by William Keck
Grey's Anatomy Good news and bad news for fans of Kevin McKidd and his Grey's Anatomy doc, Owen Hunt. When the ABC series returns with a new installment on February 3, his character will barely be seen on camera. The reason: Kevin was kept plenty busy off camera directing Grey's for the first time. He took time away from editing the episode to give us a scoop-filled preview of what's in store for that and future episodes.
TV Guide Magazine: Boy, you sure didn't waste any time graduating from directing Grey's webisodes to a primetime gig. You must be a gifted student.
McKidd: I know. It kind of shocked me.
TV Guide Magazine: What's your episode about?
McKidd: It takes place during the first day of Derek's Alzheimer's clinical trials and he picks Alex to be his point man — much to Meredith's ire. So we follow Derek and Alex through what turns out to be a very complicated day. Very quickly they realize dealing with Alzheimer's patients is far more emotional than they first anticipated. Alex questions if he's really the right man for this job, while Meredith's waiting in the wings desperate to be part of it. Derek, of course, has reservations about working with Meredith because he feels it's a little too close for comfort.
TV Guide Magazine: What would you say was your most challenging scene?
McKidd: There's a very moving story about the patient Derek's working on who has fallen in love with another Alzheimer's patient in their facility and has forgotten he was ever married to the woman he is actually married to. This breaks her heart. This is really close to home for me because I had one grandparent who suffered from dementia and another from Alzheimer's. It was so heartbreaking in my personal family that it was hard for me to spend time with this.
TV Guide Magazine: What's going on with the other docs?
McKidd: There's a really fun story with Bailey and the Chief, which also involves April and Lexie. Basically, Bailey becomes a superstar in the Internet world — specifically with Twitter. She becomes a tweet queen, and Richard does not approve of this at all. Lexie and April become her tweet minions, while Richard is not up to speed on what Twitter even means and is not sure it's a good thing to be doing in an O.R.
TV Guide Magazine: Fans are really curious about how the triangle of Mark, Arizona and pregnant Callie is going to play out. Any developments on this front?
McKidd: It really starts to play out as Callie starts to suffer ill effects due to not knowing if Arizona is on board or not. Callie kind of becomes one of our patients of the week. It introduces a fantastic new character, Dr. Lucy Fields (Australian actress Rachael Taylor), who will be Callie's OBGYN for the duration of her pregnancy. She is also a potential love interest for Alex, I believe.
TV Guide Magazine: What about Cristina? It must have been interesting directing your on-screen wife.
McKidd: Cristina is back to her old self. She and Jackson are vying for Teddy's attention for a triple bypass. This was my first time on the big stage directing and Sandra [Oh, Cristina] and everyone were so supportive and had my back. I felt really blessed. It was a huge joy!
TV Guide Magazine: What about your character? Where's Owen?
McKidd: Owen's sort of just referred to. I thought it was quite amusing that they have him going off to the dentist that day. Cristina manages to use this in her battle with Jackson in a very funny way.
TV Guide Magazine: Will we see you at all?
McKidd: I'm in one scene. I'm on my way to the dentist and I stumble into Richard on the computer trying to figure out how to log on to Twitter. Owen asks him if he needs some help, and Richard says, 'I'm trying to look at Bailey's teets on the Internet.' I tell him, 'No, no. I think you mean tweets.'
TV Guide Magazine: Hysterical! What's this I hear about you being one of the lead singers in Grey's upcoming musical episode?
McKidd: I'm nervous about this but also excited. I love to sing and have done a few workshops with Andrew Lloyd Webber and others for potential musicals, but I've always been too busy as an actor in movies and TV to do them. A few years ago, I was in the Mike Leigh film Topsy-Turvy as [Mikado character] Nanki-Poo and sang "A Wandering Minstrel," which was the last time I sang on film. The episode is going to be great and what nobody expects — a real left of field one-off. There's a very real life-and-death situation that makes this element occur. It's really a love letter to the fans.
TV Guide Magazine: How did Shonda Rhimes find out which of you guys could sing? Did she audition you?
McKidd: (laughs) Well, it's obvious that Sara Ramirez [Callie] can sing, having won a Tony. One of our head writers was a big fan of Topsy-Turvy. Chandra Wilson [Bailey] had done a stint in Chicago during her last hiatus. James Pickens [Chief Webber] already did a little singing in last year's Christmas episode. And there are a lot of other good singers in the cast. I've heard Ellen Pompeo [Meredith], Sarah Drew [April] and Chyler Leigh [Lexie] all have great voices. I don't think anyone's going to be left out. In the next couple weeks we'll go into the studio and prerecord all our songs.
TV Guide Magazine: Lastly, what's to come for Owen and Cristina as the season continues?
McKidd: They've been in a really good place ever since rushing in to this marriage, but something comes to light in this latter half of the season regarding a life situation going on with lots of people in the hospital. Cristina and Owen realize they have very opposing opinions on this life decision.
TV Guide Magazine: Sounds like they're also going to be discussing baby making?
McKidd: It's going to become a real problem for them. Kind of choppy. They both want different things. This will play out for the rest of the season and I'm told it will build toward something very interesting.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, if they've already survived both of their battles with post-traumatic stress disorder — including Owen strangling Cristina in bed — I would think the topic of babies should be a breeze.
McKidd: (Laughs) You never know....