Grey’s Anatomy administered last rites to Meredith and Nathan’s burgeoning love story nearly two weeks ago but an official cause of death remains elusive. Why exactly did the ABC drama write out Martin Henderson just as his onscreen romance with leading lady Ellen Pompeo seemed to be catching on with viewers?
“So many things go into decisions like that,” co-showrunner Krista Vernoff hedged Saturday night at the show’s 300th episode soiree in Los Angeles. “What I can say is I was really proud of how we told that story. I was really proud that we had a love triangle [with Meredith, Nathan and Megan] where the women continuously supported each other and nobody ever tried to tear anybody down or backstab anybody. They were rooting for each other and grateful for each other and taking care of each other.”
Vernoff then added, “Martin is an incredible talent and that’s what I can say.”
Series creator Shonda Rhimes was similarly cagey about Henderson’s departure and its impact on Meredith/Nathan. “Meredith is a very complex character who had the love of her life die,” she shared. “I don’t know that, for her, an epic romance is exactly what she’s looking for. I think it might come when she least expects it, but I don’t think that’s what she is looking for next. And so I kind of subscribe to the idea that a woman should be looking for something else. Mainly something for herself as opposed to basing everything on a man.”
According to Vernoff, the “something else” Rhimes speaks of involves her day job. “Right now, Meredith is a medical superhero,” she noted. “We came into this season and I sat down with Ellen and said, ‘What stories do you want to tell?’ And Ellen said, ‘I get so many little girls who come up to me and tell me they were inspired to become doctors and surgeons because of Meredith, and I think Meredith has become a little bit of a medical superhero. I want to see that.’ So that’s what I’m writing, and I’m loving it. I’m loving how empowered Meredith is and how brilliant Meredith is and how she’s thriving despite continued heartbreak.
“Do I think there are other kinds of happiness in store for Meredith? I think there might be,” Vernoff continued. “But I don’t think she needs them. I think she’s gotten to a place in her life where her friends and her family and her career are filling her up.” (With reporting by Jean Bentley)