It’s a sad day at Grey Sloan Memorial because we have to say goodbye to two of the show’s more senior characters. After spending nine years each as Dr. Arizona Robbins and Dr. April Kepner, respectively, actors Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew will be leaving Grey’s Anatomy at the end of Season 14. It will likely be a bit of a shock to fans of the show, who have spent years watching Arizona and April go through dramatic event after dramatic event only to come out stronger on the other side. But sadly, their time has come; it’s time to say goodbye.
According to Deadline, Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff made it clear there was no internal drama or dissatisfaction with either Capshaw or Drew. Rather, the decision was made simply because it was time for these characters to be written out as part of the overall direction of the show.
“The characters of Arizona and April are permanently woven into the fabric of Grey’s Anatomy thanks to the extraordinary work of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew,” Vernoff explained to Deadline. “As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.”
The importance of the inclusion of Arizona and April on Grey’s Anatomy cannot be understated. Through Arizona, Grey’s Anatomy was able to more meaningfully explore LGBTQ issues. Meanwhile, April’s strong Christian faith allowed the show to explore intersections between faith and science in very interesting ways. Never mind the fact that April and Arizona are two beloved female leads.
Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes expressed her sadness at the thought of saying goodbye to Arizona and April to Deadline. “It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters,” Rhimes notes. “Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV. I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performance and for inspiring women around the globe. They will always be a part of our Shondaland family.”
There’s no word yet on how exactly Arizona and April will be written out of the show. While Grey’s Anatomy has been known to write off some of its most beloved characters in gruesome ways, let’s hope that in the case of these two amazing female characters, they get a more pleasant send-off.