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.

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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.

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