Grey's Anatomy fans received a saddening surprise when it was announced that Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw had been let go from the show ahead of Season 15. The news of their dismissal sent shockwaves through the Grey's Anatomy fandom, as everyone grasped for an explanation as to why the mega-popular actresses had been let go from the show. Speculation arose that Ellen Pompeo's salary increase had been a factor. When asked what the reason she was given was, Sarah Drew said:
I was told that the show had too many characters and that they needed to downsize because they couldn't service all of the characters effectively. They didn't want any of us to be left in the background and not getting much of a story. Because there were so many series regulars, they needed to downsize and to find some characters that they felt like they could tie up their stories well. [Showrunner] Krista Vernoff said that she felt like April had been through so much and had come out the other side and that she didn't know what she could put her through again. It was really hard to hear that. But Krista had a lot of very complimentary things to say about the work that I had done --- especially this past season --- and that April was going to have her happy ending.
Sarah Drew's response to THR confirms that her understanding is that the decision to let go of her and subsequently, April, was creative in nature. Grey's Anatomy does have a large ensemble, so it makes sense that there needed to be some sheering down of the cast. And the decision to cut these particular characters was undoubtedly painstakingly made.
Sarah Drew joined the show in Season 6 and became a series regular in Season 7. In her time on the show, she developed a strong fan following, which was left heartbroken by the medical drama's decision to let go of the character. April and Jessica Capshaw's Arizona were written off the show in the Season 14 finale. Both received happy endings, managing to survive their exit story. That tends to be a rarity for Grey's Anatomy's departing cast members.
While both characters walked away happy, Sarah Drew had some thoughts on how that ending unfolded. In the interview, Sarah Drew admits it was not the romantic endgame she had in mind for the character. She shared that she was "devastated" that Jackson and April did not turn out to be endgame, revealing she felt the pair was meant to be.
Sarah Drew did say that she saw the beauty in the redemptive arc with April marrying Matthew, who she abandoned at their wedding earlier in her Grey's Anatomy run. And while Drew would have liked to have played more of the story beats that led to that ending, she ultimately referred to April and Matthew's story as "lovely." As for returning to Grey's Anatomy, Drew says she has heard nothing about it and would be "maybe" be open to doing it if the opportunity arose.
Along with dealing with the devastation of being let go from Grey's Anatomy, Sarah Drew was dealt another blow when the Cagney & Lacey reboot did not end up getting picked up by CBS. It was Drew's first primetime television role since departing Grey's Anatomy.
Despite all the blows she has taken, Sarah Drew seems to have taken it all in stride and is focusing on the future. With another season of Grey's Anatomy on the horizon, fans are faced with future episodes that do not include April and Arizona. It's destined to be rough. Fans will have to find out how Grey's Anatomy fares without the two uber-popular characters and what the actresses brought to the show when Season 15 bows.
Grey's Anatomy will return for Season 15 with a 2-hour season premiere that will air Thursday, September 27 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. For new television to watch while you wait for the return of Grey's Anatomy check out CinemaBlend's summer premiere guide. For other new television shows set to arrive alongside the long-running drama, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's fall premieres.