Sarah Drew on Leaving ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: “Playing a character for nine years is a long haul”


Actress Sarah Drew

“[Being let go] was painful when it happened, but, in retrospect, I think it would have been hard for me to walk away from that job.” – Sarah Drew

After starring on Grey’s Anatomy since the sixth season of the long-running show, Sarah Drew has left the series at the conclusion of the fourteenth season. In addition, Drew recently directed the six episode webseries Grey’s Anatomy: B-Team about the interns on the series, which has since been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series. In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Drew spoke about the sadness of leaving Grey’s Anatomy and her excitement with the nomination for B-Team.

Drew admits that she felt a bit lost after leaving the series, but felt much better about her career prospects when the Emmy nomination for B-Team was announced. She explains, “My confidence had gotten a bit shaken in the wake of being let go and the nomination after the fact made me go, ‘I don’t need to be worried about anything or have my confidence shaken.’ I’m not only pursuing my career as an actor but I’m now also walking into this world as a director and as a producer and the world is so wide open. More than anything else, the last few weeks after my final episodes have been a really beautiful rebirth and a really exciting time. I’m running around, meeting everybody and talking to producers and talking to heads of casting at all the networks and the studios and I’m finding that the landscape is so different. There’s so much more content; it’s a totally different world for television.”

Drew confesses that the transition was emotional, but she felt compelled to continue learning about directing from one of her castmastes. She recalls, “I was let go during an episode where I was shadowing Kevin McKidd [who stars as Owen and regularly directs episodes]. It was in the afternoon and I went back to my trailer and I did my crying and called my people. A whole bunch of people came into my trailer to give me hugs and cry with me and tell me they were so sad I was leaving. I was supposed to be shadowing Kevin this whole episode with the hope that I would get to direct an episode of Grey’s, but [after being let go]it seemed like that wasn’t a possibility anymore. I wondered if I should keep shadowing Kevin. My husband was like, ‘Of course you go.’ I had this incredible opportunity to grow as a director and as an artist with a director that I respect so much. I had nothing to be ashamed of and didn’t need to hide. So that’s what I did: I showed up the next morning at 6 a.m. and shadowed Kevin until I got cast as Cagney and had to leave to go shoot CBS’ Cagney & Lacey.”

While Drew admits it wasn’t her choice to leave the series, she does see it as a blessing for allowing her to move on to other things. She continues, “[Being let go] was painful when it happened, but, in retrospect, I think it would have been hard for me to walk away from that job. I was on it for nine years. It feels right and it feels like a good time to move on to something else with all the great love in my heart that I have for everybody and respect and gratitude for what that experience was. Playing a character for nine years is a long haul.”

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