The Grey's Anatomy actor directed Thursday's episode of the ABC medical drama

By Patrick Gomez
Updated May 05, 2016 01:30 PM
Credit: Mitch Haaseth/ABC

The Grey’s Anatomy cast is trading the operating room for the court room for a particularly dramatic episode airing Thursday.

“It’s going to be a very tense hour,” Kevin McKidd tells PEOPLE of directing the episode, which centers on the custody battle between Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw).

McKidd, who also stars on the ABC drama as Dr. Owen Hunt, enjoyed working with his costars in a different setting but admits the subject matter made for a heavy week of shooting.

“We’ve shot on the same hospital sets for years, so it was nice to get out and do some shoots on location and on different stages,” he says. “But things get pretty intense for all of the characters.”

In fact, “it’s like watching Kramer vs. Kramer,” says McKidd, likening the episode to the 1979 Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman custody battle film.

“You’ll get to see each of the doctors really have to choose sides and take the stand and support either Callie or Arizona to get custody of their daughter,” says McKidd. “We haven’t really seen something like that on the show before. And that was really fun to get to be a part of.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays (at 8 p.m. ET) on ABC.