A ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Writer Has Allegedly Swindled Shonda Rhimes in the Style of Shondaland’s ‘Inventing Anna’

Shonda Rhimes is no stranger to tales that contain fact stranger than fiction. One of the writer and producer’s most recent projects, Inventing Anna, followed the story of a pathological liar. Now, it seems like one of Rhimes’ own Grey’s Anatomy writers is guilty of the same thing. So, who is Elisabeth Finch?

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ writer Elisabeth Finch and her worrying medical history

Elisabeth Finch films the "Silent All These Years" episode, which focuses on Jo confronting her past.
Writer Elisabeth Finch (R) consults on an episode that focuses on Jo confronting her past. | Mitch Haaseth/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Finch started writing for Grey’s Anatomy after a since-deleted personal essay of hers published by Elle. In the piece, she discussed living and working with chondrosarcoma, a rare and usually fatal form of bone cancer. In her essay, Finch talked about how she continued working — against the orders of her doctor. 

“When I defied Dr. Cryptic’s orders to take an indefinite leave of absence from work — he thought chemo deserved my sole attention — he doubted my commitment to getting well,” she wrote in her article, according to Vanity Fair. At the time, Finch was working on The Vampire Diaries

“I watched the producers’ cuts under a fog of Demerol, punched up dialogue about vampire-werewolf hybrids with a shunt in my spine,” Finch continued. “Yes, I was down 17 pounds, bald, vomiting relentlessly, but I was still living alone. Still stubborn as hell.”

The Elle essay caught the eye of a development executive at Shondaland, Rhimes’ production company. Finch ended up getting hired to work on Grey’s Anatomy. Since joining the show in 2014, Finch was credited as a producer on 172 episodes, and a writer for 13. 

Most notably, Finch was credited as a writer on a 2018 episode of the medical drama, called “Anybody Have a Map?” In the episode, a patient undergoes an operation to treat her aggressive chondrosarcoma. 

The people who worked at Shondaland were extremely supportive of Finch. They granted her time off for her chemotherapy and clinical trials. They also found her story inspirational; Finch was the only person who survived in one of her clinical trials yet she still came to work as often as she could. 

Elisabeth Finch’s wife claims it was all a lie

After years of working at Shondaland, everyone thought they knew Finch’s story. That all changed in 2022 when Rhimes received a mysterious email. The message was from Jennifer Beyer, Finch’s estranged wife. 

Beyer was writing to tell Rhimes that Finch was lying. Even though no one wanted to believe it, as they looked into Finch’s story, things started to fall apart. 

Finch first claimed she had been diagnosed with cancer while she was working on The Vampire Diaries. According to Vanity Fair, she would visit her family in New Jersey, bald from alleged chemo treatments and sporting a bandage where the chemo port would be. 

However, Beyer claimed Finch still had her eyebrows and eyelashes. Notably, chemo patients typically lose these features while being treated. Also, she didn’t have a scar where the port would have been. 

According to Beyer, when she became suspicious and confronted Finch, the writer admitted, “She had at one time had cancer, but that she got chemo, and recovered.”

Her estranged wife also claimed that Finch lied about her brother committing suicide (he’s alive), a friend dying in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, and receiving a kidney from True Blood star Anna Paquin (the actress has denied this claim).

Elisabeth Finch is now on a leave of absence from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Since her story has been called into question, Finch has gone on a personal leave of absence from Grey’s Anatomy. There’s no word yet on when, or if, she’ll come back, or what kind of consequences she might face. 

In a statement about her leave, Finch said, according to Deadline, “I will always remain one of Grey’s Anatomy’s biggest fans. I loved the show from day one and had the honor to write for it since season 11. The proudest moment of my career was watching survivors of rape receive the episode ‘Silent All These Years.’”

Grey’s Anatomy is one big-hearted, brilliant family,” she continued. “As hard as it is to take some time away right now, I know it is more important that I focus on my own family and my health. I’m immensely grateful to Disney, ABC, and Shondaland for allowing me to do so and for supporting me through this very difficult time.”

Finch’s story of sickness, death, and organ donation has not been confirmed or denied. But fans can’t help but point out the crazy similarity between her story and Rhimes’ own Inventing Anna series. 

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