CARRY ON, DOCTOR
Melissa George’s career has taken her from Summer Bay to Seattle Grace. Guy Davis tries to keep up with the newest star of Grey’s Anatomy.
Summer Bay was never going to keep hold of Melissa George for too long. With a couple of Logies under her belt thanks to her role as Angel Brooks on the Seven soapie Home and Away, she took off for the States in the late ’90s, picking up roles in a couple of good movies and a few dodgy TV shows until she landed a lead opposite ER’s John Stamos in the short-lived series Thieves.
The caper comedy only lasted a handful of episodes but George well and truly had her foot in the door, making guest appearances in high-profile shows such as Friends before winning the role of doubledealing secret agent Lauren Reed in Alias.
Trading gunshots and body blows with Jennifer Garner lifted George to a whole new level, and she was soon appearing alongside the likes of Clive Owen, Ryan Reynolds, Josh Hartnett and Jennifer Aniston in a variety of high-profile Hollywood films.
It was on the small screen, however, that she was given the opportunity to show her skill and versatility to their best effect, with her performance as Laura on the incisive psychotherapy pay-TV drama In Treatment, earning her a Golden Globe nomination.
And now George is appearing in an equally eye-catching role on Seven’s popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Playing Dr Sadie Harris, a provocative, uninhibited medico (and old friend of Ellen Pompeo’s Dr Meredith Grey), she’s sure to shake things up at Seattle Grace Hospital.
“She’s a girl that walks on the wild side,” George told a US interviewer not long after landing the role. “And I’m dying to find out more about her because her behaviour is so interesting. I’m dying to know why she behaves so recklessly. Anyone who behaves like that has to have a lot of issues.”
The character of Sadie was initially written as bisexual, something that didn’t faze George in the slightest.
“I didn’t say ‘What do I have to do?’” she laughed. “I just said ‘yes’ to Grey’s Anatomy, the greatest show on TV. And now I’m sort of looking around going ‘Which one is going to be my girl or my guy?’ Sadie just takes anything – whatever walks in front of her.”
The original plan for Sadie was that the character would stick around for between eight and 12 episodes, with a possibility that her stay at Seattle Grace would be extended.
However, George’s time on Grey’s Anatomy would turn out to be brief, even though she initially said “I’d love to stay as long as possible”, and Sadie only stuck around for an eight-episode stretch.
She told US magazine Entertainment Weekly that it was her choice to leave the show, singing the praises of the production team and her fellow cast members but saying that she simply wanted to “do something else”.
A spokesperson for the show expressed similar sentiments, saying that “Melissa’s arc came to a natural end. Everyone at the show adores her. We’re genuinely sad to see her go”.
There are rumours, however, that the character of Sadie was a victim of bad timing and audience disinterest.
Grey’s Anatomy had recently experienced some degree of controversy after an openly gay character, Dr Erica Hahn (played by Brooke Smith), was booted from the show with little warning, and Sadie’s ambiguous sexuality reportedly made her difficult for audiences to warm to. “The character was cursed,” alleged an inside source.
George admitted as much to Entertainment Weekly, adding that the character eased back after a hot and heavy beginning.
“When you’re hitting on everyone in the hospital, you have to pull back,” she said. “You have to be professional. She’s a doctor!”
While her stint on Grey’s Anatomy may be a brief one, the momentum of George’s career doesn’t seem to be slowing.
She has filmed a supernatural thriller called Triangle in Queensland alongside Rachael Carpani from McLeod’s Daughters and Liam Hemsworth from Neighbours, and she recently landed a lead role in the upcoming drama pilot US Attorney opposite another Aussie, Brotherhood’s Jason Clarke.
In the meantime, though, Grey’s Anatomy fans can catch her making a brief but notable impression at Seattle Grace. And she hints that there’s always a possibility that Sadie could return.
“It won’t be a big send-off,” George said of her departure from the show. “But it’s really cool what they do.”
Drama queen: Melissa George’s provocative new intern (second from right) gets mixed reactions from Grey’s Anatomy favourites, from left, Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh.