Here Are All the New and Returning Cast Members in Grey's Anatomy Season 18
Grey's Anatomy has always had a revolving door of cast members. Characters arrive, they leave, and, sometimes, they even come back several years later! Season 17 saw several departures, including multiple longtime cast members, so perhaps it's not so surprising that season 18 is bringing in some new characters and some old favorites to fill the void. This season, we're seeing the arrivals of a few fresh faces to shake things up around Grey Sloan and beyond, plus the returns of a few characters we didn't think we'd ever get to see again!
Curious to know which new characters are sticking around and which returning favorites we can expect to see throughout the season? Keep reading for a complete rundown of every new and returning Grey's Anatomy character we know about so far!
Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery
Walsh last appeared as Addison way back in 2013 when the series finale of her Grey's Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice, aired. She's been one of the true icons of the Grey's universe ever since her shocking and instantly memorable entrance at the end of the very first season!
Addison returns to Seattle in season 18 to work on a groundbreaking surgery. There, she also has a heart-to-heart with Amelia over the challenges they faced during the pandemic, helping Amelia figure out what she wants to do moving forward. Despite the gossip swirling around the hospital about Addison's past with Meredith, the two women work seamlessly together on a challenging surgery. They also share an emotional moment in an elevator when Addison breaks down, confessing that she can't feel Derek's presence anymore, then again when Addison comes to meet Derek and Meredith's children. It's unclear if Addison will return again this season, but for longtime fans, seeing her again at all was an unexpected but wonderful surprise!
Scott Speedman as Dr. Nick Marsh
Speedman only appeared in one episode in season 14 as Nick, a transplant surgeon who bonds with Meredith when he needs emergency surgery for a transplant complication of his own. But his chemistry with Meredith was enough to convince the Grey's team to bring him back four whole seasons later! He's now a series regular in season 18.
Of course, Speedman has a pretty recognizable résumé even outside of Grey's! He's best known as one of the leads on the WB drama Felicity, for his regular role on Animal Kingdom, and, more recently, for You. With Meredith spending time doing research in Minnesota, where Nick works, it looks like their years-ago spark might reignite!
E.R. Fightmaster as Dr. Kai Bartley
Fightmaster is one of the new additions to the Grey's cast for season 18, playing Dr. Kai Bartley, a neuroscientist specializing in stem-cell research. They meet Meredith and Amelia when the Seattle-based duo head to Minnesota to work on Parkinson's research and quickly develop a professional (and possibly personal) rapport with fellow neuro specialist Amelia. In October, following their first couple of guest appearances, Variety reported that Fightmaster was being upped to a recurring role for the season. This also marks the first nonbinary main character in Grey's history.
Fightmaster's career has taken off in the past couple of years, and Grey's is just the latest! Following stints in the comedy world, including the famous Second City troupe, they most recently spent two seasons recurring on Hulu's comedy Shrill.
Peter Gallagher as Dr. David Hamilton
Gallagher joins the Grey's cast in very attention-grabbing fashion as Dr. David Hamilton, a Minnesota-based doctor who convinces Meredith to work on a Parkinson's research project that he has a very personal connection with. According to Deadline, he's set to recur throughout the season, and it may not just have to do with the Parkinson's project. In his first appearance, he casually comments to Meredith that he knew her mother, Ellis Grey, back in the day.
Gallagher's résumé is full of recognizable roles and buzzy projects. Millennials probably best remember him from The O.C., and his more recent major gigs include roles on Grace and Frankie and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.
Abigail Spencer as Dr. Megan Hunt
After she and Nathan Riggs walked off into the sunset back in season 15, we didn't expect to see Abigail Spencer return as Owen's sister Megan! At the start of season 18, however, she returns for her brother's wedding to Teddy, revealing in the process that she and Riggs split up during the pandemic. It looks like she'll be sticking around, too: Deadline reported Spencer would recur throughout the season.
Spencer has appeared on quite a few shows that you've watched over the past several years! She had recurring roles on Suits and Mad Men. She also starred on the drama Rectify and, more recently, the sci-fi series Timeless.
Lynn Chen as Dr. Michelle Lin
Chen first appears in the season 18 premiere as Dr. Michelle Lin, a plastic surgeon Richard and Bailey interview to replace Jackson Avery as the head of plastics at Grey Sloan. Although she's initially hesitant, saying the hospital's residents aren't up to the level she needs, she agrees to take the job if Richard gets the residents into shape. Variety reported that Chen has also been promoted to a recurring role.
Viewers might recognize Chen from her recurring role as Mimi on Shameless. She's also guest-starred on numerous shows, including Fear the Walking Dead and Silicon Valley. She recently directed, wrote, and starred in the 2020 indie film I Will Make You Mine.
Kate Burton as Dr. Ellis Grey
This is big news for Grey's: Burton is returning again as Meredith's legendary, difficult late mother, Dr. Ellis Grey. Although Ellis never appeared during Meredith's "beach" visions during her life-and-death COVID battle last season, Deadline reported that Burton will be back for multiple episodes in season 18. However, it's not clear yet how or why Ellis will return, whether it will be flashbacks or some kind of dream or vision, or any other details.
Burton last appeared in a dream sequence on Grey's in season 15, but her career stretches far beyond the walls of Grey Sloan! She's an Emmy- and Tony-nominated actress with tons of credits on both stage and screen. Grey's fans, however, probably know her best for hopping over to another Shonda Rhimes show, playing Vice President Langston on Scandal for seven seasons.
Greg Germann as Dr. Thomas "Tom" Koracick
What a surprise — Germann is coming back to Grey's Anatomy to reprise his role as Dr. Tom Koracick! The actor announced his comeback on Nov. 4 via an Instagram post captioned, "So excited I can finally share that Tom's headed to Minnesota next week! See you there." The series also confirmed the news to fans, tweeting, "Nothing like an unexpected arrival. Koracick is BACK on #GreysAnatomy next Thursday!" So clearly Germann will be the familiar face who pops up in the upcoming episode to help Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) with their study in Minnesota.
Ahead of the episode's premiere, Entertainment Weekly shared a sneak peek where Tom interrupts Dr. David Hamilton (Gallagher) as he's in the middle of working with his colleagues. "Oh, there's plenty," he says while entering the room. "And think of it as a contribution for, yeah, you know, science." To which Meredith tells Tom, "You made it!" "Bad time?" he asks.