Tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy, titled "Put on a Happy Face," wasn't intended to be the season finale. However, that's what it ended up being, as Season 16 of the long-running medical drama has been put on indefinite hiatus given circumstances created by the coronavirus. In an interview with Variety, Grey's showrunner Krista Vernoff said the whole situation "was just dumb luck."
"We wrote this episode and I said to the writers, 'You guys, this is like a season finale. Where were we going to go from here?' And so we got lucky," Vernoff continued. "I don't know yet how we're going to use what we had planned for the last four episodes. I'm going to gather the writers in about four weeks, and we're going to start talking about Season 17. I imagine we will use some of what we had planned, and I imagine that we'll have had a break, and a whole bunch of sleep, and a whole bunch of time in our houses to think. And we may come up with some different ways to tell some of these stories."
After detailing several of the episode's plot-points, which definitely had fans of the show talking, Vernoff spoke about the future of the show. Specifically, her lack of a dramatic change heading into Season 17. So at least fans can rest easy that Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.) won't be going anywhere for a while.
"I, at this point, do not have a plan to shake up the cast next season," Vernoff explained. "I feel like there's still a lot of stories to tell. Sometimes, when I'm watching the show, over the years, I get a feeling of character fatigue or feeling like it's time to wrap that up. And I'm just not feeling that. I feel like there's a lot of story moving forward for everyone."
At this point, it's unclear when Grey's Anatomy will resume production, with social distancing guidelines in the U.S. currently in place until the end of April (at least). Given the unprecedented situation, there are only a handful of shows slated to return by the fall, which will force networks to rely on reruns or get creative with their programming. Or, most likely, a little of each.