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Brooke Smith Fired From Grey's Anatomy

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Grey's Anatomy has officially cut ties with a female, outspoken, blonde doctor – and it's not Katherine Heigl. It's Brooke Smith. As in Dr. Erica Hahn.

As in half of Callica, Grey's Anatomy first-ever significant gay couple.

And that's only part of the story. According to Entertainment Weekly, this was not Shonda Rhimes' decision but rather an order that came down from the network.

An Intense Hahn

According to one Grey's Anatomy source, the suits at ABC "had issues" with both the explicit direction Callica was taking (think: undiscovered country, south of the border, etc.) and, more importantly, with the Erica Hahn character in general.

Basically, they didn't like her and wanted her gone ASAP.

But how soon? Follow the jump for Michael Ausiello's interview with Brooke Smith and a statement from Rhimes in response to this story at the end of the Q&A ...

EW: What the hell happened?!

Brooke Smith: I was very excited when they told me that Erica and Callie were going to have this relationship. And I really hoped we were going to show what happens when two women fall in love and that they were going to treat it like any heterosexual couple on TV. And so I was surprised and disappointed when they just suddenly told me that they couldn't write for my character anymore.

EW: That's all they said?

Brooke Smith: Yes. Frankly, it was you that warned me this might happen on the red carpet back in July. You said [sometimes networks get cold feet] with gay relationships. And I was so naive. I'm like, "It's 2008." But I'm starting to realize that not everyone feels the way I do. [Scroll down to watch our now-infamous exchange.]

EW: Did you get the feeling that the story was making people nervous?

Brooke Smith: No. At work I had no sense of it. And more fans seemed to like it than not. I don't think I'm ever going to know [why this really happened].

EW: When did you find out?

Brooke Smith: I found out in mid-September soon after shooting the monologue that aired last week where Erica has the revelation that she's gay. They even came down and told me it was a great scene -- one of the best they ever shot on the show. So I was really, really shocked. I was floored when they told me [I was being let go]. It was the last thing I expected. In fact, when they told me I asked, "When is this happening?" And they said, "The [next episode] is your last," which is the one that airs this Thursday. So it was very sudden.

EW: Wait a second – your last episode is this Thursday?

Brooke Smith: Yes.

EW: How are you written out?

Brooke Smith: I'm not written out. My final scene is just me heading to my car. I honestly don't know what happens in the next episode. I heard not much. [Quick sidebar: This sheds new light on Mary McDonnell's arrival next week as a top cardiac doc.]

EW: Who broke the news to you?

Brooke Smith: Shonda.

EW: I'm hearing that this wasn't her decision, but rather ABC's.

Brooke Smith: You know, I have to tell you, I got that feeling. I don't know for sure, but it definitely seemed like [Shonda Rhimes'] hands were tied. That was just my gut.

EW: Did she seem upset?

Brooke Smith: She did seem upset. I wasn't having a very good week that week. I was like, "Oh, God, what is it with this business?!" And she said, "No, no, no. You are such a great actress. We love you." It seemed like some decision came down from above. It didn't feel like it was her.

EW: What was Sara Ramirez's [Callie] reaction?

Brooke Smith: She was shocked. I'm the one who told her. It took her a few days to get back to me because she was surprised. It was surprising to everybody.

EW: Were you happy with the direction the story line was taking?

Brooke Smith: You know, I was starting to get there, yeah. I was personally a little impatient with the gay panic, but it was more Callie's thing anyway. I think Dr. Hahn was sort of figuring it out.

EW: What did you think about Callie and Mark and her getting pointers on exploring the "undiscovered country"?

Brooke Smith: It was a little icky. If you're a woman, don't you know how to please yourself? But they seemed to be okay with that one.

EW: How are you doing with all this?

Brooke Smith: It's actually never happened to me before. But I never had a moment where I thought I did something wrong. I was just really surprised. I just moved my entire family to L.A., so it was kind of like, "What?" But for some reason I feel like I'm fine. I feel like I'm going to be okay.

Shonda Rhimes' response to the matter:

"Brooke Smith was obviously not fired for playing a lesbian, Erica Hahn. Clearly it's not an issue as we have a lesbian character on the show – Calliope Torres. Sara Ramirez is an incredible comedic and dramatic actress and we wanted to be able to play up her magic. Unfortunately, we did not find that the magic and chemistry with Brooke's character would sustain in the long run. The impact of the Callie-Erica relationship will be felt and played out in a story for Callie. I believe it belittles the relationship to simply replace Erica with 'another lesbian.' If you'll remember, Cristina mourned the loss of Burke for a full season."

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Seriouslyaddicted2greys

It's been over day since i found out about all of this and I am STILL in shock... I want to go cry now.... =[

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OMG, wth?! they're gonna lose TONS of fans pulling cr@p like this. It's outrageous. I totally loved Erica, and I thought she and Callie had excellent chemistry! What on earth..?! Homophobia's not the message you wanna send, ABC ... they're deleting the new character's bisexual scenes, too. WTH is wrong with you, people?!

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i think when i first saw the article i was in disbelief. i cannot believe what they're doing!
how random was it!!!i thought erica's storyline was really building up and now she's gone (in like 2 days???)
i'm very disappointed because i kinda liked her...besides that whole being incredibly mean to cristina...but she was making soo much progress and her whole "i saw leaves" monolougue? wasn't that fantastic? and i love brooke smith!
so sad to see her go

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I am outraged at this news. Brooke has made Erica Hahn such a wonderful character, and I will be sad to say that my grey's obession has ended because of this. Personally, as a bisexual person myself, I find this downright wrong to the gay community. Finally we got a gay couple (main characters included) in the show, and now they have been torn from us.
I think this is wrong , and I really think something has to be done about it. This is homobphpobic and wrong. I thought we were past this. But I was wrong...
As for me, after Brooke is gone, I will no longer be watching grey's. I was a fan before brooke, but I became even more intrigued when she became part of the cast. This is a personal attack. Disney claims to be "gay friendly", but clearly, they are liars. This is an anbomination.

Mcnaughty30

wow! that's unbelievable why did just happened? did she do something wrong? i mean the character is great personally i don't really like her but its so cute when we i see callica together.. hope the ratings will not fall down and i just wish they have a good story line to replace this one...

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YAY! I HATE the lesbian storyline. It was gross and I am glad its over with. Just because one of the cast members is gay does not mean we should all have to be exposed to that lifestyle. Thank you ABC!

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o.O!!!
abc can't just fire people like that!! it's Shonda's show and she should be the one deciding!!
Even though I don't really like Callica as a couple, i still feel sorry for Brook.

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Good. This was a terrible storyline. WAY too forced...and it showed. Good for ABC.

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I have been a fan of GA from the beginning. I'm glad the character was written off the show. Dr. Hahn was not soemone you loved to hate. You justed hated her. I wish the actress that portrayed the character well in her future endeavors, but I do not care to witness homosexual acts. I was beginning to lose interest.

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I just want to remind everyone that Brooke Smith and Sara Ramirez are ACTRESSES. When Callie and Erica are awkward or whatever on the show, that is due to good ACTING on the part of Brooke and Sara. Let's be honest - the process of accepting oneself as gay is not all smiles. It takes a lot to overcome the questioning, the panic, the fear of the future. Of course there was going to be awkwardness. It's not like each lesbian just wakes up one day and says to herself "I'm gay and it's allllllllll good." That doesn't happen. So, to all of you who think that there is no chemistry between Callie and Erica, think about this: it's because the characters haven't had the chance to be anything but awkward. These phenomenal actresses are just acting out the scenes the way they are being told to by the writers and producers. And to those of you who think that Erica Hahn was just a hard ass, emotionless bitch, consider the fact that Brooke was ACTING. If the writers truly wanted her to be a different character, they could have changed her - Erica Hahn is a FICTIONAL character. And rather than just firing Brooke, they should have gone down another road with her character. But please people, let's not hate on the actresses themselves - Brooke and Sara are both fantastic and deserve a lot of praise for how realistically they portrayed their characters during the emotional rollercoaster that was Callica.