March 27, 2005 – The Medical Drama Grey’s Anatomy Premieres on ABC
“Look around you. Say hello to your competition. Eight of you will switch to an easier specialty. Five of you will crack under the pressure. Two of you will be asked to leave. This is your starting line. This is your arena. How well you play, that’s up to you.”
On March 27, 2005, the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy premiered on ABC. The show was about five new medical residents at the Seattle Grace Hospital, with a focus on Meredith Grey, and their interactions with several members of the staff. It was originally announced as a mid-season replacement for Boston Legal, but became popular enough to remain in the former show’s time slot. The first episode, entitled “A Hard Day’s Night,” premiered with 16.25 million viewers, and received mostly positive reviews from the critics. The show, which is still airing as of 2014, has been a success for ABC, and has won several awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Drama. The show was created by Shonda Rhimes, and starred Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang, T.R. Knight as George O’Malley, Katherine Heigl as Izzie Stevens, Justin Chambers as Alex Karev, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, James Pickens Jr. as Richard Webber, and Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd.
The episode begins with Meredith Grey explaining how her mother was good at “the game,” and she was “kind of screwed.” Meredith soon wakes up to find a stranger on her living room floor, and kicks him out as she’s late for her first day of work. He tries to engage her in small talk, but she won’t have it, and she forgets his name on top of it. He introduces himself as Derek, and she responds in kind before rushing off to get ready. She arrives at Seattle Grace Hospital, where she is a surgical resident, and meets her fellow residents George and Christina, and they realize they work together with Bailey, who is nicknamed “The Nazi.” She starts ordering them around, naming her five rules of working with her. Soon after, they head up to the roof to help bring in a patient. They are quickly assigned to working with patients, with another patient named Izzy being assigned to rectal exams, and Meredith having to treat an annoying teen pageant contestant named Katie. Seven hours later, the residents sit for lunch, where Christina reveals that Meredith’s mother is Ellis Grey, a world-renowned surgeon that they call a “living legend.”
Dr. Preston Burke, the chief of cardiothoracic surgery , stops by the lunch table to share the good news: the resident who is seen to have the most potential will have the honor of performing the first surgery, and that resident is George. Once Bailey finds out, she is furious, as Burke has the reputation of taking one resident and making their life hell to make the others fall in line. Meredith continues to work with Katie, and finds from Bailey that Katie’s been giving a new attending named Dr. Shepherd – the same man Meredith kicked out of her house that morning. Catching his eye, she runs away before he could say anything. He pulls her into a stairwell and starts teasing her, although she’d rather forget it. He asks her out on a date, but she refuses him. As George gets ready for the surgery, the other residents start betting how he’ll screw up. While it looks like he’s doing well, he messes up near the end, and is pushed out of the way by Burke as the patient’s BP drops. This gives George the new nickname of “007” – code for “license to kill.”
Later, while the group gets a quiet moment, Meredith gets a call for a 911 from Katie. However, Katie is fine, and Meredith gets fed up. Izzy has a problem with a patient, and needs to wake Bailey for help, but that violates one of Bailey’s rules. Although Bailey finally helps her, Izzy is convinced that Bailey hates her. Meredith then meets Alex, another resident, who has a know-it-all attitude and hates nurses. Luckily, Meredith is paged to Katie’s room, and she’s actually having multiple grand-mal seizures. Grey isn’t sure what to do, and Katie’s heart stops. After using the paddles, her heart starts again. Shepherd finally arrives and he kicks her out of the room. She walks around in daze and ends up outside in the rain where she throws up. Later, Shepherd is seen arguing with Katie’s parents, with Katie’s father wanting Shepherd off the case in exchange for a doctor that could actually give him answers about what’s wrong with his daughter. George is seen reassuring a patient that he will make it through a simple heart procedure, although the patient’s wife is nervous.
Later, Cristina is seen practicing suturing a banana while all the residents wait in a room, although they aren’t sure why they’re gathered. Shepherd walks in and asks all of them for help with his patient Katie, as he can’t come up with a diagnosis on his own. He gives them the incentive that the resident that comes up with the answer will be allowed to scrub in and assist on an advanced procedure. The residents jump at the chance. As Alex brushes off a nurse on his earlier patient, Cristina asks Meredith to work together for the chance to get the surgery opportunity, with Meredith saying that Cristina can have the surgery, as she doesn’t want to spend more time with Shepherd if she can help it, but they’ll work together. Meredith finally admits to Cristina that she doesn’t want to work with Shepherd because they slept together. The two start to bond, and Meredith finally figures out the answer as they talk about the patient: they think she may have had an aneurysm. Shepherd finally believes them, and they run the test. Meredith and Cristina were right – Katie had had a minute subarachnoid hemorrhage, and was bleeding into her brain. Shepherd picks Meredith for the surgery, and when Meredith doesn’t turn it down, Cristina walks away angrily.
George’s patient has complications in his surgery, and dies on the table without George noticing. Burke tells George there was too much damage to his heart, and gets angry that George promised the wife that the patient would be just fine. Izzy tries to comfort Cristina, and Meredith tries to apologize, but Cristina lets slip that Meredith slept with Shepherd. George tells the wife that the patient didn’t make it, and tries to apologize, and she tells him angrily to go away. Near the end of the residents’ first shift, Meredith asks Shepherd why she was picked, and he says she earned the right to see the case from beginning to end, and that sleeping with him had nothing to do with it. Later, Meredith and George bond over their experiences, with both of them wondering why they were in this profession. Meredith then watches as Alex is chewed out by Dr. Webber, Chief of Surgery, and Meredith answers correctly what’s wrong with his patient. Meredith then goes to assist on Katie’s surgery, and wonders why she’s become a surgeon, but realizes in the end she doesn’t want to quit. Afterwards, she and Cristina talk, and they seem to have formed a friendship. She and Shepherd also have a moment before all the residents separate for the day. The Meredith goes to see her mother, who is in a nursing home, as she suffers from Alzheimer’s.