ABC’s renowned medical drama Grey’s Anatomy is officially bringing in their first non-binary doctor. Per an exclusive with Variety, ABC announced that E.R. Fightmaster would be joining the cast as a recurring character named Dr. Kai Bartley. Both Fightmaster and their character identify as non-binary. They have already appeared in the second and third episodes of season 18, which premiered on September 30rd, 2021.
Dr. Bartley arrived in the show as a member of a Minnesota-based research team looking to join main character Meredith Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo, on the journey to cure Parkinson’s Disease. Meredith brings fellow doctor Amelia Shepard (Caterina Scorsone) onto the team, who develops a quick attachment to Kai. The character description for Kai released by ABC states:
“They are dedicated to their craft and extremely talented at what they do. Confident as hell and able to make even the most detailed and mundane science seem exciting and cool, Kai and Amelia bond over their shared love of medicine and the brain.”
Whether the attachment proves to be romantic or platonic is yet to be seen, though fans are hopeful for it. One commenter wrote “I am pretty sure Amelia is going to leave Link and end up with them by the end of Season 18. Dr. Kai Bartley is so cool!” Fightmaster’s next appearance as Kai is on November 11th, after Grey’s Anatomy returns from its two-week break. The character will be featured in a few episodes leading up to the midseason finale in December. Fightmaster’s most recent work includes a recurring role on seasons 2 and 3 of Hulu’s Shrill as Em, a non-binary love interest for the main character Fran.
Though Kai Bartley is the first non-binary character for the show, Grey’s Anatomy has not shied away from showcasing LGBTQ+ actors and characters before. Sara Ramirez, a non-binary performer, played Dr. Callie Torres, a bisexual surgeon, for eleven seasons, becoming the longest-running LGBTQ+ character in television history. Additionally, trans actor Alex Blue Davis played surgical resident Casey Parker in seasons 14 through 16.
Though Fightmaster is only a recurring player, fans have already expressed their love and admiration for both the character and performer. Only time will tell what relationships form between the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Grey’s Anatomy returns Thursday, November 11th, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
The director amicably parted the project in favor of other ventures with Paramount.
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