The Season 18 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy revealed the answer to those “someone from Meredith’s past comes back” promos ABC had been teasing the past few weeks, as Scott Speedman returned to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
Speedman, who had a memorable guest spot in Season 14 as transplant surgeon Dr. Nick Marsh, has joined the 18th season as a series regular. In Thursday’s premiere, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) bumped into Nick during a trip to Minnesota, where she was attending the dedication of a research library to her late mother. The pair later shared a drink at a hotel, showing off some potential romantic chemistry.
Fans had previously hoped to see Speedman join the show permanently after his Season 14 guest appearance; however, the timing never worked out. “To be totally honest, the last time wasn’t the right time,” the Animal Kingdom star told Deadline. “I haven’t done a show since the last show I did. I think a lot of people love that schedule, and I really do, too, but I was wanting to do other things.”
Luckily for Grey’s viewers, this time around, the stars aligned. “You put something in the back of your mind when you do have chemistry with somebody, and you do enjoy the work experience, because that’s rare, actually,” Speedman continued. “So, when this opportunity came around, I was trying to think of why not to do it, and I couldn’t come up with any reasons.”
He added: “It was a great show, really fun people, and it just felt the right timing for me. I wanted to jump in, and then, when I heard what the storyline could be, that was exciting to me.”
In terms of keeping Speedman’s return a secret, Grey’s showrunner Krista Vernoff told Deadline that she went to the same lengths she did last season when keeping Patrick Dempsey‘s return hidden. “Fake character names, fake scenes at table reads, dailies not released, cuts with omitted scenes,” she said. “We wanted to give fans the thrill of surprise one more time.”
Grey’s Anatomy, Season 18, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC