'Grey's Anatomy' Spotlights Real-Life Heroes in Season 17 Promo

Grey's Anatomy Ellen Pompeo - H 2016
Courtesy of ABC

Grey's Anatomy and its spinoff, Station 19, are dedicating their upcoming seasons to essential healthcare workers with the real-life heroes taking center stage in a new promo from ABC.

The short clip features Grey's star Ellen Pompeo delivering a poignant thank you, as her trademark voiceover is spotlights heroic moments from both shows before cutting to images frontline workers including nurses and doctors.

"We all have heroes — people we aspire to be, the ones who fight, who help us to survive when it matters; the ones who always show up to save the day. Thank you," Pompeo says in the clip, which is set to iconic Grey's song The Fray's "How to Save a Life."

"This season, our work is dedicated to the healthcare workers who put their lives on the line every day to try to save ours," said Grey's and Station 19 showrunner Krista Vernoff in a statement released Thursday alongside the promo. "Wear a mask, save someone else’s life."

Grey's Anatomy was one of the first shows to shut down production in March amid the global pandemic. \ Vernoff recently revealed that season 17 of the Shonda Rhimes-produced medical drama will write the pandemic into its storylines. She told The Hollywood Reporter's TV's Top 5 podcast that she initially balked at the idea of writing the pandemic into the series but ultimately writers on the veteran drama convinced her otherwise.

"It was really about fatigue," Vernoff said of her initial thought of not incorporating the pandemic into Grey's. "To be the biggest medical show and ignore the biggest medical story of the century felt irresponsible to the medical community," she said. "It just felt like we had to tell this story. The conversation became: How do we tell this painful and brutal story that has hit our medical community so intensely and permanently changed medicine? And create some escapism? And create romance, comedy and joy and fun? That's the challenge this season."

In September, when Grey's resumed production, leading lady Pompeo posted on social media that she was dedicating season 17 to healthcare workers. "First time back in my scrubs," Pompeo wrote in a post accompanying a photo of herself and a co-star both wearing masks. "[S]ince we shut down filming, 7,000 healthcare workers have died from COVID. I dedicate my season 17 to all who have fallen and to everyone of you who by the grace of God is still standing ... this season is for you, with humility and a bit of humor to get us through and endless amounts of gratitude. I hope we do you proud."

Grey's and Station 19 return with new seasons on Thursday, Nov. 12 starting at 8 p.m. on ABC. Watch the promo, below.