Grey’s Anatomy is approaching 400 episodes and nearly 20 years on, the twists, turns and intense emotions of the intermingling personal and professional lives of the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital has always been high stakes. After going on a winter hiatus, the medical drama returned last month for the latter half of Season 18, and LA Confidential caught up with Camilla Luddington, who plays fan favorite Dr. Jo Wilson, to get the inside scoop on the show.
In true Grey’s fashion, the season’s return back in February brought the drama. What was your initial reaction to the first time you read the script for the episode, particularly what happened between Link and Jo?
The first time I read the script I think I audibly gasped! I had no idea that it was coming and was shocked at how impulsive Jo was in the moment with someone who had been her best friend for so many years. But when we went to actually shoot that scene it actually seemed to strangely make sense that in that moment, that’s what these two people needed from each other. But I’m nervous for her and for them both because I know how treasured that friendship is and more than anything, I don’t want it to ruin anything.
Of course no spoilers, but what can we look forward to from the rest of the season, particularly for Jo?
There is a LOT coming. What I really appreciate about this season is that we haven’t in any way ignored that she is raising this baby by herself. We continue to show her juggling her career and her exhaustion. I can for sure tease that her career does also take a more challenging shift towards the end of the season. And I can tease that her love life takes some twists and turns.
TV has changed so much in the last 10 years, let alone since the show first premiered in 2005. Why do you think Grey’s has been able to keep fans committed for nearly 20 seasons?
It’s a testament to our writers. Each season I think to myself, surely we’ve told allll the stories for these characters and of course we haven’t. Something new is cooked up and I think the audience knows that they’re in for a wild ride. I also think that these characters are messy. And who can’t relate to messy?? They make terrible decisions all the time, say the wrong things, love the wrong people. It’s so relatable. And then their wins become the audiences’ wins too. And the show is always evolving, always adapting. That keeps it fresh for sure.
What’s it like being part of a show with this kind of legacy?
I don’t think I’ve fully realized yet what it means to be part of this show. We film in our own world, our own bubble and then we go home to our families. I can’t even really comprehend the reach this show has. I always call it a unicorn. I think it’s so, so rare to be on a show like this one and I dont think it’ll ever happen again. 18 seasons? Almost 400 episodes? It’s unheard of.
2022 marks 10 years of playing Jo Wilson. When you set out on your career to be an actor, did you ever imagine this?
I didn’t imagine Grey’s Anatomy to be part of my story as an actor, no. I used to run home from waitressing shifts to watch it! And to be able to spend 10 years with a character? I absolutely didn’t even think that was possible. I almost feel like I’ve grown up on the show. I’ve learnt so, so much from being there, both in front of the camera and off.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from Jo?
The greatest lesson I’ve learned from Jo is probably that you can get back up. She has fallen so many times. There are SO many things that have happened to her that have shattered her. She has re-pieced herself back together. And she doesn’t look the same. And that’s ok, that’s great actually! Because she’s stronger and wiser.
I’ve also learnt from her that taking care of your mental health is paramount. Really. I was so inspired by her therapy scenes and her vulnerability in them.
This interview has been edited.
Photography by: Photo credit: Benjo Arwas; Styling: Amanda Lim; Makeup: Tonya Brewer; Hair: Eddie Cook