Call him the Comeback McKidd.
After seeing his unsung turn in last season's underappreciated Journeyman get cut short, Scotsman Kevin McKidd got snatched up by Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Owen Hunt.
A somewhat shell-shocked Iraq war veteran, Hunt has rocked Cristina Yang's world and demonstrated to McDreamy and McSteamy that there's a new doctor in town.
He's just getting started. McKidd spoke with TV Guide about what's up next for Hunt, and reflected a bit on time-tripping newsman Dan Vasser's truncated journey.
Q: Congratulations on being promoted to a regular on Grey's Anatomy.
Kevin McKidd: Oh, thank you very much. I'm very pleased and excited.
Q: Was it originally presented to you that Owen would be introduced in the Season Five premiere, disappear for a bit, and then return a rather different man?
Kevin McKidd: Yes, that was always intended, to let some time pass and reintroduce him with a new slant on things.
Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt (left), with Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev.
Q: It showed us who he can be - and then ripped that away from us.
Kevin McKidd: Yes, that was who he really is in the premiere, but now we're seeing what can happen to a good man, a good soldier and good surgeon [because of war].
Q: Is it post-traumatic stress disorder per se that he is suffering from?
Kevin McKidd: Throughout this season, that's one of the questions he will be asking. To answer it, he'll seek some help from the people around him.Q: He's wondering what might it take for him to return to his former self.
Kevin McKidd: Exactly. What's exciting about telling this story with this character is that it's quite brave of ABC and [Grey's creator] Shonda [Rhimes], on a prime-time network TV show, to address a tough subject, and one that people don't necessarily want to hear about. But so far the writing room is handling it beautifully. They're not banging people over the head with it but exploring it in a sensitive and interesting way.
Q: Do you feel like you hit the leading lady lottery with Sandra Oh? She's one of the good ones, you know.
Kevin McKidd: I can't talk kindly enough about her. From the first time I met her, I thought she was great. Everybody on the cast is fantastic, but I feel very blessed that I get to work with such a good actress. She's in her fifth year, and she's still very committed to the work. There's no real "recipe" - you can't say, "If we put this person with that person in this movie or TV series it will work" - but so far with Sandra and I, something is gelling.
Q: Might Owen and Cristina's spontaneous, intermittent kisses evolve into something more, physical or emotional?
Kevin McKidd: Well, at the end of the day this is Grey's Anatomy. [Laughs] I think you can bet good money on it.
Q: Do you see Owen forming any specific relationships with other characters? Things started off prickly with Derek and Mark, but they seem headed toward a place of professional respect.
Kevin McKidd: He and Cristina have a very long journey, and he realizes that whatever this thing between them is, it's affecting his work, his sleep, everything. So he reaches out for help, and that will connect him with people like Derek and Mark. It's not just the typical formula of guys butting heads. There is that story to tell, but also the more interesting story of professional men connecting at an adult level.
Q: The Grey's Anatomy set had that recent brouhaha when Brooke Smith (Dr. Erica Hahn) was released from the show. Had any cast mate proactively pulled you aside and said, "Things can get a little crazy here"?
Kevin McKidd: [Laughs] No, nobody took me aside. I know it all seems all very dramatic, but it doesn't feel dramatic there at work.
Q: But the show does tend to be a lightning rod for controversy.
Kevin McKidd: Right, right. I guess that's a blessing and a curse, depending on how you see it.
Q: Was it pure coincidence that you found yourself again working with Patrick Dempsey, with whom you had just done the film Made of Honor? Or had he put a bug in Shonda's ear to check you out?
Kevin McKidd: It's funny - my first day on set, I said to Patrick, "Listen, did you have anything to do with this?" He was like, "Absolutely not."
Q: After a slow start last year, Journeyman was just hitting its stride when the writers strike came. Were it not for that interruption, might the show have been saved?
Kevin McKidd: I don't know. On the one hand, what could have happened to us is what just happened to My Own Worst Enemy - because of the impeding strike, there wasn't anything in the works to replace us, so maybe we would have gone earlier? But with absolutely zero promotional monies spent, we actually started to kick up toward Episode 6 or 7 of the [first] 13.
Q: Yeah, that's when the critics and fans really started warming to the show.
Kevin McKidd: But we might not have gotten that chance, had there not been a strike. It's so random - like in Journeyman, one small event can knock everything else out of whack.
Q: Do you know any small secret from the show's mythology that never had a chance to be revealed?
Kevin McKidd: You think that each episode was just a procedural story with somebody that Dan helped. But all of these people had been specifically chosen by whatever power was at play to be knocked into their correct paths so they can all be at a certain place in their life when Dan's son, Zach, is revealed to have his own certain power. Each one of these people needed to be in a certain place, in government or research or whatever, to come back and help the boy achieve something of global significance. I thought that was very interesting.