8:41pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Grey's Anatomy' Sets Stage for Fan Favorite's Tragic Exit
ABC may have just spoiled how Sarah Drew's April Kepner exits Grey's Anatomy. Following Thursday's Grey's Anatomy, a promo for the penultimate episode of season 14 offers a first glimpse at what appears to be a tragic ending for April.
The logline for Grey's Anatomy's May 10 episode offered the first clue at how the Shonda Rhimes drama planned to write out April as well as Jessica Capshaw's Arizona: "One of Grey Sloan Memorial's own is seriously injured, making the team reflect on what is truly important to them. Meanwhile, Nicole Herman (Geena Davis) pays a visit to Grey Sloan and talks to Arizona about an exciting opportunity."
The promo for the episode finds Owen (Kevin McKidd) searching for April and discovering something horrible in the bushes after what appears to be a car crash. A quick cut reveals April is in surgery, with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) declaring, "We're not losing her!" before breaking down in tears as she is forced to tell Alex (Justin Chambers). The short promo ends with Jackson (Jesse Williams) — April's ex-husband and best friend — rushing in as she rests, seemingly lifeless, with an apparent flat line on the monitor nearby.
As for Capshaw's exit, Arizona called her ex-wife Callie (former series regular Sara Ramirez) during Thursday's episode and said that she thinks their daughter needs to be with her — in New York — and she needs to come with her.
Grey's Anatomy has proven time and time again that anything can happen and that just because something appears to be true, that doesn't mean it's going to actually happen as Shondaland is famous for subverting viewers' expectations (and killing off characters, but we're not picking holes in our own theories here).
Capshaw and Drew's final day of production was April 19, which also served as the day of the series finale of the Rhimes-created Scandal, with the showrunner hitting pause on memories of seven seasons of "gladiating" to acknowledge both actresses: "Today, in the midst of scheduled mania of #scandal series finale, two beautifully talented women filmed their last scenes at #greysanatomy. Having these things happen at the same time is almost impossible to process," Rhimes wrote on Instagram. "I need to devote a whole day just to celebrate Jessica and just to celebrate Sarah. To tell you stories about their talent and to tell what I know about what their roles have meant. A social media post won't cut it and I will not minimize their magic by pretending it will. I have more to say. I will do so. For now I will just say how lucky we were to witness their talents and the magic they brought to their characters. @jessicacapshaw @thesarahdrew."
News broke March 8 that both Capshaw and Drew would be exiting Grey's Anatomy following its current 14th season. Capshaw and Drew have been with the Shondaland drama from showrunner Krista Vernoff for 10 and eight seasons, respectively. The decision to part ways with Capshaw and Drew was based on the show's creative and not on salary. Grey's Anatomy scored an early renewal that followed news that star Pompeo had signed a two-year deal that makes her TV's highest-paid actress on a primetime drama.
No other series-regular exits are expected to come this season. Drew, for her part, already booked a follow-up gig as the lead in CBS' Cagney and Lacey drama pilot, which is in contention for a series pickup. (Those decisions should come next week.)
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.