Grey’s Anatomy Addresses Gun Control

By Caitlin Herlihy

Surprise! I’m still watching Grey’s Anatomy. The season six finale included a shocking mass murder at the hospital, and season seven has documented the staff’s struggle to overcome the incident. I believe Shonda Rhimes wrote these episodes to address gun violence (in addition to it being a really juicy storyline in the series).

When a patient’s surgery goes wrong, Dr. Shepherd requests she is taken off life support. The woman’s husband is distraught and decides to sue Dr. Shepherd and the hospital for killing his wife. Weeks later, he returns to Seattle Grace with a gun and goes on a killing spree in search of Derek. The episode is intense, and my heart was pounding the entire time. The hospital staff struggles to heal in the aftermath of the shooting. They each handle the shooting differently, and Cristina even temporarily quits her job.

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Grey’s Anatomy, Season 6: Episode 24 “Death and All His Friends”

Rhimes includes this plot to address the horrors of gun control. Before committing suicide, the gunman describes how easy it was for him to go to the store and buy a gun. He recounts how effortless it was to buy so many bullets, but couldn’t store them all in his jacket pocket. In reality, it is too easy to buy a gun and stuff your pockets with bullets.

I love when shows comment on societal realities and make us think of them in a different way. Rhimes used Grey’s Anatomy as a platform to discuss important issues, including LGBTQ rights, racism, gun control, depression and others throughout the series’ run.


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5 Responses to Grey’s Anatomy Addresses Gun Control

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I really enjoyed this episode as well and see where you could relate the issues in the series to real life. On the other hand, since the series has experienced nearly every catastrophic event possible, I am unsure as to whether Rhimes had a true opinion on gun control when she wrote this episode, because there is little commentary directly on this issue included.

    –Maddie Turner

  2. mediaphiles says:

    While I know little about many of Rhimes’s shows, I do know that she isn’t afraid to push boundaries. It seems like she recognizes her responsibility as a public voice and influencer to bring up important, uncomfortable, and relevant issues. Kudos to all filmmakers and television producers who aren’t afraid to be criticized for doing what’s difficult!

    – Lydia Geisel

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I have only seen a couple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, but I know it can be intense – and I think it’s great when famous shows take a stance on social issues in a way that may not be obvious to a viewer. This definitely sounds like an obvious take on gun control, made to be horrific enough to get the point across.

    -Meg Schmit

  4. mediaphiles says:

    This is one of the episodes that really stuck with me when watching Grey’s Anatomy. It was an absolutely powerful statement that really struck a chord with me. The episode caught me by surprise because I did not expect such a boundary to be pushed at all and that’s when I knew that this show was more than just another drama on network.

    -Shelby Halliman

  5. mediaphiles says:

    This was one of my favorite episode of Grey’s Anatomy but I do have to admit, I am not sure this is the best way to deal with these issues. I think the show should have had a special on gun control after the show urging hospitals to increase security, or on how viewers could help gun control in the US. Unfortunately, I think these types of episodes without discussion afterwards might instead, glorify mass shootings.
    Katherine Naylor

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