Chandra Wilson's Directed Episode of Grey's Anatomy

8:30pm Tuesday, March 16 on TV2

Emmy-nominated Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey) directs tonight’s gripping episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which sees Derek attempt the most difficult surgery of his career.

When Isaac (Faran Tahir, Iron Man), the popular hospital lab technician, finds he has an inoperable tumour wrapped around his spine, he turns to Dr Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) to do the impossible and save his life. But as well as attempting the career-defining operation, Derek must also test the Chief’s authority when Richard (James Pickens Jr) objects to the risky ten-hour procedure.

Chandra Wilson first began talks about directing an episode with the show’s executive producers two years ago, and it’s taken until now to find a suitable window of opportunity.

Wilson admits the experience was nerve-wracking, describing herself as “a mess”, but adds that it was also “absolutely fabulous”.

“It was just great on all levels,” Wilson says, “I’m so glad to have been able to exercise that part of being creative.”

In true Bailey style, the actress was determined to run her episode with military precision.

“I just kept thinking my theme was efficiency. There has to be an efficient way. We all know what we’re doing now, so we don’t have to belabour things.”

“Not only for the cast, but for our crew as well, so they can tuck their kids into bed for a change, we don’t always have to be here until midnight.”

Her fellow actors were also supportive of her debut in the director’s chair. Eric Dane, who plays womaniser Mark Sloan on the medical drama, thinks that Wilson was “more prepared than any director we’ve had”.

“She has a perspective on us that a lot of directors don’t have the luxury of having, because they come in maybe once or twice a season,” Dane says. “And it was very easy to take direction from her because we all trust her and she knows more about this show than any of us do.”

Elsewhere on tonight’s episode, Alex (Justin Chambers) finds a shoulder to cry on in Reed (Nora Zehetner, America Pie 2), and Cristina (Sandra Oh) utilises an unusual technique in her attempt to become a more hard-core surgeon.

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of Grey’s Anatomy will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

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