|Grey's Anatomy character|
"Dream a Little Dream of Me"
5x14, February 5, 2009
(as a series' regular)
|Created by||Shonda Rhimes|
|Portrayed by||Kevin McKidd|
|Occupation||Attending trauma surgeon at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital|
|Title||Chief of Surgery
Chief of Trauma Surgery
|Spouse(s)||Cristina Yang (divorced)|
|Significant other(s)||Beth Whitman (ex-fiancée)
Owen Hunt, M.D. is a fictional character from the medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy, which airs on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in the United States. The character was created by series' producer Shonda Rhimes, and is portrayed by actor Kevin McKidd. He was introduced in season five as a U.S. Army trauma surgeon who served in war-torn Iraq, and subsequently joins the fictional Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital to teach medicine as a surgical attending, head of trauma surgery, and eventual chief of surgery, sometimes with unorthodox methods. Originally contracted to appear for a multi-episode story arc, he was upgraded to a series' regular at the conclusion of his first appearance.
The fictional character served as a love interest for surgical fellow Cristina Yang, and had an unstable personality when first introduced, suffering from PTSD. McKidd's connection with fellow actress Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) has been acclaimed amongst critics, with Matt Roush of TV Guide calling the "instant sparks" between McKidd and Oh "electrifying". McKidd was nominated for two awards for his work on the show, winning one of them. Chris Monfette of IGN has praised the addition of "fresh, new characters" such as Owen Hunt.
Before his regular appearances on the show, Owen Hunt was a United States Army surgeon, specializing in trauma surgery. The character makes a dramatic first appearance when he performs a tracheotomy on a man with a pen, winning the admiration of resident Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh). He is offered a job by former chief of surgery Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.), but declines, explaining that he has not completed his tour in Iraq. He later becomes the new head of trauma surgery, at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital, and manages to irk both Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) and Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), head of neurosurgery and plastic surgery, respectively, who view his treatment of some of the patients as crude. He is also rebuffed by resident Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) when he stabs a set of pigs and then orders the residents and interns to save their lives, in order to teach them medicine on "live tissue." Hunt eventually embarks on a relationship with Yang, but it comes to a sudden close when his PTSD gets the best of him, and he unconsciously strangles her. Soon after the breakup, he begins therapy with the hospital psychiatrist, Dr. Wyatt. Some time later, a soldier visits the hospital for treatment, and his presence influences Owen to contemplate returning to the US Army. When he shares this with Cristina, she disagrees with his decision, stating that she doesn't want him to die, and the two eventually rekindle their relationship. Owen brings in Teddy Altman (Kim Raver), his best friend and colleague from when he was in the army, as the new head of cardiothoracic surgery. When it is revealed that Hunt and Altman may be potential lovers, Hunt and Yang's relationship is challenged, and eventually concluded by Yang.
During a hospital shooting, Owen is shot and injured, attracting the sympathy of Cristina, who subsequently restores their relationship. Due to the emotional reverberations of the shooting crisis, Owen and Cristina decide to wed one another shortly after their reconciliation, not wanting to risk separation. When Cristina discovers she is pregnant, Owen is displeased with her desire to abort the baby, and the two separate from each other. In the fallout of resident Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo)'s tampering with Derek Shepherd's Alzheimer's trial, Owen is promoted to Chief of Surgery after Webber steps down. After substantial thought, Owen reluctantly decides to join Cristina at her abortion, uniting the two. Owen's friendship with Teddy ends when Owen lies to Teddy about her husband's sudden death, due to Owen wanting her to finish a surgery she was currently performing and Teddy blaming Owen for her husband's death. Feeling abandoned and disconcerted after an altercation with Cristina, Owen has a one-night stand with a patient's friend. Cristina consequently finds out, terminates their relationship, and their marriage is tested. After Cristina passed her medical boards, she reconciles with Owen, but reveals to him that she is leaving Seattle to go to Mayo Clinic. Teddy and Owen eventually became friends again. After learning that she has been offered a job at Med Com, Owen fires her assuring her that he will be okay. He also fires April Kepner (Sarah Drew) because the hospital cannot afford to keep her due to her not being a Board certified. Months later, Hunt visits Kepner and rehires her as he realized he made a mistake.
In season 9 Cristina and Owen's marriage is again very strained. Cristina is working at Mayo Clinic and Owen in Seattle but she returns. Owen asks for a divorce. He later shows that he is still in love with her and only asked for a divorce so Cristina and the others involved in the plane crash get the money. Cristina and Owen reconcile in episode 9 before Bailey's wedding.
In season 10, Crristina decides to accept a job to run a state of the art clinic in Switzerland. Owen supports her decision as he realizes no good could come from him asking her to stay, but requests her not to leave him until she has to leave him for good, following which, they both spend two weeks leading to her permanent departure together. While saying her farewell to her colleagues of the last seven years, there is a possible act of terrorism in Seattle, which later turns out to be just a gas main explosion. Cristina has a quick but emotional goodbye hug with Derek, Bailey, and Webber, leaves her shares of the hospital to Alex, and dances it out with Meredith one last time to an old favorite song. Owen, however, is busy saving a patient in the O.R., so they share a silent goodbye through the gallery's glass.
In Season 11, Owen develops a relationship with Amelia Shepherd.
Casting and creation
Shonda Rhimes, series' creator, says that the character was envisioned "an old-fashioned tortured hero" and likens him to Heathcliff. Originally set to appear in a multi-episode story arc, Kevin McKidd's contract was extended, securing him a slot as a series' regular of Grey's Anatomy. In July 2008, Entertainment Weekly announced the possibility of McKidd becoming a series' regular, with this possibility eventually being confirmed by People. When asked of how he got involved with the show, McKidd offered the insight:
|“||I was doing a movie off and on for three months, and it was my son's birthday, so I managed to land back in LA. around 2 p.m. Then I got a call from my agent, saying, "You have to turn back around because Shonda wants to meet you for this role on Grey’s." I was like, "I'd love to meet her, but I can't. Can we do tomorrow?" And they're family-friendly, so they were really understanding. As soon as I heard the pitch for the character, I was sold on it. It's a different energy and a different viewpoint. I thought it was an important story to tell, especially on a prime-time TV show. To get in there and get your hands dirty and explore what trauma surgery is like in war zones and what it's like to rehabilitate yourself to civilian life. It's not just a new doctor showing up. It's exploring how hard it is to reintegrate yourself back into the real world after being in the war zone for three tours.||”|
McKidd told BuddyTV, "It's been really great. I was nervous when I started because every job I've ever done before this, I have been in the job right from day one when everybody's new and getting to know each other. So I was nervous because I had never done this before. And I feel really grateful to the Grey's cast and crew and everyone there, really, because they've been so nice to me and gracious and accepting of me joining the show. The transition was much easier than I thought it might be, which I'm very grateful for." McKidd has told People that he thinks Grey's Anatomy is a great show and he feels lucky to be on it. Shonda Rhimes, the series' creator, said of his addition, "I am excited to have Kevin McKidd joining us for the season, he's been a delight to collaborate with and brings incredible passion, talent and creativity to his work. Plus, he’s already got the ‘Mc’ built into his name so we had to keep him."
The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) characterized Hunt as "confident", "innovative", "intelligent", while he also can be "aggressive", "brazen", "presumptuous", "hasty and rash". McKidd said of his character: "[...] He's not an easy character to connect to, I think. There's some darkness to him and there's some danger to him that I think is really interesting and exciting to play. [...]" Additionally, McKidd describes Hunt as "very instinctive, and follows his gut, and he's very impulsive, and very immediate. He immediately assesses a situation. And he's very honest, sometimes painfully honest, with himself and with others. He wants to make himself better. He wants to improve himself as a person. He's a decent guy, a sort of a guy I'd like to go out and have a beer with." McKidd's unorthodox teaching methods have been the subject of controversy. McKidd said of this:
"You know, I think, at the end of the day, [Owen]'s basically a good man who has some pretty extreme teaching techniques that he learned in the army. And all these things that are in the show are actually the way trauma surgeons are taught. But I think probably beyond that, he very much just calls a spade a spade and looks at each scenario. He's not trying to be difficult. He just looks at each scenario and each case and each patient and knows what is needed and when to cut to the chase, and doesn't want to mess about with the periphery of it. And sometimes that gets him into trouble, and sometimes that is for the best. So, it'd be interesting and kind of exciting to see where he goes."—Kevin McKidd, BuddyTV
The look of Owen has been described as hardcore and the antithesis of the other males on the show. McKidd says it's not just the look of Owen, but the fact that in his profession, he is dealing with life and death everyday. The one distinction he finds between his character and the others is that Owen does not care what other people think of him. When McKidd returned from his first appearance, his character appeared to have been changed. McKidd told TV Guide: "Yes, that was who he really is in the premiere, but now we're seeing what can happen to a good man, a good soldier and good surgeon [because of war]."
The character of Owen Hunt had an almost instant attraction to Cristina Yang since his first appearance at Seattle Grace, illustrated by the passionate kiss they share soon after they meet. Owen's story and connection with fellow character Cristina has been a topic of discussion. McKidd said: "Between him [Owen] and her [Cristina], it’s going to get really complex and kind of tense and explosive." Owen and Cristina have experienced roadblocks in their fictional relationship, and continue to. McKidd offered this insight on his character's relationship with Cristina:
|“||It's not going to be easy for them. What I read when I read the season premiere, and this is just my take on it, is that it was very much two very analytical people, Owen and Cristina. They're very similar in a way, I think, as people. Two analytical people see each other over a crowded ER room and their eyes meet. It's almost more complicated, but on a really simplistic level, it's almost a love at first sight scenario that happened on the season premiere. And then, what we're seeing is the road to connect that back, because obviously the season premiere was before he went back to Iraq and this event has happened to him that's changed him. And so, they're trying to get that feeling back because there's obviously something really true and meant to be between these two people. But it's complicated right now because she's damaged because of what's happened to her, and he is certainly struggling with himself and the people around him and the world in general, and trying to keep himself together after what's happened to him. So, I think, it's exciting to see what happens with these two guys because, in a way, they're the two people you'd least expect to have a love affair, but it's happening to them and they can't stop it.||”|
McKidd has referred to his character and the character of Cristina Yang as "soulmates." Speaking of Owen's PTSD storyline, McKidd stated: "What's exciting about telling this story with this character is that it's quite brave of ABC and Shonda [Rhimes], on a prime-time network TV show, to address a tough subject, and one that people don't necessarily want to hear about. But so far the writing room is handling it beautifully. They're not banging people over the head with it but exploring it in a sensitive and interesting way." Owen and Cristina have struggled with their fictional relationship in season eight, leading to Owen having a sexual affair. Directly before the episode involving the affair aired, McKidd said to Entertainment Weekly: "The thing about Owen is that he tries to do things perfectly, and obviously, he messes up as the chief because you have to make these odd black-and-white decisions and sometimes you make the wrong decision. There’s a lot of stress in his life at the moment, so he’s trying not to let that affect his efficiency as chief." Although the characters' marriage is tested, McKidd reported to The Hollywood Reporter: "I think they're meant for each other. I hold out faith in Cristina and Owen, even though they go to the darkest places out of all the couples on the show. It's going to get worse but it's going to get better soon."
The character has received generally positive feedback from television critics. Weeks after Hunt's first appearance on the show, Matt Roush of TV Guide commented that "Hunt/McKidd is the most encouraging thing to happen to Grey's Anatomy in quite a while." He also added: "The instant sparks between him [Hunt] and Yang were electrifying." On the other hand, Robert Rorke of the New York Post states that McKidd was brought in as Hunt to "boost the sagging fortunes" of the show's ratings. Kelley L. Carter of USA Today, describes Hunt as "hardcore" and "the antithesis of the other males on the show." Chris Monfette of IGN said that the fifth season of Grey's Anatomy was an improvement on the previous two seasons, attributing this in part to the introduction of "fresh, new characters", Owen and Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw). He also referred to McKidd as "the season [five]'s best, most effective addition", adding:
|“||Not only is McKidd an immediately likeable and engaging actor, his struggle with PTSD throughout the season – and especially how it impacted his burgeoning relationship with Cristina – proved both relevant and dramatically gripping. His interactions with Cristina were perfectly balanced for optimum drama, never together and never apart for so long that the back-and-forth became frustrating. Viewers could clearly see a softening of the typically hard-edged Cristina, a pleasant change for what had become something of a one-note character, as well as relate to Owen's internal struggles, shared by many a real-life war vet.||”|
Margaret Lyons of New York Magazine judged Hunt "too sad" for the first part of the ninth season. In 2010, Kevin McKidd was nominated for the Prism Award for Best Performance in a Drama Series' Multi-Episode Storyline, and won the award. In 2011, McKidd was nominated for the Prism Award for Best Performance in a Drama Series, for his work on Grey's Anatomy. McKidd was nominated, along with the rest of the Grey's Anatomy cast, for Best Drama Series at the 21st GLAAD Media Awards, in 2010. Also in 2010, McKidd, and the rest of the cast, were nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, at the NAACP Image Awards. The same nomination was received at the 2011 NAACP Image Awards, with the cast winning the award. At the 43rd NAACP Image Awards, in 2012, McKidd and the cast were nominated yet again for Outstanding Drama Series.
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