Meet Meredith Grey. Daughter of famous surgeon Ellis Grey and currently recovering from a one-night stand. She shoos away her evening's companion, saying she'll be late for her first day of work. She is a first year intern at Seattle Grace Hospital and is working alongside some colorful characters. Cristina Yang is a highly competitive Stanford graduate who befriends Meredith. George O'Malley is a quirky warm hearted man who learns a lesson or two on his first day. Izzie Stevens is a former model who doesn't get any special treatment on her first day. And Alex Karev is an arrogant jerk who misdiagnoses a patient on his first shift. Overseeing them is Miranda Bailey, (not-so-) affectionately dubbed 'The Nazi'. Meredith also gets a surprise when she realizes that her friend from the night before is a co-worker, and even worse, her boss.
The surgical staff tries to be optimistic as a young woman clings to life after a brutal attack. Meanwhile Meredith puts her career on the line to save a newborn in the hospital nursery, and the other interns learn that it takes more than just medical knowledge to be good at their jobs.
An bike race injures several pedestrians as well as well as participants. One pedestrian is left braindead. Cristina and Izzie wish to use his organs for organ donation but with Cristina's detachment and Izzie's everhopeful attitude that the man will recover, they will find the organ harvesting process an emotional one. Preston faces feelings of his dislike of organ harvesting - as a surgeon, he likes saving lives; harvesting organs doesn't save the person's life. George deals with Mac, a friend of the chief, who won't stop flirting with him. He is in need of a new liver. Meredith is fed up with Alex showing off as she continues trying to push Derek away. She also is reaching the limits of Izzie's sunshine and George's politeness as she goes on living with them. Then there is their desire to see Meredith's mother's medical tapes. Getting through the day, Meredith realizes the keys to winning the race.
While George is feeling a little less masculine because of the way Izzie and Meredith have been treating him (like a sister), Izzie is assigned to a patient about to loose all of his masculinity. Cristina, true to her competitive spirit, shows up early and assigns herself to an ill woman, who happens to have been Meredith's moms scrub nurse. Alex, meanwhile, is busying himself copying and pasting pictures of Izzie's racy magazine spread all over the interns' locker room. And while Meredith is trying to cope with her mother's Alzheimers, Derek treats a patient who has managed to get nails stuck in his head.
Meredith realizes that she must take on a lot more responsibility when she is told that her mother needs to sign over all of her assets to her. As Izzie prepares to have a party for her boyfriend Hank (the scale of which is unknown to Meredith), Meredith has her first heart surgery. During the surgery she fears that she has fallen asleep and damaged the patient's heart. Meanwhile, Cristina and Burke hit it off. At the party, Meredith and Derek get caught together by Dr. Bailey.
Izzie tries to get George to find the courage to ask Meredith out. All of the interns are in awe when a woman comes in with a record breaking tumor, but it is so far advanced that the woman's prognosis is not good. Now that Bailey knows about Meredith and Derek's affair, their jobs are in jeopardy, and she advises Meredith to end it. Meanwhile, Cristina and Burke's secret relationship is also getting more complicated...
Derek and Meredith try (unsuccessfully) to be discreet as they spend the night together at Meredith's house, but their haggard appearance speaks volumes to everyone - including Bailey, who warns Meredith to end the relationship. Meanwhile George suspects an anesthesiologist of drinking on the job but is reluctant to speak up about it, Alex treats a former competitor who now finds honor in self-mutilation, Izzie has to deal with a patient who won't let go of his girlfriend - literally, and Cristina seems to be battling a case of the flu.
Meredith grows increasingly dissatisfied with the unknown details of Derek's life. Meanwhile, Alex treats Devo, a patient whose religious beliefs jeopardize her chances for recovery; Izzie contemplates reconnecting with her estranged mother; Zoey, a pregnant woman in her 40s who's been diagnosed with cancer, disagrees with Cristina's medical advice; and the interns are mystified by Cable, a patient who's being treated for seizures and who thinks he's psychic.
A sexually transmitted disease breaks out and affects several members of the hospital staff. Chief Webber promptly calls a meeting. Meanwhile, the chief reluctantly tells Dr. (Derek) Shepherd about his own medical concerns. Izzie and Cristina worry about a patient's wife and daughter who can't agree on his care. Burke treats his college buddy Bill, whose medical diagnosis raises some questions regarding his wife's actions. Then just as Meredith and Derek grow more intimate, a surprise is revealed.
Picks up where the last episode left off. Meredith attempts to work with Addison Shepard. George is pimped out to relay the hospital gossip back to Webber. Meredith and Cristina relate at Emerald City Bar about what dating their respective attendings is like. Cristina ponders her relationship with Burke while trying to make a decision. Meredith is devastated by the latest blow to her love life. Meanwhile, Joe the bartender collapses.
There's tension between Meredith and Addison. We find out why Derek and Addison aren't together. Bailey puts George on an impossible case. The rest of the interns operate on a family that was just in a car accident.
Cristina and Meredith try to figure out if Cristina should tell Burke that she's pregnant right before Cristina faces an emergency. Alex and Izzie get closer while Meredith's mother gets too close. Relationships are revealed among older members in the cast and George gets a tough assignment.
As Cristina tries to recover, she proves to be a very difficult patient, and a visit from her mother doesn't improve her demeanor any. And Meredith's mother, Dr. Ellis Grey, has the hospital staff running in circles. Jeremiah, a cystic fibrosis patient, could benefit from Dr. Addison Shepherd's medical knowledge, but her involvement in his surgery could delay her highly anticipated departure from Seattle Grace Hospital, leaving Meredith and Derek's relationship hanging in the balance.
Meredith and Dr. Shephard must convince a religious man to allow his daughter to have a life-saving operation. Ellis is reliving her love affair with Richard. Alex and George must perform a surgery in less-than-ideal conditions to save a police officer's life. Cristina, right back at work, must find a solution when her patient loses access to his pain "medication." Izzie's mad at Alex. Meanwhile, it's decision time for Shepard-Grey-Shepard love triangle.
Train wreck victims come to Seattle Grace and all staff gets called in. Derek okays Webber for surgery. Addison and Izzie work with a woman who is pregnant and badly burned. Izzie must make a decision that is the equivalent of choosing between her friendship with Meredith and her career's future. Christina searches for a patient's leg and Alex gets annoyed and wonders if he should be a doctor. Two people are caught in a coin flip situation when they get impaled by the same pole. Finally, a slightly buzzed Meredith waits on Derek's decision.
Cristina, Izzie and Meredith take care of Shane, a man who appears to be crazy and claims that he is pregnant. Shane's case induces a spreading fascination among the staff. George relates to a patient's husband. Meanwhile, Derek treats a girl in a wheelchair. Cristina and Burke discuss disclosing their relationship to the public. Alex gets interrogated about his feelings for Izzie. He encourages his patient to get surgery that could help her have a more normal life and she encourages him to fix things with Izzie. Derek and Addison go to couple's counseling.
Meredith tries to avoid the Shepherds. Cristina and Burke go out on a date and end up getting caught up in their jobs. Derek asks Meredith not to ignore him until Addison comes walking around the corner. Derek and Addison take sides when a couple of their closest friends come in for a controversial surgery. Izzie helps Addison and Derek on their friends' case and when Alex tries to help by joking around their conversations take a more serious turn. A person falls five stories and becomes George's patient, much to the patient's dismay. Meredith patients won't stop talking about monogamy. Webber bugs Bailey about making a fellowship decision until he finds out that more is going into her decision than he knows about.
It's Thanksgiving at Seattle Grace Hospital but the holiday's festivites are less than in order. Meredith and Derek try to counsel a family after their relative has had a seriously traumatic accident. The woman doesn't respond well to the ideas of medical diagnosis and treatment. Izzie is planning a big get-together but the RSVP isn't going so well. George goes turkey-hunting with his family. All that and lots of general socializing among the interns.
Dorie Russell is waiting for quintuplets, all 5 girls. Her husband seems more concerned than she is but she is set to bring her babies to their term of 36 weeks. All the departments are on call for the quintuplets as three of them have developped problems of different kinds. Meredith last night's stand shows up at the hospital with priapism and they need to call Derek Sheperd for a consult which puts Meredith in a very embarassing position. Alex and Derek must take care of a patient who has a tumor inducing thirst as a side effect. On the love side, Alex and Izzie are having some slight sexual problems, while Meredith goes on adding one night stands and Cristina is thrown off course by being "keyed".
Cristina Yang has little sympathy for Constance Ferguson (special guest star Rosanna Arquette), a prison inmate who jeopardizes her health just to get out of solitary confinement. Meanwhile the interns all keep careful watch on the family of premature quintuplets with a variety of serious health challenges, Izzie's anger at Alex reaches boiling point, and Dr. Addison Shepherd decides to teach Izzie a very painful lesson.
The holiday season has started but not everyone is in a festive mood. This is Alex's last day in the hospital unless he passes his boards practical exam the next day, thus everyone helps him to review so that he succeeds. However, Izzie is not happy about the others helping him and Meredith has to remind her of the true spirit of the Christmas holiday. Justin is in need for a new heart. One is available but he does not want it because he does not believe Santa gave it to him as his mother said. Cristina and Burke, on the case, have opposing views on the matter due to their different stance on religion. Despite a reconciliation with his wife, Derek isn't in a festive mood. George has a simple case of a woman who has a bleeding ulcer, he realizes that the ulcer is caused by her entourage but fails to keep them away, with the consequence that it perforates.
Cristina is bothered by a new year's mandatory work limit. Izzie patient, Denny Duquette, wants two things: 1. a heart transplant, 2. Izzie. Addison detests Derek's trailer, Derek visits Meredith's mom, George treats a young teen hermaphrodite frustrated by her pre-pubescence. Other news includes patients doing uncanny things and relationship havoc being wrecked between the doctors, as per usual.
All the nurses at Seattle Grace Hospital go on strike, leaving the doctors to fend for themselves. George refuses to cross the picket line and finally joins the nurses on their strike while Alex, Cristina, Izzie and Meredith meets Bailey's replacement : Dr. Cindy Aaron, the complete opposite of Miranda Bailey. Izzie agrees to work on a difficult pregnancy case with Addison, while Cristina and Alex are in the pit attending to a young married woman with a real bad case of rash. Meredith happens on an old woman that she needs to entubate and then learns she was DNR.
An explosive case arrives at the O.R. that might endanger all the lives of the people working there, which leads Dr. Burke to declare a "Code Black" for the hospital. Bailey worries where her husband is as she is in labor. Also Izzie and Alex may be creating some heat.
Derek is still operating when he finds out about Meredith's current situation. Meredith is freaking out about her situation. Webber and Bailey are dealing with medical health issues. Cristina and Izzie have their own issues to deal with because of Meredith's situation. Addison freaks out when George tries to find a solution to Bailey's impromtu postponement. Overall, Seattle Grace Hospital is still under code black and the situation is getting worse.
Derek and Addison's relationship is rocked to the core when a former friend comes to Seattle Grace and his presence promises to shake things up for a few members of the staff. Burke and Cristina's relationship is affected when one of her secrets is outted. Alex and Izzie are having contrasting reactions to their closet scenes during the Code Black crisis. On top of this a cocky doctor shows up to piss Alex off in all kinds of ways. A patient is suffering from constant orgasms and her condition sparks interesting conversations among the staff. Another patient is dealing with a rare disorder. Meanwhile, Meredith learns more about her family through her parents.
Meredith and George are experiencing personal and professional tension. Bailey, returning the favor that was done for her during the Code Black situation, must treat Addison for a specific feminine problem. Denny Duquette is back and Alex is not-so-oddly jealous of the attention Izzie is showing to him. Someone finds comfort in confiding in a patient who is going through an ordeal of his own. Burke deals with a patient and gets to observe his unstable relationship with his fiancée.
The doctors are up to their necks in their usual levels of drama. Meredith is dealing with the backlash of sleeping with George, George and Burke are bonding in ways that bother and creep out Cristina, Cristina gets stuck on diaper duty, Bailey gets involved in a case even though she's still supposed to be on maternity leave, Addison and Derek have a talk, and Izzie is still flaking on Alex for Denny Duquette, the heart patient who didn't get a heart. In the patients-of-the-week department we've got a very pregnant woman, a hockey player who desires medically unnessasary amputation, and a woman with a fork in her neck who happens to be dying and has a struggling marriage.
After a series of deaths at the hospital some of the staff become very superstitious. Izzie worries about Denny and gets confronted by Alex. A patient with OCD drives Cristina crazy. Derek and Addison discuss their relationships with Meredith. Richard treats a friend from 17 years ago who reveals a secret about a dark time in his past that involves Ellis. George gets an earful about the women he's not talking to. Burke and Cristina argue about kicking George out.
Meredith and Izzie take up knitting. Derek operates on Andrew, a spelling bee champ with a serious head injury. Bailey gets in on Andrew's surgery because she's worried that her coworkers won't recognize her Nazi-status now that she's a mother. Addison's patient has an unborn baby with medical issues. After Alex fails to bite his tongue when a terminal patient routinely lies to her daugther about her health he gets a lesson in bedside manners from Burke. George also begins to overstay his welcome at Burke's apartment after Callie visits him. Meredith has more confusing and uncomfortable encounters with members of her family. One of the female doctors meets a veternarian named Finn. Izzie flirts with Denny and they play more naughty-Scrabble. Meredith, Derek, and Addison sarcastically take another small stab at their friendships.
Addison's patient is a Catholic mother of seven. Addison gets in trouble after learning that the patient's husband won't use contraceptives. Derek treats a divorce attorney who asks if Derek is in need of her services. While Izzie and George are talking about their personal lives they "overhear" part of Derek's conversation with the divorce attorney who calls herself one of Seattle's best. Alex gets in trouble with Addison yet again for not being able to keep his mouth shut when other people think he should. A legendary jazz musician refuses to see medical reason. The musician is Burke's musical hero. Finn makes Meredith breakfast.
The staff attends to an intern from another hospital who has short-term memory loss. This intern, named Marshall, also has caused a car accident that has affect a married couple and their baby who the staff is also treating. One of the female interns meets up with a woman from her past who is planning on having a family of her own. Derek has an outburst and Burke and Izzie have an idea.
George and Derek work together, Denny still doesn't have a heart, and Meredith gets paired with Callie. A 12-week pregnant girl dies in the O.R. and her parents try to keep the baby alive. This causes tension between Derek and Addison. One doctor's overreaction unites two bickering patients. Finn is still treating Doc for medical problems.
Denny needs a heart or else. Izzie and George go crazy trying to find one. Derek has the life of a friend in his hands. Cristina gets put in charge of the ER. Also the interns are working under a new attending named Erica who may try to act like Bailey but just can't pull it off.
In the fallout of Izzie's decision to quit the program, the interns try to help Izzie come to terms with the death of her fiancé, Denny, as well as help her deal with her decision. Meredith is forced to decide who will be the man in her future after her fling with Derek during the Prom. Meanwhile, Dr. Webber is confronted by his wife after spending the night at the hospital and George goes to an unlikely person for relationship advice.
Burke's parents arrive at Seattle Grace and Cristina meets them in embarrasing circumstances. The interns lobby for Izzie to be re-admitted to the intern program while Addison decides to take a break from her doctor duties. Meanwhile, a patient lives what she believes to be her last day to the fullest.
With Burke's hand continuing to tremor, Cristina does her best to help him deal with his injury. As George and Callie's relationship continues to grow, Izzie attempts to visit the hospital for the first time since Denny's death. Meanwhile, Alex tends to a patient with numerous injuries.
Bailey treats a young mother battling breast cancer, Derek learns more about Mark and Addisons relationship, the interns defend a residents competence at a hospital staff meeting, and Meredith and Addison examine a couple who find themselves in a rather awkward position.
Cristina scrubs in on the rare humpty dumpty procedure, much to the envy of her fellow doctors, Alex questions his future medical specialty, George and Addison work with a pregnant woman with an unusual dilemma, and Derek receives a surprise visit from his sister.
The men of Seattle Grace go on a camping trip together, Addison and Callie must team up to work on a patient, Meredith assists Sloan with a procedure unlike any she has experienced, and, suspicious of her recent actions at the hospital, Bailey confronts Cristina.
George's father has a serious heart problem that requires surgery and George chooses Burke to do the procedure. Burke doubts himself because he knows the pressure this kind of surgery will put on him, but Cristina believes the team can handle it. Derek works with Meredith on being a couple again and tries work with Addison on more civil terms. A patient has had multiple plastic surgeries so that his girlfriend will like him more. A mom wants her daughter's babysitter fired, after she is brought in with multiple injuries, but the girl likes the babysitter more than her mother.
After a successful operation on his heart, Georges father undergoes surgery for his cancer, Thatcher Grey visits Seattle Grace in order to see his new granddaughter, and Meredith discovers that Derek has trouble sleeping soundly.
After a successful operation on his heart, Georges father undergoes surgery for his cancer, Thatcher Grey visits Seattle Grace in order to see his new granddaughter, and Meredith discovers that Derek has trouble sleeping soundly.
The chief's announcement of his retirement sparks competition between Derek, Burke, Addison, and Mark. A surgical patient endangers the lives of those surrounding her. Meredith's mother becomes lucid. Cristina and Callie consider marriage proposals. The Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic opens and Izzie cannot wait for the first patient to arrive.
The staff is trying to deal with antsy patients while dealing with a major disaster strikes a Ferryboat in Seattle. The Chief must choose a team to go out on location and save what is left of the few lives spared.
Almost everyone searches for Meredith while they ponder her place in the world. Addison considers pursuing Alex. Izzie takes desperate measures to manage the situation she is in. Someone ends up on the brink of death. Cristina and Burke have a blow-up fight about their announcement.
Everyone is pushing for Meredith to survive, or in this case to be revived. People are still dealing with the fallout from the ferry disaster. A young man named Lucas is having problems with brain-mouth coordination. Someone else dies.
Alex grows closer to Jane Doe as he continues to work on her case. Helen Crawford flies into Seattle for surgery. She knows someone on the staff. Colin Marlow enters the race for Chief of Surgery. George faces more problems with Callie and Izzie. Callie reveals a big secret. Someone treats a WWII veteran. Also Derek treats a patient near and dear to him.
Callie's father comes to Seattle Grace and meets George, the hospital starts interviewing candidates for the Chief's position, and Alex helps Jane Doe figure out her place in the world. George and Izzie have a few morning-after symptoms.
Meredith deals with an overbearing step-mother. Christina finds herself caught between Burke and Marlow. Derek fights for the job of Chief. Alex continues the search for Jane Doe's identity. And Izzie's past comes looking for her.
The Chairman of Seattle Grace's board of directors is admitted and all the attendings vie for his favor, Izzy and George keep getting confronted by the results of infidelity, and Preston presses Cristina for a decision.
The interns take the biggest test of their careers, their first-year medical exams, as the residents attend to three injured mountain climbers. Meanwhile Callie's suspicions of George and Izzie grow, and Cristina struggles to write her wedding vows.
The wedding day arrives, and Cristina desperately needs something to take her mind off it, the fourth climber is found and his condition doesn't match the other climbers' stories, and Adele's condition brings a change for Richard.