WARNING: Major spoilers are ahead from the Grey's Anatomy Season 17 midseason premiere. If you haven't watched and decide to keep reading, well, we might have to put you in a bed next to Meredith. You've been warned!
We've all been waiting for a few months to see how Grey's Anatomy would pick up after that extremely tense winter finale, which was filled with increased medical troubles for Meredith and some potential danger for Andrew and Carina. Unfortunately, things only got worse in many respects with the midseason premiere, as the promise of that danger came to heartbreaking fruition when Andrew DeLuca was stabbed on Station 19 and ended up dying from his wounds on Grey's. But, it turns out that even showrunner Krista Vernoff wanted to save good ol' DeLuces.
As much as I realize that you're probably reading this while dealing with the hot sting of your own tears as they stream down your face and threaten to form an actual pool at your feet, know that Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff isn't happy about killing off poor DeLuca, either. In fact, she really tried to stop it from happening. When asked about the shocking move by TV Line, Vernoff said:
It was really hard. I tried to chicken out several times through the season. The writers kept me honest on this one, because sometimes a story tells itself to you, and you’re like, ‘Wait, what? We’re killing DeLuca? He has to die? Why? I don’t wanna tell that story!’ Several times, even after we were deep into the shooting of these episodes, I would go into the writers room and say, ‘I think we have to save him.’ And there was an uprising of like, ‘No!’ because this story told itself, and it felt important and powerful. As a human being, you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to lose Giacomo. I don’t want to lose DeLuca.’ But as a storyteller, you have to honor the story. I don’t know… it’s sort of a magical process.
I know, I know! Vernoff is talking about the "magical process" of writing away a wonderful character like Andrew DeLuca, leaving fans without more of actor Giacomo Gianniotti and the possibility that his character could help Meredith put her life back together after coming through her devastating illness. Meanwhile, we're all crying into our morning wine glasses...What do you mean, you don't have a morning wine?
Anyway, Vernoff explained that before each season, she spends a lot of time alone thinking about the characters and where their stories need to go. This continuation of the human trafficking plot with DeLuca was the first story that came to her "wholly realized," so she felt compelled to take this route.
Obviously, though, it wasn't easy. As Krista Vernoff noted she kept trying to change the direction of DeLuca's story, both so that the show wouldn't have to lose the character and so that they wouldn't have to lose Gianniotti's contributions. Both have been a part of Grey's Anatomy since Season 11, and have brought fans, and clearly those behind the scenes on the drama, a lot of joy each week, so it makes sense that Vernoff would have had a really hard time pulling the plug on the character.
The small upside for the fans is that DeLuca was able to go out a hero. As we saw in the winter finale, he and Carina followed Opal and ended up at the train station, where DeLuca eventually broke away from his sister to chase after the sex trafficker so that she wouldn't get away (she didn't). A man bumped into him, and...that was it. Andrew DeLuca was stabbed and had to be rushed into surgery, twice. He was able to meet with Meredith on her dream beach, but accepted the call from his mom while there, and was pronounced dead in the operating room.
You can bet that the death of Andrew DeLuca will send some pretty big shock waves through the staff at Grey Sloan Memorial, and Krista Vernoff promises that at least one character will be "broken by it," so there will definitely be more good drama to come from his passing.
We can all see how this plays out as Grey's Anatomy airs on ABC, Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST.