Sticking around! Chandra Wilson has starred as Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy for almost 20 seasons — and she’s proud of her role as a mainstay on the hit series.
“I’m challenging myself to [stay until the show ends],” Wilson, 53, exclusively told Us Weekly at the 2023 PaleyFest red carpet on Sunday, April 2. “It’s funny because even though [some of the actors have] been here for, like, 13, 14, [seasons], they say they still feel brand new, like they’re just getting started. So we are very proud of the environment that we have.”
The Station 19 actress shared that while she may be sticking around for good, the ABC medical drama has worked hard at “maintaining an atmosphere” so alums of the show know they will always be welcomed back.
“Once you’re in the home, you’re in the home,” she told Us. “We expand. People can reach out, and do, and then there’s still a place to come back to. That is a sense of pride for us.”
One former castmate who recently made a return is Kate Walsh’s Addison Montgomery. The Emily in Paris actress, 55, starred on Grey’s for three seasons as Derek Shepherd’s (Patrick Dempsey) ex-wife before landing her own spinoff, Private Practice, in 2007. She’s recently returned to help out at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital’s women’s clinic — at Bailey’s request — to teach OBGYN residents from various states who restrict practices on abortion care.
For Wilson, leaving the door open for characters to return isn’t just about the actors — it’s about the overall integrity of the series itself.
“Clearly, our fans care about the stories. So at every chance [we try to] honor the relationship [and the stories] that we have,” she explained.
One story that has been at the center of Grey’s Anatomy season 19 is that of women’s reproductive rights following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The medical drama has zeroed in on the conflict between pro-life and pro-choice advocates and the resulting change in abortion access.
Wilson explained to Us that Grey’s has “always been a show about the medicine,” and highlighting conversations surrounding healthcare that “get lost in the shuffle of politics.”
“[We wanted to] push away all the crap and bring it down to basics,” she told Us. “This is the choice between this woman, this body, this is what’s gonna be right for her, and her healthcare professional. … All we can do is tell the story.”
Kevin McKidd, who has played chief of trauma Owen Hunt on the series since season 5, echoed Wilson’s statements, telling Us on Sunday that Grey’s Anatomy’s ability to “take on subjects that [other] TV shows won’t” is a “testament” to executive producers Krista Vernoff and Shonda Rhimes.
“The world is so polarized right now. There’s so many people pointing fingers, ‘I’m right, you’re wrong,’” McKidd, 49, shared. “And I think our show really creates an environment where we work together [from] all perspectives to figure out how we do this. Because this is hurting innocent people. And I think that message needs to be upfront, not the last thing that you hear. And I think our show really does that beautifully. So it’s a very aspirational way of handling these big societal issues.”