After being terrorized by a crazed gunman (and off-camera, by unhappy costars who have since left the show), the docs of Seattle Grace-Mercy West Hospital are healed and happy once again. I can genuinely report that the same happiness and gratitude exist on the Grey's Anatomy set, where I was the first reporter invited to get the scoop on Season 7.
In the September 23 premiere, scenes will flash back to post-trauma therapy sessions held a few weeks after the shootings, then jump ahead about two months. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) is released from the hospital, still unaware of Meredith's pregnancy and miscarriage. "I think he'll be devastated," says Patrick. "Seeing how quick life can be, I think they'll want to have a child even more. Why not create a life before you lose your own?" To that end, Derek calls a staff meeting to announce he never enjoyed being chief and is returning the reins to Dr. Webber. "He's still in mourning over the loss of the staffers [in the shoot-out] and feels responsible, which is why he steps down," adds Patrick. "It's much better having the dynamic the way it was."
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Teddy's New Guy
With the Owen/Cristina/Teddy love triangle over, Teddy (Kim Raver) won't waste any time cuddling up to the hospital's new trauma counselor, Dr. Andrew Perkins (James Tupper). "I make out with him in Episode 1," says a tickled Kim. "It was just like it was with Kiefer [Sutherland] on 24, where we met and had to kiss. Teddy's going to wonder if she's feeling so good in the relationship just because he's a therapist."
They Do! But Who?
One of these couples gets engaged and married in the premiere. Try to figure out who, based on these clues from the cast. And look for at least one or two of the parents of the betrothed to turn up for the nuptials.
Callie and Arizona?
"The relationship takes the steps you take as you get deeper involved with someone," hints Sara Ramirez (Callie). "But Callie's been married, so that could pose an issue." Adds Jessica Capshaw (Arizona), "I don't see Arizona entering into anything that's not ironclad."
Alex and Lexie?
Lexie suffered a breakdown and big sis Meredith is helping her cope. Alex opted to keep his near-fatal bullet inside his chest "to show off to the girls like a third nipple," says Justin Chambers (Alex). They're hardly a couple ready for marriage, though Justin says Alex would marry Lexie if he "knocked her up."
Owen and Cristina?
"They definitely take it to the next level," teases Kevin McKidd (Owen). "The wedding could easily be them." But Cristina will be dealing with post-traumatic stress — not a good time to go dress shopping. "They've been through a huge amount in two seasons," notes Kevin, "and I think Cristina felt burned by her last wedding [to Burke]."