Remembering Grey's Anatomy's Most Iconic Episodes

The beloved Grey's Anatomy premiered on March 27, 2005. While there's been plenty of laughs, tears, disasters, traumas, love triangles and surgeries since, here's a look back at the most memorable episodes yet

01 of 15

"Into You Like a Train" (Season 2, Episode 6)

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Who can forget the insane train accident that left passengers Bonnie and Tom impaled on a metal pole? The worst part? Only one could be saved. Classic Shonda Rhimes move, are we right? In a dramatic (and emotional!) turn of events, Tom ended up surviving.

02 of 15

"As We Know it" (Season 2, Episode 17)


The bomb episode! This is probably one of the most iconic episodes (and moments) in Grey's history. Throughout the past 15 seasons, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) has been known to put herself in the face of danger — and tragedy. But this will always be the most outrageous Grey move. Meredith, who has her hand on a bomb (inside a patient) can't move, otherwise the bomb could go off. After she successfully removes the device from the patient, she hands it to a member of the bomb squad, Dylan. As Dylan walks slowly and carefully out of the OR, the bomb explodes in his hands, killing him and another member of the squad. Oh, and while this is all happening, Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is busy having a baby.

03 of 15

"Losing My Religion" (Season 2, episode 27)

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We still don't understand why Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) had to die. Izzie (Katherine Heigl) finally found the love of her life in her patient, Denny, only for him to be taken away from her. The scene of Izzie lying in Denny's hospital bed with him — after he had died — will forever haunt us.

04 of 15

"Some Kind of Miracle" (Season 3, Episode 17)

Grey's Anatomy Some Kind of Miracle Ellen Pompeo as Meredith GreyCredit: ABC

Why, Meredith, why? Why do you do the things you do? During the infamous ferry accident episode, Meredith is accidentally knocked off the dock by a panicked passenger involved in the accident, but after a short effort, she gives up and allows herself to sink. Eventually, her saving grace Derek pulls a blue Meredith out of the water and tries to revive her. While in the hospital, Grey takes a visit to the afterlife and sees familiar faces who have died, including her mom, Denny, and her dog, Doc. She eventually has a revelation and fights to live.

05 of 15

"What a Difference a Day Makes" (Season 5, Episode 22)

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Not only was this Grey's 100th episode, but Izzie also found love again! While fighting her cancer battle, Izzie takes in married life with Alex Karev (Justin Chambers).

06 of 15

"Now or Never" (Season 5, Episode 24)

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No big deal, this is the one (but not the only) episode where we cry the whole time. George O'Malley (T.R. Knight) dies, but no one realizes it's him until the very end. After O'Malley was hit by a bus trying to save another woman, he is brought to the hospital and is completely unrecognizable. Grey realizes it's him after he traces 007 (his nickname) on her hand. Chilling!

07 of 15

"Sanctuary" (Season 6, Episode 23)

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The shooting spree episode is one of those iconic episodes that stays with you the entire series. Gary Clark, a disgruntled man who recently lost his wife at Seattle Grace, goes on a shooting spree at the hospital, killing multiple peoople and leaving many injured. After shooting Derek Shepard in the chest, Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and other fight to save his life. A pregnant Meredith miscarries while operating on Dr. Owen Hunt, who was also shot.

08 of 15

"Flight" (Season 8, Episode 24)

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How is it that these doctors have the worst bad luck? After survivng a plane crash, the doctors fight to stay alive in the woods. Arizona endures a life-changing leg injury (that eventually led to amputation) while Grey's little sister, Lexie, dies.

09 of 15

"Get Up, Stand Up (Season 10, Episode 12)

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April Kepner (Sarah Drew) leaves her fiancé Matthew at the altar and runs into the arms of Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), aka the day "Japril" was created.

10 of 15

"Fear (of the Unknown) (Season 10, Episode 24)

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This was the episode that shifted everything! The beloved Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) leaves Grey Sloan in search of something else. But not before "dancing it out" with her bestie, Grey. We're still hoping that Yang makes an appearance in season 15 or 16!

11 of 15

"How to Save a Life" (Season 11, Episode 21)

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Why.Did.This.Happen? How could this happen? To be honest, we still haven't accepted it. After pulling over on the side of the road to help a family who was involved in a car crash, Derek Sheperd eventually becomes the victim when a semi-truck hits his car. R.I.P McDreamy.

12 of 15

"Family Affair" (Season 12, Episode 24)

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Amelia Sheperd and Owen Hunt tie the knot! But not without some drama first. First, Hunt is a no-show. Then, someone forgot the rings. As a pregnant April Kepner retrieves the rings at Grey's house, she suddenly goes into labor. A scared Ben Warren has to perform an emergency c-section with a kitchen knife, yes, a kitchen knife. But not to worry, mom and baby survived!

13 of 15

"Don't Fear the Reaper" (Season 14, episode 11)

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Dr. Miranda Bailey is a machine and nothing bad will ever happen to her ... not. Bailey suffers a heart attack, aka not-so-subtle reminder to slow down.

14 of 15

"We Didn't Start the Fire" (Season 15, Episode 15)

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This is Grey's 332nd episode, making history as the longest-running medical drama on American television — 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," Grey's showrunner Krista Vernoff exclusively told PEOPLE during a set junket in January 2019. "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!"

15 of 15

"All Tomorrow's Parties" (Season 17, Episode 1)

Patrick Dempsey in Grey's Anatomy. ABC

DEREK SHEPHERD IS BACK! Well, he's a hallucination, but he's back! After dying and leaving us heartbroken in season 11, episode 21, McDreamy made a surprise return at the end of the season 17 premiere as part of Meredith's dream ... or should we say McDream?

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