Battlestar Galactica's Mary McDonnell graces Seattle Grace with her presence beginning with tonight's new episode of Grey's Anatomy, but she won't quite fit in with the socially charged gang. Her character, Dr. Virginia Dixon, has Asperger's syndrome, which means she's got the intellectual skills for the gig, but she's not exactly a social butterfly like, say, George O'Malley.
Plus, after Dr. Burke and Dr. Hahn, she is the show's third heart doc in five seasons. Will Virginia Dixon survive the cardiac character curse? Will she ever get in sync with the group? Read on to for Mary's take...
Why Seattle Grace Wants Her: Although Virginia's a little socially awkward compared to the rest of the raucous bunch, at the Acts of Love benefit for Autism Speaks at the Geffen Playhouse here in L.A., Mary told me, "Dixon's a crackerjack surgeon, and to me that's what is thrilling about the role—to be able to support the brilliance of Asperger people, because quite often they are extremely brilliant in one area, and we, as a society, need their contributions."
Why Seattle Grace Doubts Her: As you can see in the clip below, the doctors are a little unsure of the new heart doc. So how do they take to her? "They're forewarned when she's coming that she is a little off, but they don't really know exactly what that means until she's there," said Mary.
Why Seattle Grace Needs Her: The hospital has fallen in the national rankings this season, and the chief (James Pickens Jr.) has desperately been trying to fix the place up, hence Dr. Dixon's entrance. Mary said, "She has supposedly the second-lowest death rate in her surgeries in the country, so this woman is really good at what she does, and they need her. The question is, does she need them enough to make the move?"
Why She Needs Seattle Grace: Mary wondered why it is, really, that Virginia comes to SGH: "What would motivate this woman, and why would she need the money? If it's money, why? What's her backstory? Does she have family? I have this sensation that she needs the job, she needs to move."
Is this just a thoughtful actor meditating on her character's personal history, or will we learn there is more to Dixon than meets the eye? Post your take in the comments, check out the sneak peek of Mary McD on Grey's below and be sure to tune in tonight at 9 on ABC!
—Reporting by Natalie Abrams