Grey's Anatomy Boss Justifies Killer Season Premiere: 'Mark and Lexie Get to Be Together'

Grey’s Anatomy boss Shonda Rhimes exhausted all other possibilities before deciding to pull the plug on her beloved Mark Sloane in Thursday’s premiere.

“I had many options for ways Mark could leave the show,” the show’s creator wrote in an extended missive on her WhoSay page. “But any option that didn’t include him dying required him to a) grieve for Lexie indefinitely and b) willingly walk away from his daughter. We fought about this incessantly in the Writers Room. I didn’t want Mark to die but, as the writers rightfully argued back, Mark couldn’t abandon Sofia and he certainly couldn’t abandon Callie once Arizona’s leg was amputated.”

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Rhimes added that she briefly considered sending Mark to Los Angeles to reconnect with ex Addison. “I loved that idea,” she said. “But it still required Mark to abandon his child and abandon Arizona. And it meant that I’d have to scrap all the plans I had for Addison this season – and her plans are wonderful. Also, that would somehow suggest that everything he said to Lexie when she was dying was easily forgotten. So…I fought it and I debated it and tossed and turned about it but in the end, I had to do what was right for the integrity of the character. Mark would never abandon willingly Sofia and he would never willingly abandon Callie. So Mark dies. And he and Lexie get to be together in a way. Their love remains true.”

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Speaking of Lexie, Rhimes confessed that her death in last May’s finale “haunts” her to this day. “I adored that character and I couldn’t imagine the show without her,” she admitted. “It was important to me that her exit would have maximum impact. The plane was going to crash no matter what. I honestly wasn’t sure, because of contract negotiations, who was going to die in that crash. In my early finale plans, once I knew Chyler [Leigh] was leaving the show, Lexie wasn’t originally even on the plane. She was going to die back at the hospital by doing something as simple as slipping and hitting her head. She would have been dying over at Seattle Grace while other people were dying in the woods. Which wasn’t my favorite plan. She would have died without Mark at her side. Without the chance to say goodbye to him. Without the chance to hear that he loved her. I wanted them together when she left us.”

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Rhimes ended her essay by promising fans of all three of her shows — Private Practice and Scandal included — to expect “a lot of surprises” this season. “We have some weddings and some babies and some romance — both GA and PP,” she announced. “We have some very hot scenes of forbidden love (Scandal all the way). And we have a lot of incredibly strong smart women doing what needs to be done to make their lives work.”