Sudden exit for a Grey’s Anatomy character (definite spoilers)

Just released today is that the lesbian storyline between Dr Callica Torres and Dr Erica Hahn on Grey’s Anatomy is canned, and that Erica will be leaving this week.

Apparently the decision wasn’t made by Grey’s writers but actually by the network, who felt that the lesbian relationship was pushing boundaries. An obviously upset Brooke Smith, who plays Erica, gave an exclusive interview with Michael Ausiello of EW.

AUSIELLO: What the hell happened?!
BROOKE SMITH: I was very excited when they told me that Erica and Callie were going to have this relationship. And I really hoped we were going to show what happens when two women fall in love and that they were going to treat it like any heterosexual couple on TV. And so I was surprised and disappointed when they just suddenly told me that they couldn’t write for my character anymore.

That’s all they said?
Yes. Frankly, it was you that warned me this might happen on the red carpet back in July. You said [sometimes networks get cold feet] with gay relationships. And I was so naive. I’m like, “It’s 2008.” But I’m starting to realize that not everyone feels the way I do.

Did you get the feeling that the story was making people nervous?
No. At work I had no sense of it. And more fans seemed to like it than not. I don’t think I’m ever going to know [why this really happened].

When did you find out?
I found out in mid-September soon after shooting the monologue that aired last week where Erica has the revelation that she’s gay. They even came down and told me it was a great scene — one of the best they ever shot on the show. So I was really, really shocked. I was floored when they told me [I was being let go]. It was the last thing I expected. In fact, when they told me I asked, “When is this happening?” And they said, “The [next episode] is your last,” which is the one that airs this Thursday. So it was very sudden.

Wait a second – your last episode is this Thursday?

How are you written out?
I’m not written out. My final scene is just me heading to my car. I honestly don’t know what happens in the next episode. I heard not much.

Entertainment Weekly

I’m at best ambivalent about homosexual storylines, they make such a big deal out of what is only ever another relationship on a show. I’m generation Y, we aren’t shocked by a same-sex kiss anymore. I suspect the network decided to drop it partly because the storyline was a bit lame (Brooke says that she found Callie asking a man for help with her sex life ‘icky’ and unlikely) and partly because rival medical drama House started a lesbian storyline that same week. EW suggests that it is because of the ‘explicit’ nature of the storyline.

Brooke says that she just moved her family to Los Angeles, where the show is filmed, but feels she is going to be ‘okay’ in her career.

Note by Celebitchy: Grey’s creator Shonda Rimes has said that Brooke’s character’s orientation had nothing to do with her dismissal:

For her part, Rhimes said in a statement to ET, “Brooke Smith was obviously not fired for playing a lesbian. Clearly it’s not an issue as we have a lesbian character on the show — Calliope Torres. Sara Ramirez is an incredible comedic and dramatic actress and we wanted to be able to play up her magic. Unfortunately, we did not find that the magic and chemistry with Brooke’s character would sustain in the long run. The impact of the Callie/Erica relationship will be felt and played out in a story for Callie. I believe it belittles the relationship to simply replace Erica with ‘another lesbian.’ If you’ll remember, Cristina mourned the loss of Burke for a full season.”

[From ET]

Doesn’t this show sound like a difficult place to work? There was all this infighting the past two seasons with the Isaiah Washington slur against T.R. Knight and now this woman was fired and isn’t sure why.

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14 Responses to “Sudden exit for a Grey’s Anatomy character (definite spoilers)”

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  1. Kate says:

    It’s pretty pathetic that people can’t handle a homosexual relationship, especially as this is a television show and it’s all for entertainment. I certainly aw more graphic scenes involving heterosexual characters.

    Saying that, the show has been going downhill for a while now, and creating relationships that don’t make sense, this one included.

    I’d much rather watch yummy House :p

  2. Sara says:


    I have to be honest that I’ve always felt a little bit queasy about seeing two women kissing. But I kinda liked Callie and Erica together. They were so adorable. And I enjoy Brooke’s character, I thought she could go a long way in personal development.

    So they want to write the story line off – that’s cool – but why the hell did they need to fire her? They never again touched Gizzie (thank the HEAVENS) but the actors are still there.

    Doesn’t make any sense.

    I honestly didn’t want to work on Grey’s either, I agree with you. Gesh.

  3. Kristin says:

    As a lesbian, this disappoints me greatly. I can’t wait to go vote on Prop 8 today and decide if i should be privileged enough to have my own marriage someday.

  4. stellapurdy says:

    Their relationship was cringe worthy but not because of it being a lesbian relationship but rather it wasn’t believable. And it doesn’t matter if they put Callie with another woman, it still won’t be believable to me.

    Callie was always chasing male tail, so I don’t get the shift to her being a lesbian. Nothing wrong with being attracted to the same sex however this doesn’t fit her character, IMO

  5. okay... says:

    I read somewhere else that it isn’t because of the lesbian storyline, but because they had no chemistry. They are planning on introducing a new character-an intern who is bisexual.

  6. rbsesq says:

    I never really thought the storyline was very well written or developed. It was more of like “how can we shock people into watching again.” And the truth is, it just wasn’t that shocking. A relationship is a relationship. As it is, the whole story just made me dislike Callie because she cheated on Erica with man slut Mark.

    I’m sad about Brooke Smith. I like her and her character on the show. She can really deliver a line. And I think it’s really sh*tty that they didn’t give her any notice.

  7. Embee says:

    Sounds like a budget issue to me, and that Brooke’s character had the least support. Too bad. It would be nice to see a thoughtful portrayal of a lesbian relationship between two educated, mature professionals. Shonda Rhymes was certainly capable of delivering that.

  8. Feebee says:

    I liked Dr Hahn… strike that… I liked what she brought to the dynamic, she was a bit of a bitch but obviously brilliant at her job… I had no qualms about the lesbian storyline but it didn’t fit with Callie. It’s a pity they couldn’t give Erica her own storyline with a partner maybe outside the hospital. I’m disappointed but not surprised with ABC. I’d like to know the names of the advertisers that complained so I can complain to them about being such douchebags and that I can live without their products.

  9. lee says:

    i agree that the lesbian story line didn’t necessarily fit with what we know of Callie, but the reason they initially started to take it in that direction was because of the chemistry that the actors DID have last season. they were adorable and smoking. unfortunately, the writers chose to focus on Callie freaking out and talking to everyone EXCEPT for Erika about her concerns. Up until last week’s episode, we never heard things from Erika’s perspective. And when we finally did, i found myself in tears. Her speech about finally seeing leaves was one of the most eloquent metaphors I’ve ever heard for describing the realization that you are gay. I know that many lesbian viewers, myself included, really related to that sentiment.

    I get that grey’s was trying to show that Erika was a lesbian while Callie is bisexual. fine. but the writing was pretty atrocious. I had been a grey’s fan for several years until early last season when i finally got bored and stopped watching. i only began watching again for the storyline and i doubt i’ll continue watching after the next episode. and to blame the actors chemistry and Erika’s likeability as reasons for dismissal is insulting to Brooke IMO. the writers are the ones who made her character so unlikeable this season by having her never speak up except when bitchy.

    the thing that i find upsetting is the denial that it’s because of her character’s orientation. when they get rid of one lesbian character, de-gay the bisexual aspect of the new intern (Melissa George – who should be entering Seattle Grace this week or next, can’t remember), and only show the lesbian couple chastely peck each other in bed while wearing atrocious nightgowns only to show Callie and Mark completely naked under the sheets minutes later, i find it pretty hard to believe that Erika’s lesbianism had nothing to do with it. plus, all of the press this summer regarding the relationship was very promising and Shonda seems intent on doing the characters justice. having the decision come from the network leads me to believe someone higher up had a problem with girls kissing.

    the thing is, we need gay and lesbian story lines on TV because we need visibility. it’s not an attempt to be shocking. it’s an attempt to balance things out. when upwards of 10% of the population is gay or lesbian and there is now not a single lesbian relationship on network television (to my knowledge the only remaining lesbian/bisexual character on network tv is thirteen on house and the one time her character has been shown with another woman, the scene was completely cut down from what they had used to advertise the episode) it’s not an accurate portrayal of our world. teens who watch these shows while struggling with coming out are able to see themselves represented and feel less alone. in fact, older women, like Callie and Erika, who are only now coming to realize they have same-sex attractions are able to see that they’re not alone.

    the LA times actually put together a pretty interesting editorial yesterday about the news. the author made the point that perhaps Brooke Smith jut isn’t young and hot enough to get away with playing gay on tv. who knows what the straw that broke the camels back finally was, but completely writing the character off is ridiculous. it doesn’t even make sense. she just drives away never to be seen again? who’s going to be the head f cardio-thoracics? they could have just broken up. that probably would have provided a more interesting story anyways.

    sorry for the long rant. i’ve just been stewing in frustration over this since i found out last night.

  10. Dizzybenny says:


  11. Ophelia says:

    As a bisexual woman, mostly lesbian in my past, I really hope that’s not the reason. I think it’s great how on House they show that bisexual women aren’t all just girls who kiss girls to get a guy’s attention- it’s a real struggle, and we aren’t truly accepted by either camp. And yay Kristen- we can be the resident lezzies! Or non-heteros, lol.

  12. Kristin says:

    Lmao yay. We are prob the only ones on here lol.

  13. Rich says:

    Wasn’t this exact same scenario played out on ER? They are not breaking new ground, ABC is just a collection of idiots that will screw with a viable line for all the wrong reasons.

  14. lee says:

    there’s me too, Ophelia and Kristin!

    ha. although i don’t post too often. so i suppose i’m a bit of a lurker. celebitchy lesbians unite! ha.