[The story contains major spoilers from Grey's Anatomy's March 23 episode, "Training Day."]
Kim Raver cites an expression in medicine when talking about where she got the bug to direct: See one, do one.
The actress has, in the span of more than a decade, starred on Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Teddy Altman. She joined the ABC medical drama in its sixth season for three years, only to leave and return for season 14, where she has remained a key player amid the revolving door ensemble. After wrapping up their will they-won't they storyline, Teddy now has a family with Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) and most recently — after the departure of Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo) — has been elevated to chief of surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in season 19.
Raver, whose other well-known TV credits include 24 and Third Watch, says that all those years of watching Grey's Anatomy actresses like Debbie Allen (who plays Dr. Catherine Avery and also executive produces the series) and Chandra Wilson (who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey) work behind the camera inspired her to want to direct.
"We refer to that saying at Grey's: See one, do one. You see the surgery or the procedure, and they pass along the torch. I've been acting for a long time and seeing so many women around me doing things where 10-15 years ago, there might not have been as many women in those roles, just inspired me," she tells The Hollywood Reporter. "[Creator] Shonda Rimes hires so many women doing a multitude of jobs in her company — whether it's directors or editors or sound, there are so many women that I think seeing it, and then being trained in it, made me see that I could be it."
So Raver approached Allen, who in turn challenged Raver to earn the role. Raver says she privately studied co-stars Allen, Wilson and frequent scene partner McKidd as they helmed episodes. Then Allen gave Raver the opportunity to shadow her while she directed a season 18 episode. Shortly after, Raver was assigned the 11th episode in season 19, "Training Day," written by Julie Wong and Meg Marinis, which aired on Thursday as an hour of must-see TV.
"I was blown away by the story and the magnitude of it, and so grateful they were entrusting me with not only the storyline itself, but there's a huge car stunt, there's a brick stunt, there's a song! At first I was exploding with joy and excited, but then I was secretly terrified," says Raver, referencing the biggest moments in the hour, which marked her solo directorial debut. "I really thank Debbie because I felt extremely prepared and it felt like it was really earned. I knew I could do it. But I think then I didn't sleep for three months after."