With much of the world shut down due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, we’re turning to TV to keep busy during lockdowns and quarantines. But even that might run out soon — shows like Grey’s Anatomy have shut down as well, leaving their season order unfinished. Will there actually be a season finale of Grey’s this year, or will we land on an unexpected and abrupt cliffhanger?
According to TVLine, Grey’s had completed 21 episodes when filming shut down in mid-March. Their season order was for a total of 25 episodes, meaning that there are four planned episodes that were in some stage of pre-production or production when work was shut down for an indefinite period. Three episodes remain unaired at the moment, and Episode 21, titled “Put on a Happy Face,” is scheduled to air on Thursday, Apr. 9; it will be the last episode until production can resume.
There’s a very good chance that episode 21 will serve as a temporary and unplanned season finale for season 16. Production does not seem likely to resume in the next few weeks, which means significant delays in finishing the season and getting it ready for airing. At this point, there are three possible scenarios that Grey’s could end up with:
- Ending season 16 early, with the last episode filmed before the shutdown, and moving the unfilmed 4 episodes to the beginning of season 17 in some fashion, either in whole or in part.
- Restarting production on season 16 when possible, and airing the “leftover” episodes sometime during the summer.
- Scrapping the four unfinished episodes completely and just restarting production right away with season 17.
At the moment, there’s no word on what Grey’s plans to do, and it really could go in any direction. It’s not just Grey’s that’s been affected, of course — pretty much all TV and film production is shut down due to the outbreak, so it’s not a matter of the remaining episodes “bumping” pre-planned programming later in the year. For now, it looks like it’ll be a little while before we can revisit Grey Sloan and its doctors, but the real-world medical crisis is definitely the bigger priority. One piece of uplifting news, though: the Grey’s production team has taken steps to support real medical professionals, donating medical supplies from the set to real hospitals to aid with the shortages during the outbreak.