My god is Grey’s Anatomy a depressing, soul-destroying show. I think I forgot just how much this show shits on your feelings until I sat down and wrote this yarn. Full disclosure: I was going to rank all the major deaths – ALL – from Grey’s. But then I got about three characters in and realised I could not do that because a) there are so many and b) I CAN’T STOP CRYING.
So instead of ranking all the deaths from Grey’s Anatomy, I thought I would rank my top 10 that I think about from time to time, and wonder why anyone would ever write something so fucking sad. (If you want to relive these, you sicko, you can on Stan).
Let us begin.
10) Dr Charles Percy
Season 6, episode 24: Death and All His Friends
I mean, this one’s simple. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) cries? I CRY. Bailey is just so tough, that when she does crack I cry instantly.
This death happened in the season 6 finale, when that horrible, horrible man fatally shot Dr Charles Percy (Robert Baker), who died in Bailey’s arms. I wasn’t that attached to the character – he only just joined the show that season – but it was his last line that really got me.
With his dying breath he said to Bailey, “You were always my favourite doctor, I thought you should know.”
And he thought Bailey hated him.
Not to mention, this entire episode was fucked.
Wow, I already regret writing this.
9) Doc the Dog
Season 2, episode 27: Losing My Religion
NO ONE’S SAFE ON GREY’S ANATOMY, NOT EVEN A DOG.
Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) adopted Doc after Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Addison (Kate Walsh) got back together. But when Doc was diagnosed with bone cancer, she made the tough decision to put him down.
Characters dying is one thing, but a DOG? Much like when I watched Marley & Me for the first time, I absolutely pissed tears during the scene. And then I hugged my dog until he got visibly annoyed and walked away.
8) Samuel Norbert Avery
Season 11, episode 11: All I Could Do Was Cry
I’m sorry, but if this bit doesn’t make you cry then you’re a MONSTER. After discovering that their unborn baby has a rare bone disorder, parents April (Sarah Drew) and Jackson (Jesse Williams) made the heartbreaking decision to induce their baby at 24 weeks.
They named their son Samuel Norbert Avery and held him until he died.
7) Dr Andrew DeLuca
Season 17, episode 7: Helplessly Hoping
I distinctly remember Grey’s Anatomy season 17 being teased as a season that would “bring joy” to its audience, as COVID-19 ravaged the world. It was fan service, what with the return of Derek Shepherd (among many dead characters) during Meredith’s dream sequence. Fans loved it! I loved it!
And then, because this show just loves to fuck with our feelings, the writers killed off fan-fave Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti).
WHAT HAPPENED TO BRINGING JOY, GREY’S ANATOMY WRITERS?
Andrew died on the operating table after he lost too much blood from a stabbing (long story). But he was able to give a proper goodbye to Meredith when he popped up at her dream beach. Instead of staying on the beach with Meredith, however, he ran off to reunite with his late mother.
6) Dr Mark Sloan
Season 9, episode 1: Going, Going, Gone
Sigh, I’m ranking this sixth because this came after… you know, and I was so numb already that I could barely register that we just lost another main character within a few episodes. I’ll talk about the other death in a few minutes – watch me get angry.
5) Adele Webber
Season 8, episode 12: Hope for the Hopeless
I really loved Loretta Devine as Adele Webber, so I found her gradual physical and mental decline to be one of the saddest of the series. The portrayal of Alzheimer’s just really tore my heart out. The episode I’m talking about here is season 8, episode 12, when Richard (James Pickens Jr.) sings ‘My Funny Valentine’ to Adele.
In the scene, Adele stormed the viewing area of the operating room as Richard performed surgery. She was confused and thought he was off cheating on her with Ellis Grey (Kate Burton) again. To calm her down, he started to sing their wedding song. Adele, in the middle of tears, started to sing the song too and it’s just so, so sad.
I don’t even want to talk about her death and Bailey’s wedding.
4) Denny Duquette
Season 2, episode 27: Losing My Religion
CONTROVERSIAL, I KNOW.
Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was the long-time cardiac patient, who initially arrived at the hospital to get a heart transplant. That’s when he met Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and they were keen on each other, but he was eventually discharged because he wasn’t getting the heart anymore.
And then I’m pretty sure Izzie did some questionable shit to move Denny up the donor list, which really fucked him and basically made it clear that he needed a new heart ASAP. Also, at some point Denny proposed to Izzie, so she was desperately just throwing everything at the wall and hoping something stuck.
Denny got the heart transplant and everything was okay… until it wasn’t, and a recovering Denny suffered a stroke and died.
Izzie, distraught, blamed herself for his death and she was never really the same after it. And guess what song played when Denny died? ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol.
3) Dr Derek Shepherd
Season 11, episode 21: How to Save a Life
It’s not like I loved Derek Shepherd – he wasn’t my favourite character, but he was the love of Meredith’s life. And I really, really thought that – after everything she’d been through already – she would get her happily ever after. Yes, I know Patrick Dempsey was just ready to move on after yonks of playing the same character, but still.
Also, the scene just angered me so much. Not because it was bad or anything, but because the writers had the fucking audacity to play ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol AGAIN, as Meredith said goodbye to Derek’s brain-dead body.
“Derek, it’s okay,” Meredith said, caressing his face. “You go, I’ll be fine.”
This, this is the line that ruined me and the reason why I’m placing it above Denny’s death. The mere thought of having to make the decision to take someone you love off life support makes me sick to my stomach.
AND, the writers chucked in a montage of their relationship because of course they did. The sick fucks.
2) Dr Lexie Grey
Season 8, episode 24: Flight
I just – I hate this scene, I hate it so much. We waited so long for Lexie (Chyler Leigh) and Sloan (Eric Dane) to realise they’re meant for each other. And just when they did SHE DIED IN THAT STUPID PLANE CRASH. THEY BOTH DIED. I HATE THIS SHOW.
Oh, and then remember how Christina (Sandra Oh) was in complete shock and talked about what happened to Lexie’s body?
“…the animal noises, fighting and growling right next to us right there, kept waiting for them to come and kill me but they didn’t. And then I realised they were fighting over Lexie,” she said.
I swear to god, Shonda.
1) Dr George O’Malley
Season 5, episode 24: Now or Never
Again: CONTROVERSIAL, but I just didn’t see George’s death coming. And that’s why he’s #1 for me.
I was just a wee kid when this episode aired – I was 12 – and George O’Malley (T. R. Knight) was one of my favourite characters.
He was a bumbling, awkward mess, who wasn’t as naturally skilled as his colleagues. But he worked hard and always saw the best in the people around him.
George died pulling a woman out of the way of a moving bus, which left him beyond recognition. At the hospital, nobody knew who he was. His injuries were that bad, so people called him John Doe. That is until George weakly drew “007” into Meredith’s palm, his nickname from the pilot episode.
Despite surgery, George is declared braindead and is taken off life support. His organs are donated.
I just didn’t see his death coming, and I haven’t quite forgiven the writers for it yet.
Grey’s Anatomy is streaming now on Stan.
If, for whatever reason, you would like to feel even more sadness, click here for an article I wrote about the saddest moments on Scrubs. I really don’t know why I do this to myself.