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If there’s a list of actors that generally make every project they’re in that much better, I’ve no doubt that Denzel Washington’s name would be high on that list. And though the actor isn’t known these days for his TV work, Washington will soon be headed to the hallways of Grey Sloane Memorial Hospital for some work on Grey’s Anatomy. But he won’t be a romantic foil for Meredith or Bailey, as he’s joining the show not as an actor, but as a director.
This will mark Washington’s first time sitting in the director’s chair for a small screen project, and he’s been tapped to helm the ninth episode of Season 12. Unfortunately, there are no details as far as what viewers can expect from the episode – which makes sense, given how secretive some Grey’s story points are – but we can probably expect something huge to happen. According to E Online, the episode is scheduled to hit ABC during November sweeps, so that almost necessarily means there will either be some huge plot twist, or perhaps some guest stars appearing on camera, instead of just behind it.
Washington’s episode will be written by Grey’s Anatomy head writer Stacy McKee, who has put together dozens of episodes over the years, both as a writer and as a producer. And this opportunity will give Washington a chance to catch up with executive producer and director Debbie Allen, with whom he’s been friends for many years. If only she could talk him into popping into the episode at some point. He knows what it’s like to be inside of a TV hospital, after all, as one of his earliest claims to fame was starring on the quirky doctor drama St. Elsewhere.
Even though this will be the Oscar-winning actor’s first time directing a TV show, he’s got a little more experience on the feature side of things. He directed 2002’s biopic Antwone Fisher and followed it up five years later with another biopic, The Great Debaters. He recently entered into a huge deal with HBO to bring playwright August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle series to the cable network, putting together one play a year for an entire decade. He’s set as a producer for that project, but he’ll also be directing and acting in one of the installments. So maybe Grey’s will knock some of the directorial rust off before he gets that other one going.
The episode is set to begin filming later this month, so here’s hoping everything goes smoothly, and that this is just the first of several collaborations between Denzel Washington and Shonda Rhimes. That could be a match made in Success Heaven.