Grey's Anatomy Season 1: Key Characters

A List of Characters to Know


n season 1 of Grey's Anatomy, we're introduced to Dr. Meredith Grey as she begins her new job as a medical intern, the other interns who become her friends, the people she works with, and her mother, a surgeon, who has early onset of Alzheimer's. 

Grey's Anatomy Season 1: Key Characters

Though the title of the show implies that Meredith Grey is the most important character, that's not the case at all. Meredith's friends all face interesting medical challenges every day while also working through problems in their own personal lives. Below is an outline of the characters and themes to be familiar with when it comes to season 1 of Grey's Anatomy.

The Interns
The interns work grueling hours and deal with the joy of saving lives and the devastation of losing lives. Their number one personal goal is to scrub in on surgeries as they are in competition with each other in order to be chosen for the most interesting cases. While they are each others' competition, they are also each others' support system as they work through each shift at Seattle Grace Hospital.

Meredith and Derek
Though Meredith isn't the warmest person, she does care about people — despite trying to keep them at arm's length. Meredith meets and sleeps with Derek Shepherd, then realizes the next day that he is a resident — basically her boss — at Seattle Grace Hospital. She holds off his advances for a while, but the two eventually end up together. At first, they keep their relationship to themselves, but before long, everyone knows. After a long while, Meredith confesses to Derek that her surgically genius mother has Alzheimer's.

Izzie and George
Izzie Stevens and George O'Malley are interns who live with Meredith in her mother's house. Izzie paid her way through medical school by modeling underwear. She is upbeat and believes in morality. George bumbles his way through each day. Everyone but Meredith knows that he has a crush on her.​

Cristina and Burke
Cristina Yang is a pessimistic intern and Meredith's best friend. She's secretly sleeping with a resident, Dr. Preston Burke, as it is against the rules for interns and residents to become involved. Shortly after they end their relationship, Christina finds out she is pregnant. She plans to get an abortion without telling Dr. Burke that she is pregnant.

Alex Karev is an intern who thinks of nobody but himself. Occasionally a softer side comes out, but mostly he is crass and rude.

Dr. Miranda Bailey is the attending physician in charge of the interns. They call her "The Nazi" because she works them so hard.

Dr. Addison Adrianne Forbes Montgomery Shepherd is a late addition as a world-class neonatal surgeon at Seattle Grace. Derek is a neurologist who is not very forthcoming with his past — Meredith meets Addison in the last episode of season 1. Addison shakes Meredith's hand and says, "You must be the woman who is screwing my husband."