'Grey's Anatomy' Planning 'Big' Richard Episode for Season 16

Grey's Anatomy will be sticking with its popular standalone episodes in the coming season, with one already slated to shine a spotlight on one of the core original characters. Despite being fired at the end of Season 15 for his involvement on the insurance fraud scandal, Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) will be the subject of an upcoming "big" episode.

Series showrunnner Krista Vernoff spilled vague details about the upcoming hour, telling press the show will dedicate an episode to the veteran character, who has been on the show since the pilot.

"We have big episode for him this season," Vernoff told TVLine, "I don't feel like he's quite been given his due."

Despite Season 15 having many standalone hours that took place away from the show's core storylines, Vernoff said things will be a little different in the upcoming season.

"The standalone episodes are always evolving," she told the outlet. "They were born out of scheduling, because we could shoot them simultaneously with other episodes. But my hope for this season is to make those episodes feel a little more like our traditional episodes."

The writer referenced a fan-favorite episode in Season 17, in which the show followed Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), April (Sarah Drew) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) in a single day, and featuring Scott Speedman's memorable cameo as a possible love interest for Meredith, as the type of "standalone" episodes they are aiming toward this year.

"That was a standalone, but it didn't feel like one," she said of the memorable episode. "So we're trying to make those episodes feel a little more cohesive with the rest of the season."

Season 15 featured multiple standalone episodes, with many taking place outside of the hospital walls. Richard had somewhat of a bottle episode last year, when he was arrested for destroying a bar encouraging addicts to break their sobriety as Catherine (Debbie Allen) was finding out about her cancer diagnosis in Los Angeles.

Other standalone episodes included Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) visiting her family in New York, Meredith reuniting with her father Thatcher (Jeff Perry) and Jo's (Camilla Luddington) emotional meeting of her biological mother.

Pickens Jr. recently teased the upcoming season of the ABC medical drama, saying the show will pick up right where the Season 15 finale left off.


"You know that there's something on the other side of it that's going to be really exciting and is going to take the audience and they'll have to go on that ride, so that's the fun part," Pickens Jr. said of the premiere, promising the episode will have fans wondering what will happen next. "Obviously, my character and [Meredith] and Alex, we've been fired now, so that's presenting a whole new set of issues, especially for Dr. Webber. It's going to test some of his stuff."

Are you ready for Richard's big episode? Grey's Anatomy returns for Season 16 Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.