Dr. Jo Karev is hoping to have a lifelong question answered


Emotions are running high in this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

In a PEOPLE exclusive clip of Thursday’s episode, Dr. Jo Karev (Camilla Luddington) comes face-to-face with a woman she believes is her birth mother.

After ringing the doorbell of a suburban home, Jo is taken aback when the woman answers.

“I’m Dr. Karev, Josephine, Jo,” says Jo, before she’s interrupted when the woman’s children begin bickering in the background.

“Apparently my kids forgot that they were old enough to feed and clothe themselves today,” the woman says.

“Listen, if you’re selling magazines or religion we’re good on both, but thank you so much,” she says.

Grey's Anatomy
Credit: ABC

Attempting to explain why she’s there, Jo says, “I was born at Emerson hospital and soon after I was left at a fire station on 47th Street. I think that you were the person who left me. I think you’re my mother.”

Grey's Anatomy
Credit: ABC

At a panel at the Getty Center on Monday, showrunner Krista Vernoff said the episode is “the most powerful hour of TV I’ve ever been a part of,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Vernoff said the writers were in awe of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Like most storylines, they drew inspiration from this real-life event.

“With the Supreme Court situation that happened this year, I wrote the writers and I said, ‘We have to do something about consent. It hurts me too much. We have to do something.’ It was the only time I can point to where I came at them with an issue and the story evolved,” Vernoff said. “What these great writers brought to it is so much character and so much humanity and so much heart.”

WATCH: Grey’s Anatomy By The Numbers! The ABC Series Makes History as the Longest Primetime Medical Drama – Surpassing ER!

Last month, Shonda Rhimes‘ beloved series made history as the longest-running medical drama on American television (with 332 episodes!) — surpassing ER, the groundbreaking NBC series that premiered in 1994 and signed off after 15 seasons.

ER was one of the shows that made me want to write television,” Vernoff exclusively told PEOPLE during a set junket last month. “It changed TV and it forged a path for Grey’s Anatomy to come. We walked in ER’s footsteps and we’re forever grateful. It’s amazing to me that we’re breaking that record. I’m just blown away!”

As an original cast member, Ellen Pompeo, who’s portrayed Dr. Meredith Grey for 15 seasons, also reflected on her journey thus far and says the show has “been so significant” to her personal and professional life.

“Obviously I never anticipated the show still being the No. 1 show on the network,” Pompeo, 49, exclusively told PEOPLE. “How do you walk away from a hit? The fans will dictate when the show ends. As much as we think we’re in control, we’re not. It’s the fans’ show at this point. They control how long the show goes. We’ll see. I kind of just take it year by year and see.”

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