Marika Dominczyk knew she was walking into a hornet’s nest when she took on the role of Grey’s Anatomy‘s feather-ruffling new surgical consultant Eliza Minnick, whose actions in last week’s episode led to the suspension of Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). And making matters more incendiary, she’s maybe-possibly looking to fill a certain romantic void in Arizona’s (Jessica Capshaw) life.
“‘Calzona’ fans are crazy,” Dominczyk tells TVLine with a laugh, referring to the still-zealous acolytes of Arizona and her ex, Callie (former cast member Sara Ramirez). “I really appreciate their passion. I think it’s amazing. The show’s been on the air for 13 years and has an incredible fan base. And I’m so happy to be a part of it, even if it’s on the [negative] receiving end.”
The actress admits she has avoided going too far down the Internet rabbit hole “because I would probably see more of the people who don’t like Eliza. Luckily, the [fans] that follow me [on social media] like me and can see past [the ‘Calzona of it all]… You kind of have to just put your head down and do your work and not think about any of that stuff or else it’ll drive you crazy.”
Dominczyk — the real-life wife of Shondaland vet Scott Foley (who appeared on Grey’s before segueing to Scandal) — jokes that her husband’s one piece of advice to her prior to starting work on the ABC drama was, “‘Stay off Twitter.'”
The Brothers & Sisters alum nonetheless concedes that “being the villain is kind of fun… Eliza’s stirring up all these feelings.”
Curiously, Eliza has thus far been reluctant to mix pleasure with business where Arizona is concerned — why is that? “Eliza takes her job crazy seriously,” Dominczyk surmises. “It’s a huge separation for her — work and personal life. Work comes first. And she’s at a place where people don’t want her there — and they’re vocal about it. And [yet] she has to continue to be professional. If that happened to me, I don’t know how confident I would be with my hookup skills.”
Her confidence in her surgical skills, however, will be evident in this week’s episode (ABC. 8/7c), which finds Eliza going “full-throttle with her teaching method,” Dominczyk previews, adding that it’s “definitely the biggest episode for Minnick” so far.
“I hope Eliza sticks around,” Dominczyk adds of her currently open-ended stint. “I don’t know if she’s going to stick around, but it’s been super fun playing her.”