cried so hard when they lost the singer and felt so bad for I can’t remember her name suddenly. This finale is going to be awesome!

  27. greenbridge says:


  28. Casey Ritter says:

    Nope don’t go for it…what was that comment in her interview about doing it all on her own without a man. Derek the real Mcdreamy that played this show for 11 years needs to come back.

  29. Marija says:

    I think it’s the right time to have Meredith romantically involved and to be with Riggs looks very promising and exciting at the same time. I also think that it is kind of inevitable for Maggie to be heartbroken first and then find true love.
    So looking forward to season 13!