by pat howard

THE FRIDAY FIVE | “Grey’s” characters I slowly came to like

In Grey's Anatomy, The Friday Five on May 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

As I touched on in yesterday’s Grey’s Anatomy 100th episode retrospective (and thank God and that Michael J. Fox special that ABC didn’t foist another clip show on us), the constantly swelling staff of Seattle Grace can be a mixed bag. New characters/plotlines/writers start out totally hateable and eventually worm their way into the Grey’s canon. This week, I present five examples of folks I initially despised, but eventually came around to.

Dr. Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith)
Hahn made her first appearances as Burke’s colleague and foil during the Denny drama of season two. And she written as a huge bitch. Tough-as-nails, competitive to a fault, and the consummate professional, Hahn was a natural choice to replace Burke when he skipped town. Her transition was not a smooth one, because she eschewed the workplace antics that run so rampant. Her cynicism became a fantastic counterbalance to the wackiness. Hahn became the cold voice of reason, which in turn made her unpopular with her coworkers, viewers, and network executives, who ultimately validated her one-way ticket to the parking lot.

Dr. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane)
After breaking up Derek and Addison’s marriage (thus setting the series in motion), Mark was set up not to be liked. His first on-screen act, hitting on Meredith, was also not well-received. But of course Mark chose to stay in Seattle, leering at every woman who crossed his path (not that the “Mark-in-a-towel” scene wasn’t worth the drama). But the character has grown in recent seasons, particularly in his role as Callie’s new best friend and in his adult relationship with “Little [Lexie] Grey”.

Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez)
The story goes that ABC suits saw Ramirez on Broadway and asked her to pick a show she’d like to be written into. This is what she chose, and man, was it annoying for a long time. She breaks bones, lives in the basement (and then a hotel) despite being filthy rich, then marries George in Vegas on a whim and complains when it doesn’t work out. Finally, after several seasons of floundering, Callie is getting a grip on her life and stepping outside the shadow of her trust fund (as if her resident’s salary isn’t enough to live on). Her exploration of her sexuality is one of the most honest and least sensational TV treatments in memory.

Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd)
Hunt’s brief appearance early this season didn’t make a whole lot of sense. He was a veteran, stopping by for a few a la carte procedures and a tryst with Cristina before heading back to Iraq for another tour of duty. A couple months later, he returned, darker and twistier than any male character since Alex. A few brusque encounters with interns out of the way, Hunt has navigated his tortured feelings for Cristina and incorporated cutting-edge field techniques into hospital trauma procedures.

Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson)
It’s hard to believe now, but in my initial nine-episode swing through the first season of Grey’s, two Bs bugged me above all else: the blood, and Bailey. But this world-weary woman had a lot on her plate, managing a group of unruly interns and an intense schedule that didn’t leave much time for her husband (and these days, a baby). Bailey turned out to be the heart and soul of the show, and now she’s often the only one who can be counted on to be awesome even when the rest of an episode is a (sometimes literal) train wreck.

  1. Thanks for this great spot-on analysis!

    I still miss Erica Hahn, by the way…

  2. Great list! I agree so much with what you said about Erica Hahn. It’s just ashame they left her out in the dark of a parking lot instead of utilizing an incredible actress and interesting character.

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