'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Station 19' honor first responders during pandemic in crossover premieres

NEW YORK -- "Grey's Anatomy" and "Station 19" are fictional series that take place in Seattle, and both incorporate the ongoing pandemic into their storylines for a crossover event premiere.

"Station 19" is a spin-off of the original show, which is starting its 17th season.

But both new and old have long held up a mirror to the world in which we live, so it's no surprise that both shows reflect our new normal.

"We just couldn't really drop the ball on the opportunity to pay tribute to the frontline workers," said Kelly McCreary, from the cast of "Grey's Anatomy." "(We) have the privilege to pretend to be them on television."

As their characters adjust, so do performers -- like "Station 19's" Jaina Lee Ortiz.

"The culture of the set changes completely," she said. "We're very much like a family, and to not be able to hug and have that human contact every single day, it kind of affects the energy of the set."

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Co-star Boris Kodjoe agreed that it's a different environment.

"People have to wear masks and face shields all the time, except when you're in front of the camera," he said. "Then you take them off or depending on what the script says, maybe you wear your mask."

All of the precautions and PPE often require actors to connect using only their eyes.

"That is definitely a challenge on top of all the safety protocols," Ortiz said.

And those sexy scenes the fans love pose a challenge for the writers of both shows.

"They're having to get more creative about what does intimacy look and feel like?" McCreary said. "What are the different ways besides touching all the time?"

Still, each of the performers said they're grateful to be working.

"Obviously it's a very dark and depressing time," Ortiz said. "But I feel like we're able to find the joy and the lightness out of it and create something magical for our audiences."
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