TV & Radio
Grey's Anatomy fans are set for a turbulent time as the ninth series starts next week on TV2.
At least two of the regular cast will die in the aftermath of the dramatic plane crash, that featured in the final episode of last season.
Grey's stalwart Sara Ramirez, who plays Dr Callie Torres, talks to Isobel Allbury about the on-going effects of the plane crash and reveals why she loves working on the hit medical drama.
Seven years ago, after being offered a role on any ABC show that she wanted, Ramirez chose to join the cast of the already popular drama Grey's Anatomy as orthopaedic surgeon Callie Torres.
The Mexican-born actress, whose name is pronounced 'Sada', clearly made a great choice and as she finishes filming the show's ninth season she says she has never looked back.
"I had no idea what I was getting into but I'm so glad I did," she laughs. "Actors are constantly walking around wondering when they're going to be looking for their next job.
"We are programmed to always be expecting to be without a job. That's just kind of our nature after a while, so I never expected it to last this long and I'm thrilled that it's still going strong."
And ratings were particularly strong for the dramatic conclusion of the show's eighth season when several doctors from the Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital were involved in a plane crash.
Some of the core cast who were on the plane suffered serious injuries, including Meredith Grey's sister Lexie, who died after succumbing to her extensive wounds. However, she lived long enough to hear Mark Sloan reveal his true feelings for her, saying that he loved her and wanted to share his life with her.
Although Ramirez's character Callie was not involved in the crash she understands how hard it can be to film such dramatic scenes.
"I wasn't there but from what I heard it was really intense," Ramirez says of filming the crash.
"It's never fun when you hear that there's a potential for cast members to leave... When we read it, it was really sad and really difficult. I know I cried and I think a few other people did. It was very emotional."
Callie may not have been on the plane but her wife Arizona Robbins was and at the end of the episode she appeared to have a broken leg as a result of the crash. Under strict instructions not to spoil the fallout of the crash, Ramirez hints at what is in store in season nine for Callie and the other characters involved.
"The aftermath of the plane crash has huge effects on Callie and all her relationships," Ramirez says. "Callie struggles with who leaves and she's struggling with the aftermath for the folks that don't leave but are clearly traumatised in many different ways.
"(Some people) survive the crash but there may be more casualties. Derek has an injury to his hand but Callie does end up helping him and they sort of connect over that."
There could also be tough times ahead for Callie and Arizona's relationship but Ramirez believes their relationship is strong enough to get through almost anything, especially after Callie had a baby with fellow doctor Mark Sloan.
"I think they complement each other, they are like yin and yang," she says. "I think Arizona has taught her a lot and, in turn, I think Callie has given Arizona a really sweet and loving place to rest her heart... They've worked through and survived so much together and I just think that there's a deep connection there, a bond between them, that developed very quickly and sometimes that's what's meant to be."
Callie was not always intended to be bisexual but Ramirez says this was something she asked of the show's creator Shonda Rhimes.
"I've been immersed in the LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) community since I was really young," Ramirez says.
"For me I'm grateful that I grew up without any kind of fear of the LGB community. I actually went to Shonda Rhimes and said 'If you're going to have any character go down that road of bisexuality I would love to volunteer Callie, just letting you know as an actor I am comfortable with that.'
"I'm really behind it and I thought it was really exciting and interesting for people to see that journey. I don't think it's one we see a lot.
"So she (Shonda) was gung ho and she wrote it in with Erica Hahn and we've seen what's happened since then. It was kind of a no-brainer for me."
Initially a fan of the show before she was cast, Ramirez is not surprised Grey's Anatomy has continued to be so popular internationally.
"From a fan perspective I found Meredith's voiceover really therapeutic," she says.
"Every episode she's diving into some kind of issue that we can all relate to, a very universal truth about life... or the parallels between being a doctor or a surgeon in a hospital and being a person in the game of life. All of those parallels, I have always found really engaging and cathartic."
Where were the doctors at the end of season eight?
In the final episode of season eight, the plane crash victims were stranded in the woods with no means of contacting the outside world.
Several people had serious injuries and to add to their dire situation, their last match had just gone out.
Meredith Grey: Meredith has a laceration to the head and removes a piece of shrapnel from her leg but remains comparatively unscathed.
Derek Shepherd: Derek has broken his hand to get free of the debris which had trapped him.
Cristina Yang: Cristina has a dislocated shoulder but Mark pops it back into place for her.
Lexie Grey: Lexie is pinned under the tail of the plane and dies moments after Mark Sloan confesses that he will always love her.
Mark Sloan: Mark seems fine at first but later it is discovered that he has a cardiac tamponade, or internal bleeding in his chest cavity. He is saved by Cristina, Meredith and Derek but remains in a critical condition.
Arizona Robbins: Arizona has a broken leg with a bone sticking out from the skin.
Grey's Anatomy - TV2, Mondays
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