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Station 19's Jaina Lee Ortiz on happy ever afters, season 7's cancelation and bringing pride to the Latinx community

 Station 19 season 7 will premiere on ABC on March 14 at 10/9c.


Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
14 March 2024
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After seven seasons Station 19 will come to an end in 2024, closing the chapter on Jaina Lee Ortiz's Captain Andy Herrera and her colleagues in Seattle, Washington.

"We're living by the idea of taking it one day at a time because we have no idea what's in front of us," Jaina tells HELLO! of these final few weeks of filming. "I think the main goal for everyone is to enjoy these moments and make the best of it and go out with a bang because why not?" 

Jaina Lee Ortiz© Matt Kalish

The show's cancelation came as a surprise to many; it was the lead-in for its sister show Grey's Anatomy and has been one of ABC's top-rated scripted shows for several years. But the decision, says Jaina, is not one that she has been overthinking, instead choosing to reflect on the honor of reaching over 100 episodes — a rare feat in today's TV landscape: "I'll be walking out with so much pride and gratitude, and as someone in this unpredictable, unstable business, you can't really ask for more." 

Here, she talks about what fans can expect from the final 10 episodes and what she is planning to take from the set… 

Have you been approaching this season any differently as it is the last? 

Jaina: I never even thought it would last this long! To be a part of something that has been able to do so well, and to reach that 100 episode mark, has truly been an honor and an accomplishment that I never saw coming so in a sense I'll be walking out with so much pride and gratitude and as an actor and as someone in this and this unpredictable, unstable business, you can't really ask for more. 

Jaina Lee Ortiz as Andy Herrera© James Clark
Jaina Lee Ortiz as Andy Herrera

Andy is now captain, which is the culmination of everything she's been working towards for seven seasons, how is this going to change her goals?

Jaina: Ultimately I wanted a bigger life for Andy outside of her job – but I'm talking as myself, as Jaina. I think Andy's main motivation and passion in life was to succeed in her career, and sometimes for women, we don't always get a happily ever after when it comes to their love life and relationships, so this is Andy's version of her happily ever after, being in the position that she's always wanted to have. 

And a lot of women look up to and respect having that hunger to live out your dreams, and I think we really get to see that in the final season.

Jason Winston George and Jaina Lee Ortiz in Station 19© James Clark
Jason Winston George and Jaina Lee Ortiz in Station 19

With Andy being captain now, will that change the way that she approaches her colleagues? 

Jaina: Yes! Andy has done such a great job at being a friend, and being loyal, so this feels like a compromising position for her because she has to draw the line and she has to set boundaries; I don't think she's ever had to do that in the past because she was never in this position of power. 

She's not an equal anymore, and I feel like although this is one of the beautiful qualities that she was taught by her dad, it's one thing to witness and it's another thing to experience, so Andy is going to have a rude awakening. 

But in order to succeed you have to fail and you have to make mistakes along the way for you to get right where you're supposed to be. There will be some moments of struggle – and we will see this with Jack, who at the end of season six was in peril, and now Andy has to make a decision but as a boss, not a friend. That's when it becomes so hard because we love with our hearts but as leaders and as people in positions of power, we have to love intellectually. And we will see her struggle with that in the first episode. 

Five things you need to know about Station 19 before it returns

What can we expect from Andy and Theo's working relationship this season?

Jaina:  Andy and Theo will forever be the brother and sister they never had – and oh God, it's so heartbreaking… well, now you know that something heartbreaking is going to happen. There is tension and they enter a huge fork in the road. 

Is the 100th episode one that Station 19 that fans can look forward to? 

Jaina: It is extremely emotional and heartwarming and exciting and we get to celebrate and reach a full circle moment for Andy. I feel like it will bring a lot of pride to the Latinx community because it is so rare to see a Hispanic female in a leadership position. 

It's a beautiful episode, and we get to see hints of some flashbacks – almost like when your life flashes before your eyes, it's almost a rapid, fast reel from the beginning up until now – and you see the the obstacles, the challenges, the heartbreak, the beauty and the joy and the achievement. 

But I want to add, I never saw 100 episodes coming and to be able to reach this milestone with our cast and crew and producers is truly something that I don't think any of us will ever forget because we have formed a family. 

© ABC

Is there something that you really want to see for Andy before the season ends? 

Jaina: I would love for her to find true love and possibly have a family and juggle family life with being a captain but I don't think we'll get there. Andy is not the typical protagonist – which is okay. She's so career driven that in a way her career is her love, and if that's her happily ever after then that in itself is beautiful because not every woman gets to live out their career goals. 

Watch the Station 19 season 7 official trailer

How does this fan response to the cancelation make you feel? 

Jaina: I feel tremendously grateful for the show and what it has done for me in my career and also my personal life; I was able to grow and, and learn new things about myself as an actor, and having that self exploration throughout the seasons has been so beneficial in my life. 

Am I heartbroken? Yes. But do I understand that this is part of the business? Yes. Am I optimistic for the future? Of course, and the fact that I was able to have a piece of this, whether it was one season or seven seasons, that itself is something that I will always cherish. 

But if there is an opportunity to come back, I'm always wide open. I am forever devoted to Shonda Rhimes and Shondaland and everything that they've not only given us but given this world and the audience; it has been one of the greatest honors of my career thus far. Right now though, I am not worrying too much about the future and I have no idea what it looks like, but I am just sitting in gratitude and cherishing the things and the moments that we're able to have together with something that I'll just hold on to. 

The cast of Station 19© Instagram
The cast of Station 19

Are you aware of the number of petitions that have been started to keep the show going? 

Jaina: No, I'm actually not. I try not to get myself swept around that because it's something out of my control, you know? The only comforting thing that I feel like I have to offer is to say that we had seven beautiful seasons and not a lot of people can say that about their favorite shows so I hope that those seven seasons are cherished and remembered and celebrated. 

What are you going to take away with you into the rest of your life from what you've learned? 

Jaina: I'm going to take an understanding of the human condition in a way that I've never understood before; the fact that we can feel as much as we feel through these stories and through these characters and the impact that it's had on people is something that I'll take with me. 

And also the connections that I've made; just because the show is ending doesn't mean that our relationships and our friendships and all the connections we've made throughout the seasons will change or will end. 

I'm walking away with my chosen family; there will be many, many reunions and laughter. 

Is there a physical item that you plan to take with you on your last day?

Jaina: Yes, I plan on taking my helmet – but only if it's approved by Shonda. And my dad is begging that I take the shield, but I keep saying: 'Dad, what am I gonna do with the shield?' And he says, 'Put it in a memory box!' 

0But one of the prop masters is seeing what I'm allowed to take, and it has to be special – I do not want my turnouts! They are my least favorite piece of wardrobe to wear – although during the winter they keep us all warm so I can't complain too much about that!`

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