Seattle Grace has been riddled with anxiety and friction since Dr. Alana Cahill arrived. The consultant -- played by "Grey's Anatomy" guest star Constance Zimmer -- has been working on trimming the fat in order to get the hospital running efficiently.
Last week, Dr. Cahill closed down the ER, but it looks like that's just the tip of the iceberg. At the end of the most recent episode of "Grey's Anatomy," she dropped quite the bomb: Seattle Grace is up for sale in the wake of the plane crash survivors' settlement, which leaves the hospital responsible for $15 million per survivor.
Zimmer took the time to chat with HuffPost TV via phone about what's ahead for her whip-cracking character on "Grey's Anatomy" and much more. Below, find out if Dr. Cahill will be involved in one of Shonda Rhimes' signature romantic entanglements, Zimmer's reaction to her line in "House of Cards" that has the internet all atwitter and whether or not the woman best known as Dana Gordon will pop in the "Entourage" movie, which is happening for real this time.
Your "Grey's Anatomy" character has caused quite the uproar at Seattle Grace.
Yes. And I'm not stopping there. There's more coming.
It gets worse?
On this week's episode, Seattle Grace is brought an emergency case involving a child, but there's no more ER. What can you tease about it?
I feel like this week's episode shows that although there might be conflict amongst the doctors, it proves that when people come together and work as a team, they can kind of make anything happen. But she's not part of the team.
Yeah, it looks like the doctors operate behind Cahill's back.
Yeah, I'm not really part of that team so even though it shows camaraderie on one side, it also hurts on the side of where she's coming from, which is just trying to keep this hospital open. So there's definitely some conflict that arises between her and the doctors, which is clearly nothing new. [Laughs.]
Last week, we saw Alana seemingly rediscover her love of surgery. It looked like that might lead her to change her tune about the ER, but it didn't. Will we find out more about her backstory, like what led her to stop operating regularly and why she is who she is?
Yes, there will definitely be an episode coming up that shows why she's ended up in this position and why being a surgeon was not her MO, apparently. You are going to get to see that in her and, of course, she is being affected by all of the doctors because she's been there now for quite some time, but yet, she still has to keep a united front in terms of her reasons for being there. Keeping it business and trying not to make it too personal is hard, but it also is why she's good at her job because she can do that.
It seems like that could be hard with Hunt (Kevin McKidd), who was trying to crack her a bit. In the operating room, do you think he was being genuine or was he manipulating her into softening up a bit?
I definitely think, in those scenes, I do believe that it was genuine and that he was starting to feel a little bad for her because she was an amazing surgeon and he saw that firsthand. But then, of course, as she presented the surprise that she was trying to prime the hospital to sell it, I think it just made him realize, "Oh, this is not personal. This is business." It doesn't matter how friendly they may get, a job is a job and I'm there to do a specific job. You know, it's tough because I want people to like her, but that's not her job. Her job is to get something done.
That's true for a lot of your characters.
Right. [Laughs.] Which is so crazy! Thank God I have a healthy ego in knowing that I'm not a bitch in real life because I would start to think, "Wow. People either just really don't like me or maybe I give that off." I have to say I'm kind of proud of the bad-ass characters that I play. They're kind of the most fun to do, especially Cahill on "Grey's." I was very excited that I didn't get to do just that. In the end, she does actually get to have a true arc where you see that she does have a soft side -- it's just kind of hidden. [Laughs.]
Is it especially hard, when you're guest starring on a show that's now in its ninth season, to play someone who's not well-liked?
Yes. That was definitely my biggest concern going on to the show: How people were going to be. But I have to say, from the first table read until the last table read, it could not have been a nicer group of actors and there are so may of them and they are all so different and they've all been there for such different ranges of time. That's actually what made it the hardest to leave -- everybody was so nice to me and I think because the storyline actually is really great and they were all very excited to have that to play with so it made it easy for us as people to have a really good time.
Shonda Rhimes is known for her steamy hookups. Any chance we'll see anything along those lines for Dr. Cahill?
I think it's safe for me to say no because, again, she was there to fulfill a certain purpose and once her purpose has been fulfilled, there's no need to drag it out and I like that. I really like having a true arc and that was what made this character so much fun, knowing that she had a beginning, middle and an end and it wasn't just kind of like a wishy-washy storyline. Even though I'd like to seem appealing enough to have a romantic interest ...[Laughs.]
You're also on "House of Cards" and your character has a line on that show that was a huge hit.
[Laughs.] I was surprised and excited and mystified by the whole social media, which I'm still fairly new to. I just joined Twitter a year ago, specifically for "House of Cards." It was kind of amazing. It made me super excited for the show and just in general that just like that, one thing comes out of your mouth and there's a line that Zoe [Kate Mara's character] says: "Nowadays, when you say something to one person, you're saying it to a thousand." And there it was! That was the exact thing that was happening. It was fascinating.
Now that the "Entourage" movie is really happening, do you know if Dana Gordon will be making a return?
I do know that Dana will be a part of it, but I want to back that up by saying I won't believe it until I'm actually on the set. Doug [Ellin, the creator of "Entourage"] has told me that Dana Gordon will live in the movie, but I know that scripts change all the time and people's opinions change all the time, but I would hope that there couldn't be an "Entourage" movie without Dana Gordon.
"Grey's Anatomy" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m EST on ABC.