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What Grey's Anatomy first non-binary doctor means for the future of the series

It's a historic move for the long-running franchise

greys anatomy er fightmaster
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
28 October 2021
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Grey's Anatomy has made history and cast its first-ever non-binary doctor on the long-running ABC drama.

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Viewers might remember that actor E.R. Figtmaster made a small appearance earlier this season when Meredith visited a hospital in Minnesota. They were introduced as Dr Kai Bartley, a world-class research doctor and now, it's been announced that E.R. - who is non-binary, as is Kai - will return for a recurring role for the rest of season 18.

WATCH: Have you been watching the latest season of Grey's Anatomy?

The news is a huge step forward for the medical drama, which has in the past been accused of failing to keep up with the times. Amidst the continuing rumours that the show is soon to end, it's faced criticism from die-hard fans and critics alike that it's simply just not able to keep its finger on the cultural pulse. Could this change be what the franchise needs to keep it going beyond season 18?

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Last year, Ellen Pompeo notably responded to criticism from one Twitter user who called the Shondaland production's attempt to incorporate the coronavirus medical crisis last season a "dumpster fire". "All good!" the actress quote replied. "Seventeen seasons we can't please everyone all the time. It's definitely not easy keeping it going and keeping it great. I get it. Thanks for checking it out anyway and thanks for your feedback it matters. Sending you love."

er fightmaster© Photo: Getty Images

E.R. Fightmaster is the ABC drama's first-ever non-binary star

Meanwhile, transgender and non-binary representation on network TV has made huge strides in recent years. In 2019, Brian Michael Smith became the first Black trans man to be a series regular on a network television show when he was cast in FOX's 9-1-1: Lonestar. Elsewhere, the likes of Shrill, Pose and Good Girls have featured trans and non-binary storylines.

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While we'll have to see whether Grey's delivers on giving their LGBTQ+ fans the non-binary representation they deserve, over on Twitter, fans are certainly excited. One wrote: "Fightmaster is the greatest last name I've ever heard of. Also. HECK YES. So happy for them!"

Another joked: "Are you kidding me?! I've made it 132 seasons without watching this show (no real reason, just hadn't) and NOW THIS?! Well I guess I'll be jumping in now…" and a third simply said: "This is AMAZING news. Well done @GreysABC!!!"

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