greys anatomy season 17 maggie bailey abc

The long wait to see the Grey's Anatomy ensemble back on TV is almost at an end, but the cast won't be limited to familiar faces. The long-running medical drama is adding a new star to Season 17. The new season will deliver more than just the doctors and nurses of Grey Sloan dealing with COVID-19. That said, the newcomer likely won't be helping Meredith and Co. fight the pandemic.

Grey's Anatomy has added Mackenzie Marsh to play a character by the name of Val Ashton. Deadline reports that Val has a "fun-loving sense of humor" and is intelligent, but "extremely lonely" as well. Val works in publishing rather than medicine, so it's not clear at this point what will bring her into the story.

Considering the pandemic state of Grey Sloan heading into Season 17 and the fact that ailments and injuries are often what introduce new characters on Grey's Anatomy, whatever brings in Val may be something very bad. The role is set to be recurring, so fans should expect to see a fair amount of Mackenzie Marsh as Val Ashton in Season 17. If she is facing one of those injuries or ailments, it presumably won't kill her right off the bat!

Mackenzie Marsh is a veteran of the small screen and began a string of network TV appearances back in 2014 with six episodes of The Following on Fox, which starred Kevin Bacon before being unceremoniously cancelled on a big cliffhanger. She followed The Following with variety of roles, including ABC's American Housewife, The CW's Jane the Virgin, NBC's Will & Grace revival, and most recently The CW's Charmed reboot.

cw charmed reboot screenshot mackenzie marsh

Mackenzie Marsh joins Grey's Anatomy as it heads into a very different season than anything Grey's has tackled before. The messy (and off-screen) departure of Justin Chambers' Alex Karev in Season 16 meant that the show lost one of its few remaining members of the original cast, and DeLuca's future at Grey Sloan is uncertain following the diagnosis that was revealed on Station 19.

Richard Weber's future is uncertain as well, and Teddy created such a romantic mess that there's bound to be fallout. Plus, a Grey's star has been lost to Station 19. And that's all without accounting for the pandemic! The show will return with a three-hour crossover event that will show Grey Sloan a month into the pandemic, and the trailer footage revealed so far proves that the doctors and nurses won't be back to business as usual in the new season.

We'll have to wait and see if Grey's intends to stay the course and remain immersed in in-universe COVID protocols or follow The Good Doctor's example and move past the pandemic. The good news is that the long hiatus since Season 16 came to an abrupt end is nearly finished. Grey's Anatomy Season 17 returns on Thursday, November 12 for a three-part crossover event, starting with Station 19's Season 4 premiere at 8 p.m. ET before moving into the first two episodes of Season 17 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET.

If you're still in the market for some additional viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.

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