Every episode shares the name with a song title by a popular artist. Several are named after The Beatles and R.E.M. songs.
The character Alex Karev was not in the original pilot script. His role was inserted into the pilot as an afterthought, in order to provide a foil, as well as male companionship for Dr. George O'Malley. Since he wasn't added until after the pilot was shot, scenes with him were either re-shoots or digitally altered.
Ellen Pompeo has stated in an interview that Shonda Rhimes originally wanted to pair up her character with Isaiah Washington's because she wanted an interracial couple on the show. However, Pompeo preferred Patrick Dempsey, because in real-life, she is in an interracial relationship, and thus being paired up with Washington felt too close to home.
Shonda Rhimes said on an interview that she had a clear idea for the show's end, but its success kept growing to the point that her ending was no longer proper, so she decided to use the idea on a storyline and come up with another ending.
Kate Walsh's character, Addison Shepherd, was only supposed to appear in five episodes, but Addison quickly developed a fan base, so they kept Walsh on the show.
The show's title is a reference to the famous anatomy book "Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body" by Henry Gray.
Patrick Dempsey auditioned for the role of Dr. Gregory House on House (2004), before taking the role of Dr. Shepherd.
Chyler Leigh (Dr. Lexie Grey) was pregnant with her third child during season five.
Miranda Bailey was the only role written with a character description: "tiny blonde with curls."
As is common for major television and film productions, stars of the show have become famous in roles other than those they originally sought. Sandra Oh was initially looking to audition for the part of Dr. Bailey. On The Oprah Winfrey Show (1984), Isaiah Washington (Dr. Burke) said that he had auditioned to play the role of Dr. Shepherd.
In an early episode, Meredith is seen posting a poster asking for a roommate. The poster is only visible for a second, but it mentions that "Bush supporters need not apply" along with other details about the house.
In order to keep the plot and storylines secret, the main characters' names are changed in auditions.
T.R. Knight was asked to appear in flashback scenes during season six, but he refused, preferring to pursue other projects.
The name "Dr. Mark Sloan" is a reference to Dick Van Dyke's character, by the same name, in the television show Diagnosis Murder (1993).
Similarities between Katherine Heigl's characters in Roswell (1999) and Grey's Anatomy (2005): in each, her character, Isabel/Isobel, has a pivotal scene in a pink, strapless gown, has a love interest named Alex, sees, talks to, and dances with a dead lover.
Rob Lowe was originally considered for the role of Derek Shepherd, but passed on it.
The first person to refer to Dr. Sloan as "McSteamy" was Meredith. However, Meredith was not the first character in the show to use the term "McSteamy" in general. Nurse Tyler was the first to say it, instead of "McDreamy", as he most likely misheard.
The producers of Grey's Anatomy (2005) released a novel in 2006 depicting the lives and happenings of two bit-part characters; Joe the Bartender and Nurse Debbie. The book is double-sided, written in blog and IM form, while gossiping on the actions of the Grey's characters. The events discussed, give background information for Joe and Debbie themselves, and give insight on the events and cases the doctors deal with on the show.
Original cast member Katherine Heigl was released from her contract during season six. She appeared in some episodes of the season, and then took time off to be with her family. She was supposed to come back for the season finale, although this never happened, and her last episode was Grey's Anatomy: I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked (2010).
Justin Chambers (Dr. Alex Karev) and Camilla Luddington (Dr. Jo Wilson) have a thirteen year age difference.
Hilarie Burton (Dr. Lauren Boswell) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny Duquette) are a real-life couple. They both played parts in Grey's Anatomy (2005), but not in the same season.
Katherine Heigl dropped herself out of Emmy consideration in 2008, because she felt that she wasn't given the material that would warrant a nomination.
As of 2016, this is the last broadcast network television series to win the Golden Globe for Best Television Series Drama.
Sandra Oh received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Dr. Cristina Yang, which included a Golden Globe win, a Screen Actor's Guild Award win, and 5 consecutive Emmy nominations.
An article in a 2014 issue of the scholarly journal Communication Research reported on the results of several studies that all found that being a regular viewer of Grey's Anatomy (2005) correlated with having much more strongly negative attitudes toward organ donation than non-viewers. The article said, in part: "Of the medical dramas examined for depicting organ donation myths, perhaps no program features as many inaccuracies as Grey's Anatomy (2005) (see Morgan et al., 2007; Morgan et al., 2010; Morgan, Movius, & Cody, 2009; Quick, 2009). Unfortunately, the impact of these inaccurate media portrayals results in misguided societal beliefs about organ donation (Morgan et al., 2010) and often surface as reasons for declining to register to be organ donors (Morgan et al., 2005)."
Many actors and actresses that have appeared in Grey's Anatomy (2005) have gone on to play roles in Scandal (2012), one of Shonda Rhimes' other shows. They include Scott Foley (Henry Burton), Kate Burton (Dr. Ellis Grey), Jeff Perry (Thatcher Grey), Robert Baker (Dr. Charles Percy), and Amanda Fuller (Dr. Morgan Peterson). Moreover, Kelly McCreary (Dr. Maggie Pierce) appeared in two episodes of Scandal (2012) before appearing in Grey's Anatomy (2005). Bellamy Young, (Mellie Grant on Scandal, season 3 episode 23 of Grey's Anatomy, Katie Lowes (Quinn Perkins on Scandal, on season 7 of Grey's Anatomy, briefly as a OR patient )Finally, Valerie Cruz guest appeared in both series.
Meredith comments during one of her voiceovers that ORs used to be called "theaters". In the UK, they still are.
Kevin McKidd (Dr. Owen Hunt) and Jessica Capshaw (Dr. Arizona Robbins) share the same birthday, August 9th, but they are three years apart.
Taylor Swift is a big fan of the show. She even named one of her cats Meredith Grey, after the main character.
The Inuit doll that frequently appears in episodes, is named Ipecac. Ipecac is featured in an Easter Egg in the Season One DVD Bonus Features, where the cast and crew discuss the doll, its name, origins, and a plot to kidnap it.
Sadie and Meredith referred to each other as Die and Death, which is a play on their names - saDIE and mereDEATH.
Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) and Lizzie Shepherd (Neve Campbell), who are brother and sister on the show, also starred together in Scream 3 (2000).
Jeff Perry and Laurie Metcalfe, who were married and are now divorced, both guest starred in season two, episode 22, without sharing any scenes.
In the first episode featuring Dr. Arizona Robbins, she and Alex Karev get on a plane to harvest organs. Arizona says that she hates flying, because it makes her feel closer to death.
Marika Domininczyk , who plays Eliza Minnick, is married to Scott Foley, Henry Burton.
Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd), Eric Dane (Mark Sloan), and Hector Elizondo (Carlos Torres) all previously starred in Valentine's Day (2010).
Richard and Adele had their first dance to the song "Funny Valentine". Loretta Devine, who plays Adele Webber, starred in Funny Valentines (1999).
Jessica Capshaw (Arizona Robbins) at the beginning wanted that her character's love interest was Justin Chambers (Alex Karev)
Kate Walsh (Addison Mongomery) and Caterina Scorsone (Amelia Shepperd) have both been main characters on this show and Private Practice (2007).
My So-Called Life (1994), whose protagonist was named Angela Chase, was an ABC show, just like Grey's Anatomy (2005). Three of the stars of My So-Called Life (1994) have made memorable appearances on Grey's Anatomy (2005): Wilson Cruz played a gay teen, who was one of Angela's best friends, Ricky Vasquez made a guest appearance as Kyle, a gay man in 2011; Tom Irwin, who starred as Angela's father, Graham Chase, appeared three times as Police Commander Marty Hancock, who assisted Seattle Grace during one of its most crucial crises in 2010/11; and, Jeff Perry, who played Angela's teacher, Richard Katimski, was featured as Thatcher Grey, the father of Meredith, from 2006-2011.
All of the original series cast (exc. Justin Chambers and James Pickens Jr.) received at least one nomination for a major award. Most of them even won their category, including Chandra Wilson (SAG), Sandra Oh (SAG, Golden Globe), and Katherine Heigl (Emmy).
Derek talks about his love of ferry boats. On his cap he always wears in surgery, it has ferry boats on it.
Justin Chambers (Dr. Alex Karev) and Rachael Taylor (Dr. Lucy Fields) share the same birthday, July 11, but they are fourteen years apart.
Alex was the first person to say Seattle Grace Mercy Death. Christina was the second to coin the phrase.