'Grey's Anatomy's' Kim Raver on Handling Tragedy: Teddy Will Be Different Than Izzie
The actress tells THR: "This is the perfect opportunity to understand a little bit of who Teddy is inside."
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's Grey's Anatomy episode, "Dark Was the Night."]
Happiness hasn't come easy for Grey's Anatomy's Teddy (Kim Raver).
After Owen (Kevin McKidd) opted to remain with Cristina (Sandra Oh) after Teddy professed her love for him, the top cardio surgeon had a series of short-term relationships (Mark Sloan, Andrew Perkins). Ultimately, the closely guarded Teddy opened herself up and fell in love with Scott Foley's lovable but uninsured patient Henry, whom she married so he could seek treatment for a rare genetic condition using her insurance.
That came to a sad ending Thursday when Henry died during surgery as Owen kept his identity a secret from his wife, Cristina, in order to keep the pressure off of her during the risky procedure while Teddy was in surgery saving another patient's life.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Raver to discuss what Henry's death will mean for Teddy, how the war veteran will respond to her husband's passing and how her relationships with Cristina and Owen will change.
The Hollywood Reporter: The last we see, Teddy is still in surgery and believes Owen when he says that Henry survived his surgery. How will Teddy find out about Henry's death?
Kim Raver: I can't really talk about that but I will say that the way that it's been constructed is really exciting. What's really interesting about tonight's episode is Meredith talks about the sudden impact -- it's a horrifying thing if you walk into a room and you're in one place and there's something that occurs and you walk out of that room and you're not the same. For Teddy, who went into it thinking it was another one of those surgeries -- she wanted to be the one to do it but she's not allowed to do it and she went to do a central line and Owen told her she couldn't be a part of the surgery. For Teddy, the only other person she trusts, and she says it's "another me," is Cristina. That's going to have its own repercussions. The fact that she's standing there trying to save someone else and not knowing that her husband is dying is excruciating. The impact that will have on her will create a lot of conflict between Owen, Teddy and Cristina. It will be nice to see the three of them, together, not as the way they first started out but now as colleagues and friends and how they're going to work through this situation.
THR: What will Teddy's first emotion be to finding out about Henry?
Raver: Teddy is going to deal with it in a very different way. [Grey's creator] Shonda [Rhimes] and I have discussed it a little bit and I'm not quite sure what the outcome of that will be. I think it's interesting that she has had to deal with death and it will be interesting to see if we bring that back in. When Teddy first came to Seattle Grace, we talked about how she lost her best friend. She was this unbelievable top cardiothoracic surgeon in New York and just gave that up when she lost her best friend and went to Iraq. My bet is that she's not going to be a puddle on the floor. This is her first true love, I don't know how she's going to get through that but I think she might mask that with really working and not being able to deal with it.
THR: You mentioned that Teddy won't turn into a puddle on the floor, which Grey's viewers have seen before with Izzie (Katherine Heigl) after Denny's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) death. Does Teddy have the opportunity to go down that route?
Raver: I hope so. I think it's going to be different than Izzie. I hope to understand why Teddy is the way she is: I'd love to understand what happened when she lost her best friend and decided to give it all up and go to Iraq. I'd love to see why she is so afraid of change and this is the perfect opportunity to understand a little bit of who Teddy is inside. The fact that she did fall in love with Henry is a huge thing for her. I feel like she kind of forgot that he actually was sick. That's sort of the beauty of her love and that's the beauty of Teddy: she has this ability to fix it and make it better and create this amazing beautiful situation. He could have died months ago because he didn't have insurance and he wouldn't have been able to have any of the surgeries. There is this beautiful quality of Teddy -- the fact that she is one of the best cardiothoracic surgeons, she does go in there and fix things. On a literal sense and also on a figurative sense, I'd love to understand what makes her want to -- and need to -- fix things? While it makes her an incredible surgeon, I think it might also hurt her a little bit in her life. I think it's a great opportunity to see that in her unraveling.
THR: Considering her history with Owen, how will his withholding news of Henry's death impact their friendship?
Raver: It's going to be devastating. That's going to be something that will be played out. Everyone has their interests and that sudden impact changes things forever. How do you get past that? That's what we're going to be seeing amongst the three of them in the next couple weeks.
THR: How will Henry's death alter Teddy and Cristina's relationship?
Raver: I think that will be surprisingly different; they've really gotten to this amazing place of being of one. Teddy really considers Cristina "another me." They're in a really interesting place right now. I think that relationship keeps moving forward in a good way, but I could be wrong.
THR: Perhaps the most poignant moment in the episode is when Owen tells Cristina that it was Henry who was her patient. What will Henry's death -- and Owen not revealing his identity to Cristina -- do to their marriage?
Raver: I know there's been tension amongst them that's building and this may be a catalyst to release it. I think this may be something that ignites a truce out of both of them as to where they are in their relationship.
THR: Will Henry's death change Cristina's almost robotic philosophy when it comes to surgery?
Raver: Sandra and I were looking at it the other day and we were using this rib spreader and it's so mechanical in one sense and we were thinking, "Wow, you really have to be disconnected in order to be as good as you are." I think what Teddy has seen in being in Iraq and the way she has dealt with death and losing her friend in 9/11 makes her much more empathetic. Her bedside manner is much different than Cristina's. I think Cristina has been learning from Teddy and [last week's episode] "Heart in a Box" was one of [her biggest lessons]. What they've been doing together definitely made Cristina less robotic -- that's why Teddy has asked her for her bucket list, because she's changing and now working as a team, which will make her a better surgeon. All the stuff that Teddy has been doing for Cristina -- pushing her and being so difficult with her -- it not to be a cold surgeon. It's because Teddy sees how Cristina can be an even better surgeon, if that's even possible because she's so extraordinary. I think she has moved out of that.
THR: Considering her romantic history -- her feelings for Owen didn't go the way she wanted -- and now with Henry, will his death close Teddy off to the possibility of dating again?
Raver: Yes. I can't even imagine how she's going to trust to open up her heart again. When she did lose her best friend in 9/11 and went to Iraq, her PTSD wasn't really apparent; she was very positive. I think that is one of her amazing qualities: she finds the positive, life-affirming thing. But I think there is a depth of sadness underneath all of that. I can't imagine how she will bounce back from the loss of Henry because I feel for her that was her first and major true love. She imagined the rest of her life with him so I don't know how she will open up to that again. But that will be an interesting journey.
Grey's Anatomy returns from its fall hiatus with new episodes in January on ABC. What did you think of the fall finale?