Fall TV Preview

Spoiler! Grey's Anatomy's New Chief Is 'As Surprised As Anybody Else' By the Decision

Seriously, even more change is afoot in the halls of Seattle Grace as Grey’s Anatomy uncorks its new season on Sept. 22.

Already, we have April stepping in as chief resident, but the shuffled pecking order won’t stop there. There’s also going to be a new Chief of Surgery to hail, and this time around it will be [spoiler alert!] Dr. Owen Hunt.

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“He’s as surprised as anybody else about this. And he’s nervous about it,” Kevin McKidd told TVLine on the set of Grey’s on Tuesday. “He’s a man of action, really, and the head of trauma surgery — that’s what he knows. Suddenly, he’s in a more administrative position. I think the way he deals with that is going to be interesting.”

What happened to the chief long known as “the Chief,” Dr. Richard Webber? It will be revealed in the two-hour Season 8 opener that he has opted to step down “because of what’s happening with Adele [and her Alzheimer’s] and what happened with Meredith” and Derek’s tainted drug trial, McKidd reports. But whereas Webber’s previous demotion was involuntary and met with animus, “He’s made his peace with it” this time.

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That, however, leaves Owen to deal with the fallout of this most unexpected change in the hierarchy. “People give him a hard time,” McKidd previews. “It’s not going to be easy for Owen being the chief in the aftermath of Richard Webber.”

Assessing the situation as “complicated, because these doctors and surgeons have huge egos, and they don’t like administrative change,” McKidd says, “It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out.” As an actor, he anticipates “a fun ride” as Owen “tries to shake things up and bring things up to the 21st century in the hospital.”

The most interesting reaction to it all may be that of Owen’s wife, Dr. Cristina Yang, whom McKidd says “will be excited for him, on one level.” But…? “There’s so much more going on in Cristina and Owen’s life,” what with the unexpected (and protested, by her) pregnancy, “that this in a way that adds another layer of complication for them.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)

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What do you think of Grey’s new choice for chief?