We were ecstatic when the Powers That Be at ABC renewed Grey's Anatomy for the milestone Season 10. However, we were heartbroken to learn Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) will be leaving the series after its landmark tenth season. Will Grey's Anatomy Season 10 be the end? Or, perhaps more importantly, should it be?
The original cast's contracts run out at the end of the season, as does Sara Ramirez's, and since we already know Sandra won't be renewing her contract, we have to wonder if any of the other original cast members will be following in her footsteps. The contracts originally came to a close at the end of Season 8, and even then there were rumors that some of the big stars wanted out, and/or were demanding too much money to stay. Obviously, everything worked out back then, but that doesn't bode particularly well for contract renewals in the future.
Back in July, Patrick Dempsey seemed to diss the show at the 2013 Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills, saying he's not "necessarily bored with the show," but "you're exhausted...telling the same story over and over." He later clarified that he loves doing the show. Both he and Ellen Pompeo remained vague when asked about what they're going to do at the end of the season recently, though their general outlook seemed positive. Sara Ramirez has also failed to make a commitment either way so far, at least to the press.
We do know that co-showrunners and executive producers Tony Phelan and Joan Rater are departing the show after this season, heading to CBS for a development deal. Though creator Shonda Rhimes will still be running the writers' room, losing two people who have been there for eight seasons leaves a huge gap.
That being said, there are still plenty of positives that hint at the show going on longer. Star Sarah Drew says she wishes the show will stay on air forever, and despite his vagueness so far, Patrick said earlier this year that if people keeping watching the show, the cast and crew will keep making new seasons.
While 10 seasons is far more than most TV shows get, a medical drama lasting longer than that is not unprecedented. Most notably, the legendary ER lasted a whopping 15 seasons, surviving many cast changes. Grey's continues to get relatively strong ratings this season, so we don't see why it can't keep going, with or without the original cast members.
However, there is something to be said for ending the show on a high note, and knowing ahead of time that a certain season is the last often allows writers to create something great (look no further than Breaking Bad's incredible final season this summer for proof). Maybe Shonda — who has plenty of other projects on her plate, including smash hit Scandal — should decide ahead of time that Season 10 will be the show's last hurrah. That would allow her to wrap the beloved show up with the thought and grace it deserves.
Catch the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday, February 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC!