When Grey’s Anatomy resumes its current 14th season on Jan. 18 (8/7c, ABC), the action will pick up exactly where it left off: With Jo in the midst of a very tense reunion with her abusive husband, Dr. Paul Stadler, played by Glee vet Matthew Morrison. But as this exclusive image from the midseason premiere confirms, the creepy grin Paul had plastered on his face upon seeing his estranged spouse has largely vanished.
As showrunner Krista Vernoff previously revealed to TVLine, Morrison’s return will bring the long-gestating storyline involving Jo’s violent past to the fore. “We are facing the issue of domestic violence head-on,” said the EP. “My hope is that women will come out of this story feeling empowered. I’m really proud of this story. I’m really proud of the work that we’re doing.”
Morrison made his Grey’s debut as Paul in Season 13’s penultimate episode when Alex tracked down the fellow doc at a medical conference and imagined various incendiary scenarios involving his archnemesis. Ultimately, Karev walked away without confronting him, although the two did share an awkward moment jockeying for a cab (during which Paul seemed to recognize Alex). Just prior to the fall finale, Jo announced her intention to finally divorce Paul — a move she (rightfully) feared would bring him back into her orbit.
Morrison foreshadowed his Grey’s comeback over the summer when he hinted that Paul would play “a big role” this season. ABC has yet to reveal how many episodes Morrison will be sticking around for. (With reporting by Jean Bentley)