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The 5 New Interns of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Reveal All the Details About Their Debuts in a Behind

Dec 02, 2023

Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Alexis Floyd, Niko Terho, and Midori Francis break down their characters in an exclusive interview with Shondaland ahead of the season 19 premiere.

Over the last 18 seasons, Grey's Anatomy has seen its share of shocking moments, thrilling surprises, and, of course, a roster of cast members coming through the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. But let's not forget how it all started, with five bright-eyed and eager interns looking to make their mark on the world of medicine: Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Alex Karev, Izzie Stevens, and George O’Malley.

While many faces have come and gone since day one of the interns’ first year in residency — or, as with Grey's OGs Meredith Grey, Miranda Bailey, and Richard Webber, been with us for the entire run — with season 19, Grey's Anatomy is returning to its roots by hearkening back to what established the longest-running prime-time medical drama in TV history as appointment TV. That's right, this season there are five new surgical residents coming to GSMH, and for the first time since Grey's Anatomy debuted in 2005, these new faces will be appearing as series regulars on the hit ABC series as they navigate the ins and outs of the hospital's relaunched residency program in Seattle.

Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Alexis Floyd, Niko Terho, and Midori Francis will star as interns Benson "Blue" Kwan, Jules Millin, Simone Griffith, Lucas Adams, and Mika Yasuda respectively. The fivesome are guaranteed to bring the laughs and drama fans have come to know and love from the series while also representing a re-forming of those kismet connections we saw between the early seasons’ core group of interns.

In anticipation of welcoming Shum Jr., Kane, Floyd, Terho, and Midori to the family, Shondaland had the chance to catch up with the five actors in an exclusive interview on the set of Grey's Anatomy, where they dished on their characters, inspiration for their roles, building chemistry on set, a few of their favorite things, and who from the original Grey's cast has helped them along the way.

Harry Shum Jr. is new to the world of medicine, but he's no stranger to standout acting roles. The San Francisco native previously starred as Mike Chang on Fox's Glee and as Magnus Bane on Freeform's Shadowhunters. He has also appeared in several films, including Crazy Rich Asians and Everything Everywhere All at Once. In Grey's Anatomy, Shum Jr. stars as Benson "Blue" Kwan, a gifted first-year surgical resident who is intelligent and kindhearted but also impatient and hyper-competitive with his fellow interns. Despite Kwan's career plans being previously derailed by a family emergency, he's still ready to make his mark, with Shum Jr. saying of his character, "he has a one-track mind. Blue just wants to win at everything [and] be No. 1 — that's his whole life. That's what he's kind of focused on. So, there's not much room to actually apply anything else. Social skills are not really there. And relationships — you know, it's a struggle for him. So, I think his time at Grey Sloan will — hopefully, he’ll be able to be a little better and get a little better at those things."

"It's a lot of weight on our shoulders [laughs]. You know, I’ll say this: Like yesterday, we had this scene — we’ve been having a lot of scenes together, some of us, like maybe three or four [of us]. I will say, personally, in my opinion, I always have so much fun around this new group. And sometimes that's hard to capture, or when all these individuals have different backgrounds, have them come together and just have fun in doing this thing that can be very complicated. There's so many moving parts. But I think at the end of the day, having this cushion to know that we’re all supporting each other — while also trying to deliver whatever we need to deliver, deliver within our own characters — is, I think, really special. So, I think that is what makes this group really, really beautiful. And then hopefully, audiences will see that."

"I was thinking about a scene where we were educating teenagers about a certain subject. I mean, all across the board it was funny, but Midori…I could not breathe from laughing at the moments that she had. That was something that Kevin [McKidd, who plays Owen Hunt] directed, and it was just really, really fun. … What these writers come up with, it's so spontaneous, and so fun, and so at the moment. I think that's what makes it so fun, that you’re not just doing things that are scripted but [are] also just in between the lines. It's just so beautiful, and I think that's what y’all bring to the table, and it's just really fun to see."

Adelaide Kane made a name for herself starring as Mary, Queen of Scots, in the period drama Reign, but now she's trading in her scepters for scrubs. The Australian actress plays Jules Millin, a first-year surgical resident who has been the functioning adult in her family from a young age after being raised by artists struggling with substance abuse. Jules is a natural leader who knows her own mind, thanks in part to being the primary caregiver in her family. Kane, who moved to Los Angeles at age 19 after growing up in a suburb of Perth, Australia, has previously appeared in Once Upon a Time, Teen Wolf, and the Bruce Willis-led film Cosmic Sin, and says her character Jules "grew up in a pretty hippie-dippie environment. She's a bit of a mess, very kindhearted, and definitely a little bit of a rule breaker."

"Jules is into astrology and crystals, and I am also into astrology and crystals — like low key [laughs]. I guess she's just a very compassionate person and is a little bossy. And I think I have a tendency to be a little bossy. Sometimes I tend to mother people when they don't need to be mothered — which is something I’m working on [and] something Jules definitely needs to work on."

"They’ve been really lovely and very welcoming. We’ve gotten a lot of advice from Ellen, from Chandra, from James — everyone has been really, really kind and very open with sort of relaying information. For example, doing your rehearsals and running your lines while you’re, like, doing your dishes and moving around your house because there's so much movement [on the show]. You’re always moving, which is something I hadn't thought of. And it's been really helpful [because] learning lines sitting in a chair is very different from saying those same lines while you’re grabbing retractors and, you know, intubation trays and putting gloves on and running down hallways. But they’ve been really, really fantastic."

Alexis Floyd isn't new to the Shondaland family. The Cleveland native first came into the fold starring as Neff, Anna Sorokin's best friend and confidant in the Emmy-nominated Netflix limited series Inventing Anna, created and produced by Shonda Rhimes. In Grey's Anatomy, she stars as Simone Griffith, a witty and high-achieving first-year surgical resident and Seattle native who had no intentions of interning at Grey Sloan due to her complicated past experiences at the hospital. Floyd, who has a background in theater and has starred in multiple off-Broadway productions, wants fans to know her character is "doing her best to make every moment count. She is a native to Seattle [and] was trying to sort of get away from that environment for school. But she finds her way back here due to unexpected and challenging circumstances."

"Simone is grappling with a dichotomy that I often am of following your dream and being grateful and blessed to be showing up to work every day at a place that you love, and doing work that really matters to you, but also trying to hold space for the ways that industry and environment has room for change. [She] is carrying some shadows from moments of discrimination, moments of deep frustration, trauma, and pain, and trying to find healing in that environment while also showing up to just do the work [and] stay focused. I think Simone is struggling to hold space for both of those truths. I think that's just sort of a ying and yang that a lot of people face when you’re living your dream, but it's not exactly perfect. And part of why you feel like you’re there is to try to make a difference and leave a mark, and I think that dance is familiar to me and hopefully a lot of others."

"The writers really do a pretty extraordinary job of making these people professionals but also emotional, sensitive beings like all of us are — which I think mirrors an environment that's familiar to everyone. Showing up to work and wanting to be dedicated to your craft but also being a feeling person. Sometimes things happen 20 minutes before work that just stay with you in a day, and you want to be a caretaker, but you have to find moments to take care of yourself [and] take care of your own relationships. That is just always really complex, and there's never one answer to how you navigate that, and it's just sort of amazing. The show's been around for 19 seasons, and they’re still finding new ways to talk about new dynamics that mirror conflicts that happened in the world all around us, but also just things that are sort of universally, timelessly true about holding these two parts of yourself in one space."

Niko Terho is stepping into the spotlight. The Bajan-Finnish actor previously starred in Freeform's The Thing About Harry and has had some guest appearances on shows like Sweetbitter, but Grey's Anatomy is his first lead television role. Terho plays Lucas Adams, a sweet and personable first-year surgical resident who was always the odd one out in his family of accomplished doctors. He's struggled with his academics throughout the years, but he's prepared to step up to the plate during his residency. Terho tells Shondaland that Lucas is "often overlooked and underestimated. He feels like he constantly needs to prove himself. He's a bit of a black sheep in his family because everybody else is super-successful, so that's some added pressure onto him." Terho may be the newcomer of the group, but he is ready to bring Lucas to life — thanks in part to some advice from an original Grey's cast member …

"I got a chance to talk to Jesse Williams, and he was super-great about giving me advice. We talked for a little bit. And yeah, I use the advice he gave me every time I step onto set, every time before a scene, and I think about it constantly. It was great. I’m not gonna say what it was, but it was really helpful and motivating."

"I think the fact that we’re just all coming in together to this new experience of Grey's Anatomy — it's this established thing, and we’re all coming in as these newbies, so we all kind of gravitate toward each other. You know, we’re each other's crutches here [laughs]. It's great."

Midori Francis plays Mika Yasuda, a first-year surgical resident with classic middle-child syndrome after growing up in a family with eight brothers and sisters. Burdened with medical school debt, Mika is tenacious and focused on being the best she can be. Francis sees a lot of herself in her character, who she says is "saddled with student loans and working very hard to be here at this hospital. But you wouldn't know it because she has sort of a deflecting sense of humor. I use that as both a shield and to make people laugh." The New Jersey native has starred in Netflix's Dash & Lily, for which she received a Daytime Emmy nomination, and HBO Max's The Sex Lives of College Girls. Francis has also performed in London at Shakespeare's Globe.

"So, Mika coming from a family of nine children, [she] was definitely overlooked and underestimated, especially with her parents who preferred and wanted a boy. And I think because of that, she comes into the room with a bit of like, ‘You’ll see me; you’ll see me! I’m here.’ Doing that kind of thing. I definitely feel I relate to that. I think that there's a part of me, especially growing up, that I felt like if I didn't do that, that I would not be seen. I think as Mika finds herself and settles into learning who she is and what she's good at, hopefully she can settle into that. I often have to remind myself to do the same, and that it's all good, and you don't always have to fight for things like that. Also, Mika is funny, and I think I’m funny [laughs]."

"I think maybe I made the first dinner [for all five actors]. But I wouldn't say that's why [we’re close]. I think it's also just, like, something that you can't exactly pick. We were talking about this in the beginning, especially for those of us who’ve been in a lot of jobs before, and you look back, and you’re like, ‘All right, what was that experience like?’ And at the end of the day, obviously, you’re here to do a job and act. But when you look back at the [projects] where you actually connected with your cast members and worked as a team and had fun, the value of that actually is so significant in the long run for your life. I think a lot of us felt that [on Grey's Anatomy]."

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Grey's Anatomy premieres on ABC on Thursday, October 6.

Mariel Turner is the Senior Culture Editor at Shondaland. Follow her on Twitter at @mariel_turner.

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Harry Shum Jr. as Benson "Blue" Kwan On building upon the 18-year legacy of Grey's Anatomy: On the new interns’ most memorable moment on set: Adelaide Kane as Jules Millin On how she relates to her character: On connecting with original Grey's cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr.: Alexis Floyd as Simone Griffith On relating to Simone's search for balance: On connecting with the storylines and themes in the show: Niko Terho as Lucas Adams On receiving guidance from former cast member Jesse Williams: On building chemistry on set with the other new actors: Midori Francis as Mika Yasuda On connecting with her character: On bonding with her fellow interns: Get Shondaland directly in your inbox : SUBSCRIBE TODAY