Spoiler Alert: Please refrain from reading if you haven’t watched the February 24th episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” titled “No Time to Die.”
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The last time viewers encountered Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) was during December’s midseason finale of “Grey’s Anatomy,” where he faced a life-threatening cliffhanger. It appeared that Owen had plummeted off a cliff and might have met his demise.
In the episode titled “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” Owen, accompanied by his wife Teddy (Kim Raver) and Hayes (Richard Flood), embarked on a mission to retrieve a vital donor heart for Owen’s nephew, Farouk (Bardia Seiri), who was in desperate need. Failing to secure the heart would have devastating consequences for Megan (Abigail Spencer), Owen’s sister. The trio of doctors embarked on this journey to ensure a seamless heart transplant, but given the nature of “Grey’s Anatomy,” things took an unexpected turn: Their driver suffered a severe stroke, causing the vehicle to swerve off the road and perilously teeter at the cliff’s edge. In a selfless act, Teddy managed to exit the car safely with the precious heart, and Hayes followed suit. However, Owen, as previously mentioned, was left to face the unthinkable fate of going over the cliff while inside the car.
However, in the episode titled “No Time to Die,” it became evident that Owen’s time had not come to an end. Instead, he endured a severe leg fracture that necessitated surgery, and there was a potential risk of paralysis (though it appears to have been averted). According to Kevin McKidd, in a recent interview, Owen had not faced such imminent physical harm and danger in quite some time. The last instance, he noted, was during the Season 6 finale when a hospital intruder went on a shooting spree, injuring Owen and nearly taking his life if it weren’t for Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). “Owen has managed to evade many of these life-threatening situations over the seasons,” McKidd quipped. “It seems like it was Owen’s turn this time.”
McKidd revealed that he had knowledge of the storyline, assuring him that his character wasn’t being abruptly killed off without prior notice. However, the prospect of his character seemingly falling to his death did make him nervous. He humorously shared, “Obviously, I was kind of nervous. You know, ‘Maybe I need to find another job!'”
Acknowledging the passionate nature of the “Grey’s Anatomy” fan base, which includes both ardent Owen supporters and those who wouldn’t mind if his character met his end, McKidd maintains a balanced perspective. He remarks, “If someone strongly dislikes your character, I don’t think it prevents them from being a fan.”
McKidd also acknowledges the imperfections in Owen’s character, describing him as a deeply flawed individual. He notes, “He’s a very imperfect guy. He makes mistakes. He’s hot-headed. He’s impulsive — sometimes, very impulsive. And I think that can rub people the wrong way. But I also believe he possesses a kind and compassionate heart.”
In Season 18 of “Grey’s Anatomy,” one of Owen’s impulsive actions was participating in the unlawful assisted death of Noah (Johnny Rey Diaz), a veteran who had fallen ill due to exposure to burn pits during the Middle East wars. When Owen believed he was facing imminent death himself, he urged Hayes to do the same for other veterans suffering from debilitating illnesses, individuals who had received little help or recognition from the VA. Owen’s revelation created a moral dilemma for Hayes, rooted in the principle of “first, do no harm.” Consequently, Hayes made the decision to depart Grey Sloan and return to Ireland. (It remains uncertain whether Flood will officially depart from the show, as ABC representatives have yet to provide confirmation.)
Hayes’ decision to quit is significant, and Teddy, being perceptive, senses that something Owen said must have triggered this drastic move, as she mentioned to him in the final moments of the episode. Kevin McKidd discussed the upcoming episodes of the show, noting, “Teddy and Owen have some serious issues to work through, and it becomes quite intense, leading to significant tension and distress between them.”
Kevin McKidd first joined the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” in Season 5 back in 2008, which means he has portrayed Owen for an impressive 14 seasons. In addition to his acting role, he has also become one of the show’s regular directors. During the interview, he shared that he was currently on set directing Episode 15, one of three episodes he will direct this season. McKidd revealed that he had no prior directing experience but approached “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes during the show’s seventh season to express his desire to shadow directors and eventually direct episodes himself. He spoke highly of Rhimes’ support, stating, “She was incredibly encouraging of me pursuing that path.”
He’s now lost track of the exact number, but it’s somewhere in the mid-thirties. “I’ve essentially learned the ropes on the job, not in a classroom setting, but by hands-on experience,” McKidd explained.
“Grey’s Anatomy” has already received a renewal for the next season. However, McKidd shared that it’s beginning to feel like the show is approaching its conclusion. He mentioned, “It feels like we’re entering the final chapter of the show — whether that means one more season or possibly more, I don’t know.”
McKidd intends to stay with the show until its conclusion, stating, “As of now, I do plan on sticking around. I believe there are still some truly compelling stories to explore for my character. I take great pride in being part of the show and playing my role in it. I’m still fully invested, and I have a deep affection for the people here, not to mention the outstanding work of the writers.”
After all, it’s not often that an actor has the opportunity to portray a character for such an extended period of time.
Kevin McKidd finds the journey of portraying a character over an extended period of time to be genuinely intriguing. He remarked, “It’s truly fascinating to possess this nearly chronological record of your own life because inevitably, the character and your own personality blend at a certain juncture. I’m deeply invested in this character. However, playing a role over many years is an entirely unique experience compared to a single movie, naturally. There’s no distinct beginning, middle, and end; it’s essentially living the life of a character.”
He continued, expressing, “So, from this point onward, wherever it may lead, I want to relish every moment. Because it’s likely not to happen again. It’s a once-in-a-career type of occurrence.”