In a Word: Five med-school grads are tossed together for their surgical internships at Seattle Grace Hospital, four of them supervised by a Chief Resident who's aptly nicknamed "The Nazi." It's kind of like "Survivor" with scalpels.
The Action: Hazing, mind games, favoritism, and competition make for fertile dramatic ground, as central character and narrator Meredith Grey navigates friendships, rivalries, and romance among her fellow interns. Meredith also has the burden of living up to her mother's reputation: Ellis was a pioneer surgeon who broke barriers for women in the medical profession. Now she's been laid low with Alzheimer's.
The season opens with Meredith and Dr. Derek Shepherd waking up together after a one-night stand, compliments of an encounter at Joe's Bar. It's a "what did you say your name was?" kind of thing. Then Meredith is off for her first day as a surgical intern at Seattle Grace Hospital, only to find that Derek is the head neurosurgeon ... and her boss. Oops. It's an unlikely coincidence, but we're happy to go along for the, er, ride.
Being a medical intern, it turns out, is also a lot like going back to junior high. Chief Surgeon Richard Webber is like the principal, and Chief Resident Miranda Bailey fills the tough-love guidance counselor role. In fact, at one point Dr. Webber has to call a meeting when STDs start spreading like Starbucks among the staff, thanks to skirt-chasing intern Alex Karev.
Meredith tries to draw the line with McDreamy, but their attraction has a way of bubbling up from time to time, even leading them to do it in his car. Their fling causes her some trouble, and the others sometimes accuse him of favoritism. Meanwhile, super-focused intern Cristina Yang acts on her attraction to cardiothoracic surgery chief Dr. Preston Burke -- and winds up pregnant.
Meredith wants to draw the line with her colleagues, too. She needs two roommates so she can hang onto her mother's home, but she's reluctant to accept fellow interns George O'Malley and Izzie Stevens as housemates. Turns out this line-drawing business isn't Meredith's strong suit. Will somebody get this woman a pencil and a ruler? She gives in, much to George and Izzie's glee.
At the hospital, the residents make a sport of terrorizing the interns. George, whose lousy test scores mean he sewed up his internship without a stitch to spare, is tapped as the first intern to assist in a heart surgery. Dr. Burke made the choice just to mess with everyone's heads. When George freezes, he gets the nickname "007" (referring to the Bond flick "Licence to Kill").
Along the way, Meredith begins to suspect a missing planet in Derek's emotional orbit. She's right: His estranged wife, Addison, joins the staff, and Derek decides to give the marriage another chance. Their union frayed when Addison slept with Derek's best friend, Mark.
Our Take: Alex Karev needs a public whipping.
Your Take: Should Addison get a public whipping too?