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Shonda Rhimes’ “Grey’s Anatomy” has put strong and driven women under the spotlight for 13 seasons. Set in the medical profession, a world where men often dominate, this show is saturated with female empowerment.
Now as the ABC series prepares to return on Jan. 19 from its midseason break, ENTITY celebrates some of the medical drama’s most noteworthy female characters. From dynamic leaders to compelling personalities, these are the women who make Grey Sloan Memorial one hospital you’d like to visit.
1 Miranda Bailey
Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), the current Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, has been an indestructible character since the show’s inception. Despite starting her residency program as shy and passive, Bailey quickly developed as a woman heralded as “The Nazi” by all hospital interns. She is feared for her tough personality and blunt attitude, but she is highly respected for her work ethic, unwavering morals and sense of justice.
Though she is the hospital’s first female chief, Bailey has consistently proven that she deserves the title. It’s her dedication, discipline and ability to get everyone back in line that makes her an invaluable asset to the surgical team. She is headstrong and rational even when she has to make difficult decisions, especially those that conflict with personal issues.
But as diplomatic and strong of a character Bailey is, she’s also loving and motherly. Her caring attitude as Tuck’s mother and as her interns’ leader makes her a well-rounded woman, one who is unapologetic of her strength and nurturing personality.
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In terms of responsibility, openness and maturity, “dark and twisty” Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is the most improved character on the show. Through the 13 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy,” audiences have seen her grow out of a personality that didn’t seem to understand or care about consequences. She was afraid of commitment and had self-destructive coping mechanisms. And as the daughter of a world-renowned general surgeon, Grey has had to live under the shadow of her mother’s success and talent.
It wasn’t until later in the series when Grey actually began developing her own voice and acknowledging her impressive surgical skills. Despite the number of traumas she’s endured – from bombing, to shooting to drowning – Grey has gotten right back up and served as an example of resilience.
Now, she’s a single mother of three who is busy perfecting her craft as a general surgeon, proving that women don’t always need men by their side. Not only that, but she’s continued to shine as a doctor and friend who is non-judgmental, patient and tenacious.
Although Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) only joined the “Grey’s Anatomy” cast as a regular in season seven, she seemed immediately at home as a brilliant and gifted surgeon. As a doctor, Amelia is the one people look to to be inspired. Similar to her sister-in-law, Meredith Grey, Amelia has had to learn to deal with her older brother, Derek Shepherd’s, legacy. But instead of being intimidated, Amelia has continued prove her worth. In terms of her career, she’s never been one to back down from a challenge. She’s attempted impossible brain surgeries, one that required boldness and creativity, and come out of them successful.
As a woman, Amelia serves as the prime example of a fighter. It’s hard not to cheer her on. She is a recovering addict and has had to remain determined to, as she has said, “never let go, never give up, never run, never surrender.” And in doing this, she also demonstrates a touching and realistic healing process, one that is full of pain, vulnerability and growth.
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Stephanie Edwards (Jerrika Hinton) isn’t a woman who tolerates excuses. She exudes excellence, hard work and dedication. As a surgical resident, she currently studies neurosurgery under Amelia Shepherd and is greatly respected by many of the doctors for her talent. Before choosing to focus on neurosurgery, Edwards showed great aptitude for several specialties, including general surgery, fetal surgery and urology.
But regardless of what she’s doing, Edwards works hard and is confident in her abilities. As she once told her colleague, Jo Wilson, who has been jealous of her success, “You can’t even wrap your mind around it, can you? That I might be better at this than you are, that I might be stronger or smarter or more savvy.” All in all, Edwards doesn’t let anyone get in her way. She’s competitive and is willing to be cutthroat to be the best. Women don’t have to back down from a fight; Edwards is proof of that.
Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) had big shoes to fill as the Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery. But despite taking on a role that fans reserved for cardio goddess Cristina Yang, who left the show, Pierce has grown to be a likable character who is gifted and intelligent. Though she’s a little bit of a control freak, Pierce has used it to her benefit. Her incredible professional drive and natural talent has given her the nickname “child prodigy.” And despite being one of the younger department heads, she is acutely aware of her power and authority.
Pierce is also often called the “good” sister, if not the “crazy” sister. She’s perky, chatty and is good company to have. She genuinely cares about the affairs of her half-sister, Meredith Grey, and is deeply loyal to those she calls family. And for her kindness and sincerity, she’s grown to be the heart of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
With all of these women, “Grey’s Anatomy” successfully delivers an array of multi-faceted characters that have contributed to this being one of TV’s most enduring and enjoyable shows.
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