The following contains spoilers from the Jan. 31 episode of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. Proceed at your own risk.
In a roundabout way, April Kepner killed Thatcher Grey.
You see, after Grey’s Anatomy writer Elisabeth R. Finch pitched showrunner Krista Vernoff Thursday’s emotional episode, “The Winner Takes It All” — in which Catherine underwent grueling surgery in hopes of removing a cancerous tumor — the boss was 100-percent on board. “She wanted to tell the story of her own diagnosis, surgery and survival, and I wanted to support her telling that story,” Vernoff says. “So often on television, cancer is death, or life cancer-free, and so many millions of Americans are living with cancer.
“Finchy lives with cancer,” she adds, referring to the episode’s writer. “And she wanted to help other people living with cancer see themselves represented on television, because representation matters. I was for it.”
“We did some brutal things to our characters and expected them to die… then they lived,” she points out. “So I said to [Finch], ‘If you really want Catherine to survive this surgery that so few people survive and have it feel like a miracle, someone we deeply care about has to die. And she came to me with the idea of Meredith’s father.” (Reporting by Michael Ausiello)