With last week’s bombshell news that the revered Harper Avery has several accusations of sexual harassment against him, the latest episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” will be all about trying to right an old wrong.
Star Kevin McKidd, who also directed the episode, titled “Bad Reputation,” said that Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) in particular has a lot to grapple with.
“It’s his grandfather who has been accused, so it brings up … many, many intense feelings for him because it’s his own grandfather who he loves,” McKidd, who plays Dr. Owen Hunt, told TheWrap ahead of Thursday’s show. “But he’s passed away, and all of this posthumously has come out about the way he conducted his life.”
If you need a quick refresher on last week’s episode: the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial discovered that Harper Avery routinely sexually harassed women he worked with, and Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen) helped to pay the women in exchange for silence. At its close, the story is all over the news and the doctors are left struggling with how to deal with the scandal, and how to atone for Harper Avery’s sins.
McKidd explained that because Jackson is in charge of the Harper Avery estate, the responsibility of dealing with the scandal is upon his shoulders.
“He has a responsibility to try to right the wrongs of his grandfather,” McKidd said. “And he doesn’t quite know how to cope and how to strategize and how to do the right thing. And — what is the right thing?”
“This is a huge hospital and a network of other hospitals, and this behavior was going on for many, many years, and was left unchecked,” McKidd continued. “And how do you clean up that mess correctly to honor everybody involved, all the victims? And I think the episode that airs this week really deals with that, in a really profound way I think … So I’m proud of it, I’m proud to have directed it.”
If the story of a man in power preying on women he works with for years sounds familiar, it’s because the writers deliberately chose to pull ideas “from the headlines,” McKidd said.
“It’s really cool to see the writers not just keeping it in the soap opera world of our show, but actually going, you know what, we’re going to tell the story and see our characters try to navigate these very difficult times in our hospital,” McKidd said.
Watch the clip above.
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.