One Grey's Anatomy Death Still Shocks New Viewers

One Grey's Anatomy Death Still Shocks New Viewers
Image credit: ABC

The key is the element of surprise.


  • Throughout its long run, Grey's Anatomy has featured many deaths of patients and doctors.
  • Usually, it is the doctors' deaths that shake the fans the most and end up in numerous discussions.
  • That's why new viewers come prepared for the most devastating scenes.
  • But there's at least one brief moment in Season 6 that comes out of the blue and startles everyone.

Over its long 20-season history, Grey's Anatomy has killed off many characters. When we say 'many,' we mean an appalling number of patients and doctors. Without a doubt, shock value, tragedy and death have become the ABC medical drama's unique selling point.

The BMJ Journals once analyzed the series and concluded that the mortality rate in the fictional Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital was three times higher than in real life (22% vs. 7%). Not a place you want to end up with any kind of illness, right?

Well, jokes aside, without all the tragedy and loss shown on screen, Grey's Anatomy would not be the hugely successful series it has been for 20 years. The life and death situations trigger our inner fears and keep us glued to the screen. Especially when these situations come out of the blue.

Emotional Impact

Naturally, the deaths of the patients outnumber those of the residents of Grey Sloan Memorial. However, it is the latter that usually has more impact on the viewer. The horrific endings of George O'Malley's or Derek Shepherd's arcs always make the top lists of the most devastating scenes on Grey's Anatomy. But there's one death that continues to shock new viewers to this day.

George and Derek's fates have become part of modern pop culture. They are mentioned in so many social media posts and articles that every new viewer comes to the show prepared for them (if you can be prepared for them at all). But there is one scene that rarely comes up in fan discussions, and therefore startles anyone watching Season 6 for the first time.

Unexpected Horror

The scene in question comes in the two-part Season 6 finale titled Sanctuary and Death and All His Friends, written by Shonda Rhimes. The main plot revolves around the revenge of Gary Clark, the husband of a former Grey Sloan Memorial patient who died in the hospital in the previous episodes.

Gary is sure that the doctors are to blame for his wife's death and storms into the hospital with a gun, targeting Derek, who is the Chief of Surgery at the time. He gets lost in the corridors and wanders into a supply closet where he meets Dr. Reed Adamson, a new surgical resident.

When Reed refuses to direct Gary to Derek's office, insisting she has a patient to attend to, the man snaps. In a split second, he shoots Reed in the head, leaving her dead on the floor with a gruesome gunshot wound to the forehead. To make the moment even more horrifying, Reed's dead face is shown for a few long seconds, and later Dr. April Kepner tips over her body and falls into the pool of blood.

This scene continues to shake up Grey's Anatomy viewers not only because the death feels so random, but also because Gary seems like a perfectly normal, sane man before his grief sends him on a shooting spree. The shot that kills Reed is the first of many Gary fires that day. He injures several main characters (including Derek) and kills another resident before being taken down by the SWAT team.

Source: BMJ Journals.

Would you say Reed Adamson's death was the most shocking moment on Grey's Anatomy?