As the first gay male surgeon on Grey’s Anatomy, the character of Dr. Nico Kim caused a lot of excitement when he first joined the team at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
But after some time, fans felt let down by this new addition. Although no one seems to be able to put their finger on it, there’s something missing in the character of Nico or the actor that plays him, Alex Landi.
Here’s what makes Nico different from the other characters and what fans are saying about him.
The addition of Dr. Nico Kim was celebrated
Grey’s Anatomy has a reputation for celebrating diversity, with a unique cast of characters. Throughout its 16 seasons, the show has included a wide variety of characters from many backgrounds. But one of the plot points on Grey’s Anatomy is its ever-changing line-up.
There are plenty of characters that have come and gone over the years. And during Season 15, after losing the lesbian character of Arizona Robbins, the show was suffering for the first time from a lack of diversity.
Because of the LGBT-sized hole left by previous characters, when Nico joined the cast as an Asian, gay man, both fans and the show’s creators were even more optimistic than normal.
After the announcement, Grey’s Anatomy showrunner, Krista Vernoff posted her feelings about the addition on Twitter. “Excited doesn’t begin to cover it,” she wrote.
Jake Borelli, the actor who plays Nico’s love interest, Levi Schmitt was also excited about the addition and new romance (which has been dubbed Schmico).
“I hope we see a lot of ups and downs with them, as you see in any relationship,” Borelli told Refinery29. “I hope at a certain point, the fact they’re two guys doesn’t matter as much.”
Alex Landi was confident about playing the role
Not only was everyone excited about Landi joining the cast, but Landi was super confident that he could get the role. This was evidenced by a story told by Vernoff to Entertainment Weekly.
“I looked at a dozen tapes,” Vernoff told the news outlet, “and [Alex] was the only one, and I said, ‘I need to work with him. I want to meet him because this storyline is ultimately going to be a big deal.'”
“He flew in from New York,” she continued, “and in the casting room, I said, ‘So how long are you going to be in town?’ And he said, ‘I only bought a one-way ticket.’ And I was like, ‘That’s my guy.’ Just the confidence, it was great.”
Landi knew he’d get the role, and his confidence definitely helped with that, but it takes more than confidence to play a character well.
Fans are no longer impressed with Dr. Nico Kim
After almost two seasons with the character of Nico, fans aren’t feeling so excited anymore. Discussion among fans on Reddit seems to indicate that they feel the character has no depth.
We don’t know a whole lot about him except that he’s the muscley, good-looking, gay guy. But fans aren’t really sure who to blame for these shortfalls. Is it bad acting? Or is it bad writing that hasn’t given Landi the opportunity to shine?
“My problem with Nico isn’t the acting, per se,” one fan wrote, “but the fact that all we know about him is that he’s hot, a fellow, and into Levi. It would be nice if he were an actual character. I can’t tell if it’s the acting or the writing, but I prefer to blame the writing until proven otherwise. He’s not been given much.”
“Well yeah he isn’t Meryl Streep, but the writers have given him zero depth so that doesn’t help either,” another person commented.
In general, fans hoped that the writers would give Nico a more complicated storyline so that his character could be better developed. They felt that if the writers gave Landi more to work with, they’d be able to evaluate his acting skills better and decide who to ultimately blame for his currently flat character.
The second half of season 16 returns January 23. Hopefully, the writers will have taken a hint from their fans and we’ll see some changes with Nico’s character by then.