Watch ten seasons of Grey's Anatomy back-to-back in one month and one thing becomes shockingly clear: Shonda Rhimes, executive producer of Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder, uses the same actors over and over again. American Horror Story is known for using the same ensemble cast each season, but Ms. Rhimes has been quietly building an army of loyal actors for the past ten years. (She's also been using the same casting director, Linda Lowy, which surely has something to do with it.) Let's take a look at where some of her most frequently used actors overlap.
Mouse over each face for detailed information:
Some standouts not included in the graphic:
Kate Burton and Jeff Perry
Before they were adversarial political scream factories on Scandal, they were Meredith Grey's adversarial parents.
The diabolical Hollis Doyle on Scandal was once an ornery doctor on Grey's Anatomy.
The man who pulled a fast one on Olivia by insinuating the American government was spying on its own people (Scandal Season 2 Episode 3) was once just a man with a paralyzing parasite (Grey's Anatomy Season 8 Episode 23).
Played Dr. Shachter in the post-plane crash flashback episode of Grey's Anatomy episode (Season 9 Episode 2) as well as a lawyer on the HTGAWM episode where Asher found out his father was corrupt enough to send an innocent man to death row (Season 1 Episode 6). He was also Randee of the Redwoods, the hippie in a ton of MTV commercials when I was growing up, making all of his serious actor stuff a little more surreal for me.
Before he played the lying, cheating, very dead Sam Keating on HTGAWM, he was laid up in Seattle Grace (Season 5 Episode 7). Verica is also the co-executive producer of Scandal, and has directed more than 40 episodes of Shondaland TV.
And: If you want to take the red pill and do a deep dive, the chart below shows you how many actors are part of the ensemble overall — most have only been on two Shondaland shows. Can you believe Lane from Gilmore Girls (Keiko Agena), Billy Riggins from Friday Night Lights (Derek Phillips), and the grapes from the old Fruit of the Loom commercials (Wayne Wilderson) are all part of the Shondaverse?
There are 194 actors total — including 184 who were on both Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, 5 who were on Private Practice and How To Get Away With Murder, 58 who were on Scandal and Private Practice, and 2 VIPs who have been on all four shows.
Fusion, btw, is a joint venture of ABC and Univision.
Images via ABC.
Danielle Henderson is a lapsed academic, heavy metal karaoke machine, and culture editor at Fusion. She enjoys thinking about how race, gender, and sexuality shape our cultural narratives, but not in a boring way.