‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fires Brooke Smith

John Sturgeon

Fans of the cult medical drama received shocking news last week: Brooke Smith, who plays gay character Dr. Erica Hahn, has been fired.”Grey’s Anatomy” has been revitalized this season with sharper writing, better medical cases and the introduction of some new characters. Toward the end of last season, the show started putting Callie (Sara Ramírez) and Erica (Brooke Smith) together as the show’s first lesbian couple. The story was well told, as the women developed a strong relationship. Their closeness was pointed out when Addison (Kate Walsh) made a stop at Seattle Grace toward the end of last season, and both ladies began to wonder if they could have a sexual interest in each other.By the beginning of this season, their relationship became physical. Eventually, both Callie and Erica started to really enjoy their relationship, and it looked like they had an interesting future on the show. That was until the shocking news broke this week that Smith was released from her contract effective immediately. The news blindsided Smith, who had been told several times by the network and producers that her work had produced some of the better scenes on the show. The decision supposedly came from people above show creator Shonda Rhimes who were uncomfortable with the nature of the storyline. Rhimes came out with a statement of her own, clarifying that Smith was not fired for playing a lesbian but for the belief that the chemistry between Smith and Ramirez would not sustain in the long run.ABC can deny it all they want, but clearly something else was at work here. Smith is a tremendous talent who did a great job in her role as the tough cardiologist at Seattle Grace. She was a character who would never take anything lying down but also one with a heart. It was enjoyable watching her explore who she really was. The firing here was callous and wrong, and ABC deserves all the criticism they will take for making the move. For them to come out and say that they were uncomfortable with the nature of the storyline was a terrible excuse for firing Smith. On “All My Children,” a show that airs on the same network, two women kiss on a regular basis, and the characters recently got engaged, leading to the belief that the firing was done for superficial reasons rather than objections to the story.Aside from this terrible decision, “Grey’s” has been delivering – especially through the characters of Owen Hunt and Cristina Yang. Hunt (Kevin McKidd) is the new trauma doctor at Seattle Grace. As a doctor with experience in Iraq, Owen has trouble showing emotion and connecting with others. It is a nice change of pace from the sex-obsessed characters we are used to watching. Owen kissed Cristina in the first episode and, upon his return, acted like he totally forgot about it in a funny moment. Cristina also explained why she has trouble showing emotion, revealing that her parents died in a car crash and she was the one who felt her father’s heart expire. This traumatic experience provided the motive for her to get into surgery and why she never gets too close to her interns or patients. It will be fascinating to watch the continued growth and interactions between the two characters.In the coming weeks, Melissa George will join the cast in the role of Meredith’s best friend Sadie. Sadie is bisexual, and whether she and Meredith experimented back in the day will be explored. There is also confirmation that Addison will once again make an appearance later in the season and that some Grey’s characters will crossover to “Private Practice” for a guest stint. It was nice to watch Alex and Izzie get back together as Karev has been written more as a person with feelings and Izzie finally got a bit of happiness back in her life. Will Derek have some problems with Sadie entering Meredith’s life? Are Alex and Izzie going to last this time? Will George fall for Lexie? “Grey’s Anatomy” once again is must-see TV, and it airs an all-new sweeps episode tonight at 9 p.m. one ABC.