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Grey’s Anatomy Will Feature Much More Of One Doctor In Season 18

Lynn Chen stars as Dr. Michelle Lin on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

Grey’s Anatomy is making waves in Season 18 for the number of characters coming back to the show. After Season 17 saw the return of Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd and other fan favorites, the current season is sticking with the trend, bringing back multiple characters, including Kate Walsh as Addison Montgomery. But not content to just rehash the past, the longtime ABC medical drama has added new characters to the mix as well. One of those who we haven’t seen much of yet is Dr. Michelle Lin, played by Lynn Chen. And her minor role on Grey's is about to change.

Lynn Chen has been upgraded to a recurring role for Season 18 of Grey's Anatomy, according to Variety, making her the ongoing replacement for Jesse Williams' Jackson Avery, after Jackson left for Boston in Season 17. Dr. Lin is a teacher who instructs by example, and it's up to the residents to keep up enough to learn from her.

Grey’s Anatomy fans were introduced to Dr. Michelle Lin in the Season 18 premiere, “Here Comes the Sun,” as Richard Webber worked to fill the positions of doctors who had either quit or retired in the wake of the pandemic. (Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 are set in a fictional post-pandemic world this season.) Webber offered Lin the plastic surgery position on the spot. Lin balked at the offer, not sure that she was fit for a teaching hospital and questioning the abilities of the surgical residents. 

This inspired Webber to fast-track the residents into solo surgeries and rely on the likes of Addison Montgomery and Catherine Fox to raise the bar for the residency program.

Michelle Lin is one of several new characters to Grey’s Anatomy this season. Former Shrill actor E.R. Fightmaster will recur in Season 18 as Dr. Kai Bartley — Grey’s Anatomy’s first nonbinary doctor — who will seemingly bond with Amelia Shepherd as they work together to cure Parkinson’s. And The O.C. alum Peter Gallagher was introduced in this season’s premiere as Dr. David Hamilton, who is both the man behind the Parkinson’s project and the patient they will be trying to cure.

Along with Kate Walsh returning to Grey’s Anatomy this season, the drama has also brought back Scott Speedman as a potential love interest for Meredith Grey, Kate Burton as Meredith’s deceased mother, and Abigail Spencer as Owen Hunt’s sister Megan. Lynn Chen’s other projects include a number of guest starring roles on shows including Shameless and Big Mouth. She also starred in the queer cult classic Saving Face.

Grey’s Anatomy and its firefighting spinoff Station 19 are on hiatus until November 11, when the ABC Seattle dramas will return for a dramatic crossover event which not everyone will survive. The episode descriptions seem to suggest Station 19 might be the show that sees one of its characters die, but only time will tell. The crossover event begins with Station 19 at 8 p.m. ET November 11 on ABC, followed by Grey’s Anatomy at 9 p.m. ET. In the meantime, check out our 2021 TV Schedule to see what’s premiering through the end of this year.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.