Chandra Wilson Reflects on Grey's Anatomy Season Finale, Ponders Future

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Chandra Wilson is a perennial Emmy Award nominee for her role as Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy, and anyone who's watched the show can appreciate why.

In a new interview with EW, the actress reflects on the season that was (including the chilling, gut-wrenching finale) and the Grey's Anatomy season(s) to come.

Q: How did you prepare for the freak-out scene [in the finale]?

Chandra Wilson: My goodness. It was one of those things where the situation was so incredibly sad, pounding on things, lashing out - all of that goes against my personality.

Just being in that position - the richness of where the characters were - was all I needed.

Q: Did it leave you emotionally drained?

Doctor Bailey Photo

Chandra Wilson: Actually I was really energized after that. I just felt like everything was in the right place. We were doing exactly what we needed to be doing at that point in time. Everything led up to that - and then there was still work to do afterwards.

When you have that feeling that you’re in the right place it gives you energy as an actor. It would have been more draining if I had been pulling from something personal, from my own childhood. But because it was what was happening in the show it made it okay.

Q: How do you think this experience will change Bailey?

Chandra Wilson: I was asking that same question: “Where does she go?” I think that George’s death last year stunned her in a way that she had to decide to keep functioning and try not to get emotional or emotionally involved with her co-workers.

But for me, the image that never went away was that the barrel of the gun was in her face.

Normally if there’s blood and someone is shot you go into doctor-mode. But she could never get the image of that gun out of her head long enough to do her Dr. Bailey thing.

It’ll be interesting to see if that kind of fear still lives with her.

Q: Shonda Rhimes originally planned to have Bailey get shot, but she couldn’t go through with it.

Chandra Wilson: I heard about that after the fact and I was like, “Wow.” [Laughs] I don’t know what that would’ve been like to get hurt - for Bailey or for me personally. Because just looking at the barrel of the gun was too much for me.

Q: Your onscreen love interest, Jason George, is starring in Rhimes’ new medical drama Off the Map, which probably means no happy ending for Bailey and Ben.

Chandra Wilson: I honestly don’t know what that means. I don’t know what’s going to happen to that relationship. There could be a happy ending we don’t know anything about. [Map] is a midseason show, so there will be [time] for him to [work on Grey's].

First Kiss Alert!

Q: Was it fun to play a flirtatious, sexual Bailey?

Chandra Wilson: It was certainly out of Bailey’s comfort zone. And for me as an actor it was scary to step outside of what you’re used to and try something new.

Q: What are you doing over your hiatus?

Chandra Wilson: I’m actually having a hiatus. [Laughs] I forget to do that sometimes. So this year I said I wasn’t going to worry about whether they ask me back next season. I’m just going to sit down and take a break. I’m going to be a mom and go to a PTA meeting.

Q: Did you receive your official pickup letter from ABC?

Chandra Wilson: I did. Last week. I was like, “That took long enough!” [Laughs]

Q: Did you really have anxiety about that?

Chandra Wilson: It’s not even anxiety. It’s just the reality of what we do. I never get so uncomfortable that I ever forget that. What we do as actors is really about decisions that get made in rooms with desks. And people change their minds all the time about things.

Or get brilliant ideas like, “Hey, I think Bailey should die this year! It’ll be a 10-episode arc and everybody will cry!” [Laughs] You have absolutely no control over that as an actor. So you have to make the most of it and you learn as much as you can.

Q: We hear so much about actors wanting to leave Grey’s Anatomy. It’s refreshing to hear from someone who actually wants to stay.

Chandra Wilson: I don’t understand it at all. [Laughs] It’s a little cliché to say this, but a job like this is difficult to come by.

There’s always something else to learn.

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


@ JDC. I really am hoping EP changes her mind about leaving after season 8, or I will definetly be okay if GA end after s8 or Patrick and Ellen leave together. Meredith Grey is the heart of the show, the center of everything, and MD are the core couple, have been since the very first second of the show, how it can continue if EP leave?


As long as Bailey stays on the show, I'm happy. :D


Screamie Bailey didn't work for me in the finale. To tell the truth, I had been tiring of her lecturing/snappy style in latter epis - just seemed a bit overdone/stale. I do agree however that she and chief are the quiet anchors - emphasis on QUIET (Bailey that is)would be nice. I didn't know Ellen wanted out (watch this space no doubt??).


I think Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, and Chandra Wilson are the best actors I've seen in a television series in awhile. I've watched my fair share of television too. The only thing I really don't understand (not to sound selfish), is why Ellen Pompeo wants to leave. Patrick Dempsey and Chandra Wilson are proof that they can have families and work those hours. I don't understand why Ellen wants to give that up. Like all the actors (excluding Pompeo), a job like theirs is hard to come by. Most of the actors will not have another opportunity like they are getting now. I don't mind Grey's ending after season 8 for the reasons Dempsey said. I just wish I could understand why Pompeo wants to leave so bad, yet the rest of the cast loves their jobs. Maybe she isn't an actress at heart? Regardless, she is still talented and the chemistry between her and Dempsey is extraordinary. I haven't seen that great of chemistry in a long time between two actors. At least in a television series.


omg im from australia and we just watched the finale last night!! it was intense, dramatic and quite shocking at times but the entirety of the episode was pure brilliantness!!
chandra wilson's performance as bailey particularly stood out, and she showed the emotional side of bailey that not only do we rarely see, but this time it was taken to a whole new level and there were no flaws at all.
every character stood out fantastically, and id definitely say that this was the BEST finale ever! chandra stood out definitely, and i congratulate her on that :)


Bailey rocks most of the time, even though her performance in the finale didn't blow me away, it was an okay performance in my opinion. It was an emotional but I didn't feel sorry for Bailey or felt her pain or frustration. When an actor makes me feel what the character is feeling then the actor did an excellent job. Unfortunately in the finale Chandra didn't made feel Bailey's feelings at all. But other times Chandra rocks her scenes, like in the premiere when she was talking in the elevator with Derek or when Bailey's son got hurt and so many others.


Shonda's word, Meredith Grey is the heart of the show, but Bailey is the soul. A show without its heart or its soul would suck big time. Bailey and Meredith are essential for this show, otherwise this show would not be the Grey's we the audience fell in love with.


I thought it so cool. I watched a part of the show philadelphia today and I heard a voice that I knew and when they showed that person. It was Chandra Wilson when she was very young.


@Marina, Can we seriously get to appoint where complimenting a Grey’s Anatomy actor/actress doesn’t lead to a comparative game of who is more loyal and talented. All those actors inclusive of Katherine Heigl, Isaiah Washington and TR Knightley have played a huge role in making the show what it is. All of them have their fair share of supporters and haters. They are all talented guys who give their best to Shonda Rhimes for her to be able to produce her show. I doubt anyone knows how falls or pretentious those guys are. I doubt even the so called grey’s sources who leak info to the media can say that. All of those guys in my view are irreplaceable. If they were Shonda would have easily got another actor to play Burke, Izzie or George. She did not, because she knows each of those actors on her show have something special they add to the show. But none of them as individuals are epitome of the show. They as a collective work as individuals there would be a knock felt but don’t think it would be the end of Grey’s. When it comes to Emmy voting, Grey’s has passed its sell by date but Sandra and Chandra will get on those ballots because they are the safe bet. They have a history with the voters. That doesn’t mean other actresses are less talented, it’s just they never got the nod or the storylines that brought them the chance to get a nod when Grey’s Anatomy was the goose that laid the golden egg in the television industry. For both to walk away with an Emmy to me seems highly unlikely considering there are shows with great writing and less backstage drama getting nominated.


Bailey, as Shonda Rhimes herself said is the Soul of Grey's... and She is an Emmy Worthy performer! Seriously!It's time that she or Sandra Oh gets an Emmy! :)

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

Burke was- He took something from me. He took little pieces of me, little pieces over time, so small I didn't even notice, you know? He wanted me to be something I wasn't, and I made myself into what he wanted. One day I was me Cristina Yang, and then suddenly I was lying for him, and jeopardizing my career, and agreeing to be married and wearing a ring, and being a bride. Until I was standing there in a wedding dress with no eyebrows, and I wasn't Cristina Yang anymore. And even then, I would've married him. I would have. I lost myself for a long time. And now that I'm finally me again, I can't. I love you. I love you more than I loved Burke. I love you. And that scares the crap out of me because when you asked me to ignore Teddy's page, you took a piece of me, and I let you. And that will never happen again.