Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - By Colin Vick­ery

JAMES Pick­ens Jr is part of a dy­ing breed. He is one of just four orig­i­nal cast mem­bers left on pop­u­lar drama Grey’s Anatomy.

Since 2005, Pick­ens Jr has played Dr Richard Web­ber along­side Ellen Pom­peo (as Mered­ith Grey), Justin Cham­bers (as Alex Karev) and Chan­dra Wil­son (as Mi­randa Bai­ley).

In that time, se­ries reg­u­lars Kather­ine Heigl, San­dra Oh, Isa­iah Washington and most re­cently Pa­trick Dempsey have jumped ship to pur­sue film ca­reers.

The de­par­tures haven’t se­verely dented Grey’s Anatomy’s pop­u­lar­ity, and Pick­ens Jr has been re­warded for his loy­alty with juicy sto­ry­lines.

In the sea­son 11 fi­nale, Web­ber mar­ried urol­o­gist Cather­ine Avery (Deb­bie Allen).

Ear­lier, he dis­cov­ered Dr Mag­gie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) is his daugh­ter from an af­fair with Mered­ith’s mother El­lis Grey (Kate Bur­ton).

“These sto­ries are so re­lat­able – that is what has given this show its last­ing power,” Pick­ens Jr says.

“In sea­son 12 we’ll flesh out Richard’s re­la­tion­ship with Mag­gie – how he will try to be­come a fa­ther, not so much in the lit­eral sense but by just be­ing there and be­ing avail­able for her and hav­ing di­a­logue with her.

“We’ll also be able to play with the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Richard and Cather­ine through their mar­riage.”

Pick­ens Jr ad­mit­ted Dempsey’s de­par­ture came as a sur­prise. Dempsey’s char­ac­ter, Dr Derek Shep­herd, had his life sup­port turned off af­ter a car ac­ci­dent.

“He’ll be missed but I think Pa­trick’s leav­ing is a chance for a new Grey’s,” Pick­ens Jr says.

“Change is good, es­pe­cially when you have a show as long run­ning as ours.

“This show has de­mys­ti­fied the whole thing about be­ing doc­tors. I’ve learnt that doc­tors are flawed.”



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