Coronavirus: “Grey’s Anatomy”, “The Resident”, “Hippocrates”… How Medical Series tackle the Epidemic

Doctors Gray and Webber called to the coronavirus crisis emergency room

FICTION: Between visionary intrigue, donation of material and author who puts on the white coat, medical series have never blurred the border in fiction and reality as much as with the coronavirus crisis

  • The medical series are impacted by the coronavirus epidemic.
  • While filming has stopped, some hospital series had anticipated the pandemic in their scenarios.
  • The director of Hippocrates put on his doctor’s coat to participate in the effort.

With each episode of Grey’s Anatomy, The Red Bracelets, The Resident, New Amsterdam or Good Doctor, the same question: but how the medical series will treat the coronavirus crisis, while doctors, nurses and nurses are at the front to fight against the epidemic and that the hospital is today the most political place on television. What if they had already started, more or less directly?

End of filming, the start of donations

Like all Hollywood, the medical series suffered the brunt of the coronavirus with the cessation of filming. Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy will thus end prematurely with episode 21, out of the 25 planned, and in the absence of doubled episodes, TF1 will interrupt the broadcast of this same season to launch, as of Wednesday, April 22, another medical series, The Resident, already on Warner TV and, too, unmissable. As a sign of solidarity, all these shows have also donated their medical equipment (gowns, gloves, masks, etc.) to local hospitals and fire stations.

Thomas Lilti puts on the white blouse

Also hit by the health crisis, the French series Hippocrates had to suspend the filming of season 2 for Canal +, and its creator and director Thomas Lilti then took a decision as radical as salutary: he put on his white doctor’s coat. “After a few days, the question arose of knowing what I should do,” he tells the Inrocks. The Hippocratic Oath is something I have experienced. And all of a sudden, I switched to something else: a return to my first job. I was filming a season of series in a hospital, with nursing staff and the main theme around suffering at work. We told the Covid before, that is to say, the state of the public hospital before the arrival of the virus … What I keep saying through my work, in a modest way, this idea that the hospital is in bad shape, it took the current disaster for everyone to see it. 

For the director of the film and of the series  Hippocrates, the border between reality and fiction is even more blurred: “Everything is mixed, and I can no longer make too much of it, especially as the hospital where I went back to practising medicine is also the one in which I turned a few days before. Basically, I work in the building next door. I am the real doctor, while I was doing the moron since January to film fake medicine. ”

Fiction catches up with and doubles reality

The medical series had already shown their committed, inclusive and even avant-garde character on certain social and health issues, like the victims of sexual violence in Grey’s Anatomy or the  “Implant Files” in The Resident. The latter continues to play the visionaries with the coronavirus. Without spoiler, a plot of season 3 stages a super bacteria which threatens to contaminate the whole hospital. The term coronavirus is even pronounced during a scene, so much so that the FOX chain took the precaution of putting a warning card to explain that if the episode found an echo with the current crisis, it was a coincidence, its conception going back several months already.

That’s not all … Another proof that fiction catches up with, or even precedes, reality, New Amsterdam had to reschedule its episode of April 7 on the American channel NBC. His title? Pandemic. Oh yeah. As a reminder, the series led by Ryan Eggold takes place in a public hospital in New York, becoming a hotbed of the coronavirus epidemic. The episode revolved around an influenza pandemic, but it was already too much, too close to reality. “I’m a fiction writer, commented his showrunner David SchulnerBut, if I may say so, the world needs a lot less fiction and a lot more information right now. Several members of the team have also tested positive for Covid-19, including actor Daniel Dae Kim who was to debut a guest in the series with this episode. A game of vertiginous mirrors and screens, and a thought for all the real D. Grey, Goodwin, Hawkins…

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