‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Kyle Chandler Lobbied to Stay Alive on the Legendary Bomb Episode
This week, Grey’s Anatomy is delighting fans with a vintage two-part episode on May 13. Originally aired in 2006 after Super Bowl XL, episodes “It’s the End of the World” and “As We Know It” feature Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) trying to (ever so carefully) remove a bomb from a man’s torso. She must hold the explosive device in place inside the patient’s body until bomb squad leader Dylan Young (Kyle Chandler) can figure out how to diffuse it.
As Grey’s loyalists know, Dylan didn’t make it out of the OR in time thanks to the bomb detonating, though Chandler tried to convince show creator Shonda Rhimes to come up with an alternative ending.
Kyle Chandler got an Emmy nod for his role on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
Grey’s Anatomy viewers have come to realize that no one inssafe at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. With several main characters being killed off the show during its 17-season run, the medical drama clearly doesn’t play favorites.
In season two, Chandler’s portrayal of the tough yet caring bomb squad leader won viewers over. Coaching Meredith through the heart-racing process of keeping calm with her hands inside a body that happened to house an explosive device, Dylan had fans routing for his safety as well as that of the medical staff. Unfortunately, he took one for the team when he carried out the bomb but didn’t make it out alive.
Chandler’s stint on Grey’s Anatomy earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Prime Time Series. The part also opened the door to landing the starring role in NBC’s drama Friday Night Lights, where Chandler brought home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in the show’s final season. Pompeo spotted Chandler’s talent immediately.
“I remember thinking Kyle Chandler was amazing,” she noted, according to Entertainment Weekly. “I wasn’t surprised his career really took off after that because he was so natural.”
Shonda Rhimes had second thoughts after the 2-part ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ episode
Apparently, Chandler felt quite at home on the Grey’s Anatomy set. Rhimes later revealed that the actor tried to come up with a plan for Dylan to survive, and actually presented her with some possible storylines. But the show runner had to stick to the script.
“He would pitch me ideas on how Dylan, his character, could maybe not explode,” Rhimes recalled. “I would show him the line in the script that said, ‘Dylan explodes.’ That’s literally all it said. He was written to explode. But I did not expect to have Kyle Chandler. I didn’t want to explode him.”
When reflecting on the list of characters that met with an untimely demise, she listed Chandler’s character as one she regrets killing off.
“I probably wouldn’t have blown up Kyle Chandler [in season three],” Rhimes told the Hollywood Reporter in 2013 when asked to name a character she would like to have kept on the show. “We were filming the episode and he was pitching me ideas on how he could stay.”
Another ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ actor attempted to keep his character alive
George O’Malley (T.R. Knight), Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Giannotti), and dare we mention the beloved Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd? The list of the deceased doctors from Grey’s Anatomy still has fans in mourning. Rhimes pointed out another character that viewers connected with early in the show’s rise, where the actor tried to convince Rhimes to reverse his fate.
“Denny [Jeffrey Dean Morgan] dying was really difficult for us,” she said of the character from season two. “I didn’t want to do it, and he didn’t want to come out of his trailer. I cried and everyone at the table read cried. He was a character that we had all become really close to.”
After bonding with his character and the cast of Grey’s Anatomy, Morgan revealed he “fought to stay”. But again, Rhimes went with the plot line as planned.
“It was a grim day, let me tell you,” Morgan told the Los Angeles Times in 2006 of his death scene. “A dark, grim day. I’m still not over it. It broke my heart to leave that show.”
In 2007, both Chandler and Morgan reprised their roles on Grey’s Anatomy in an afterlife-themed episode, “Drowning on Dry Land”.