Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 tackled the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial. As some fans of the show might know, the virus has changed how surgeons interact with their interns and surgical residents. The new season of Grey’s also introduced viewers to several new faces. However, is actor Lisa Vidal a part of the medical drama? Here’s what Showbiz Cheat Sheet knows.
Lisa Vidal plays Dr. Alma ‘Mama’ Ortiz on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17
In Nov. 2020, Grey’s Anatomy aired season 17 on ABC. The series went on hiatus while filming season 16 last year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show halted production and ended its season early. When it returned, the long-running series focused on the real-life virus that is sweeping the nation.
While Grey’s Anatomy highlighted Meredith Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo) COVID-19 diagnosis, the show also shed light on how the hospital handled the incoming surgical interns. In Grey’s Season 17, Grey Sloan welcomed three new hopeful surgeons to the medical program. Soon, viewers learned that two new interns are a mother-daughter duo named Alma Ortiz (Vidal) and Sara Ortiz (Melissa DuPrey). On the show, Dr. Tom Koracick (Greg Germann) gave them the nicknames “Mama and Young Ortiz.”
During a recent episode of Grey’s, Mama Ortiz helps Dr. Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) realize how Black and Brown Seattle residents are losing their homes due to the pandemic. The confrontation forces the Harper Avery heir to see his privilege as a rich, Black man. DuPrey shared with Chicago Sun-Times that it was important for both her and Vidal to represent Puerto Rican women through their roles accurately.
What was Lisa Vidal in before ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 17?
Although Vidal made her Grey’s Anatomy debut in season 17, the actor is no stranger to network television. During the 1980s, the New York native got her start on several TV shows, including The Cosby Show, Miami Vice, and ABC Afterschool Specials, per IMDb. After working on other projects throughout the 1990s, Vidal landed a recurring role on ER as Sandy Lopez. Following her time on the show, she booked the part of Irma Levine in Boston Legal.
In 2012, BET aired a TV series by Mara Brock Akil called Being Mary Jane. The show starred Gabrielle Union as Mary Jane Paul. Vidal joined the cast in season 1 as Kara Lynch and played the newscaster’s best friend and producer. When the series ended in 2019 after five seasons, Vidal opened up about closing that chapter of her life.
“I was grateful that it had good closure,” Vidal said of the Being Mary Jane series finale.
Vidal’s ‘Grey’s’ co-star, Kelly McCreary, supported the actor after her son’s suicide
Shortly after her Grey’s Anatomy appearance, Vidal’s son, Scott Jarred Cohen, died by suicide at age 28. Like his mother, Cohen was an actor. In 1994, he appeared alongside Vidal in the 1994 movie I Like It Like That.
On Mother’s Day 2021, The Baker and the Beauty star paid tribute to her son via Instagram. In the heartfelt post, she reflected on her child’s impact on his family. She also said that “a piece of my heart has been torn away.”
Underneath the post, several of Vidal’s former and current co-stars shared their support for the actor and her tribe. Grey’s Anatomy star, Kelly McCreary, highlighted Vidal’s strength in the comments section. McCreary plays Dr. Maggie Pierce.
“Oh, Lisa,” McCreary commented on Instagram. “I am sending deepest condolences on this unimaginable loss and love from the very bottom of my heart.”