Grey's Anatomy Is Embracing Long-Distance Romance in Season 17

Kelly McCreary and new series regular Anthony Hill tease new romance and pandemic storylines in season 17 of Grey's Anatomy

By Lauren Piester Nov 12, 2020 8:53 PMTags
Watch: "Grey's Anatomy" Stars Talk Dating During COVID-19

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it's that Zoom is a seriously valuable tool. 

Amid the show's attempts to realistically deal with COVID-19 in a hospital setting, Grey's Anatomy is also getting realistic with one of its newest romances and proving that you don't even have to move to Seattle to be a main character. 

Anthony Hill appeared in one episode of season 16 as Winston, a former student of Maggie's (Kelly McCreary) when she was working in Boston. They both had crushes on each other back then and now they've rekindled those feelings to the point where Hill was promoted to series regular in season 17, but it sounds like he's not making the move to Grey Sloan Memorial just yet. 

"Things are ramping up from episode one where we kind of catch up with Maggie and Winston in the middle of COVID, in the middle of this pandemic. So, with that comes a long distance relationship," Hill told E! News. "There's a lot of FaceTime dates and a lot of Zooming and just trying to get to know each other and grow in progress virtually...I like that we kind of get to be that couple that shines the light on that aspect of this whole ordeal that we're going through in the world." 

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Grey's Anatomy: Epic Romances

It's about time for Maggie to find some good romance, even if it has to be virtual. She and Jackson (Jesse Williams) went through an ugly breakup over the past couple of seasons, but now we're at the point where even Ellen Pompeo tweeted that Maggie and Winston are her new favorite couple. 

"I think it's gonna be really fun for the audience to watch as this relationship unfolds," McCreary said. "Like Anthony said, this time is so challenging for singles—and not just for singles who are trying to date but, like, I know a lot of people who were just starting to connect with somebody and it's been very hard to be disconnected. So in that context for them to have found each other and find it and find that even just digitally connecting, you know, by screens is such a healing balm for each of them wherever they are...I love that that's how they're sort of developing it." 

However it's developing, it's better than anything Maggie has had in a while. 

"I think the change will be good for me," McCreary said. "You know, the other way wasn't working before so anything would be better, honestly." 

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McCreary promised that just because the show is jumping head-on into the pandemic (starting with the early days of it), that doesn't mean we should fear any less relationship drama than we've become accustomed to. 

"Grey's has always been good at really toeing that fine line between the very serious and the very funny and the, you know, sexy but also the very restrained," she said. "Our show is such a like tonal melange. That hasn't stopped. We are dealing with COVID, but, you know, Maggie's gonna be quirky and neurotic whether it's COVID or not and Amelia and link are going to be sexy and adorable, no matter what, you know, so of course that's all still there because these characters are still the characters." 

The pandemic has affected and changed everyone in a way, but "life actually isn't just about the pandemic," and that comes through on screen. 

As for how tonight's two-hour crossover premiere event will play out, McCreary said it will start in the early days of the pandemic and go back to revisit the cliffhangers and leftover stories from last season. In case you've forgotten what those were, allow us to catch you up real quick: 

DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) was in the midst of a breakdown after losing sleep over trying to figure out what was wrong with Richard (James Pickens Jr.). He told Meredith (Pompeo) he needed help, and she turned down a dinner with Hayes (Richard Flood) to help her ex. Richard ended up being fine after DeLuca realized his cobalt hip replacement was poisoning him, but he dashed Catherine's (Debbie Allen) hopes of reconciling. 

Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Link (Chris Carmack) had just had a baby, and in Worst Love Triangle Ever land, Owen (Kevin McKidd) found out Teddy was cheating on him with Tom (Greg Germann) via a really, really awkward voicemail. 

Happy TGIT to us all! Scroll down to keep up with all the romances on both Grey's and Station 19

Meredith and Andrew

Status: Split

Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) aren't together right now, but that doesn't mean they don't clearly, obviously still love each other. Mer jumped into action when DeLuca was having an actual mental breakdown and he's been by her side at every opportunity while she's been sick with COVID-19. Our MerLuca loving hearts are still holding on tight!

Bailey and Ben

Status: Married

Ben (Jason George) might be on a different show, the spinoff Station 19, but not only are these two still happily together, and even weathered a devastating miscarriage together before adopting a teenage patient. 

Jo and Alex

Status: Divorced

All we have to say is "Welp." 

Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) were happily married for a time and even made it through Jo's breakdown over learning she was the product of rape, despite Jo giving Alex an easy out. Instead of taking it then, he decided to suddenly leave and went back to Izzie (Katherine Heigl) after learning she had two of his kids thanks to the eggs they had fertilized back when she had cancer. So now Jo is single and hopefully ready to find someone even better to spend her life with, or at least to have a lot of sex with.

Jo and Jackson

Status: Hooking up

Jo needed some sex after being left by her husband, so she went for her hottest, most single coworker Jackson (Jesse Williams). Currently they appear to just be sex friends, but anything could happen. 

Amelia and Link

Status: Together

Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Link (Chris Carmack) hooked up at a conference once and now they've got a baby together! They're also absolutely in the running for cutest couple currently on the show. 

Owen and Teddy

Status: Un-engaged 

What do we even say about these two? Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Teddy (Kim Raver) were happy and they had a baby together and they were definitely going to get married, but then Teddy got all in her head about Amelia thinking her baby could be Owen's (a storyline we have yet to forgive the Grey's writers for) and cheated on Owen with Tom Koracick (Greg Germann). Owen now knows about the cheating thanks to a very NSFW voicemail and he has not yet forgiven his former fiancee. We don't blame him, honestly.

Teddy and Tom

Status: Sleeping together? 

Oh what a mess. Teddy and Tom kept on sleeping together and Owen found out on his and Teddy's wedding day. Tom is still very much in love with Teddy but now he's also very sick with coronavirus and things aren't looking good for him or for his relationship with Teddy. 

Richard and Catherine

Status: Married

Richard (James Pickens Jr.) and Catherine (Debbie Allen)'s marriage fell fully apart last season. She was by his side when he got sick and he even hallucinated the two of them rekindling things, but then rejected her when the hallucinations wore off. Finally, they got their s--t together in season 17 and are once again happy. 

Nico and Schmitt

Status: Split

Nico (Alex Landi) and Schmitt (Jake Borelli) had their ups and downs, and currently they're in a real down. Nico thought Schmitt needed more than he could give, but they still can't seem to stay away from each other. 

Maggie and Winston

Status: Dating

Maggie (Kelly McCreary) reunited with her old colleague Dr. Winston (Anthony Hill) at a medical conference last season, and the two really, really hit it off, spending a magical couple of days together before having to part due to a medical emergency. Now they're long-distance dating, which means lots of Zoom calls and the occasional gift delivery. 

Andy and Robert

Status: Married but separated 

Andy (Jaina Lee Ortiz) and Robert (Boris Kodjoe) quickly and suddenly got married in season three before Andy's dad died, but they weren't prepared for what comes next. Robert is thinking his wife will be there to support him through surgery recovery and his painkiller addiction, while she just learned (Spoiler Alert!) that her mom is secretly still alive. They decided to separate temporarily so they could each work through their issues, but as far as separations go, it seems to be a fairly loving one.

Maya and Carina

Status: Together

Carina (Stefania Spampinato) was ready to say goodbye to Maya (Danielle Savre), but in the season three finale of Station 19, Maya professed her love. Now, Carina and Maya have moved in together and seem happy as can be, even if Maya's freaking out just a little. 

Jackson and Vic

Status: Split 

Jackson moved on fairly quickly from Maggie with Vic (Barrett Doss), but that relationship now appears to be over too. Vic sorta kinda moved into Jackson's apartment without really telling him, and it turns out he didn't like that, even though she was basically homeless at the time. Then she panicked over being a stepmother and now he's sleeping with Jo. 

Travis and Emmett

Status: Split

Travis (Jay Hayden) actually took a step in the most mature direction by breaking things off with Emmett (Lachlan Buchanan), since Emmett is newly out and Travis also just doesn't love him. Hopefully Travis is on the path to happiness and a real relationship! 

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC. 

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