Midori Francis Says It Was 'Awesome' to Be Part of Ellen Pompeo's 'Closing Chapter' on 'Grey's Anatomy'

The Sex Lives of College Girls actress joined the cast of Grey's Anatomy in season 19 as new intern Mika

Midori Francis Says It Was 'Awesome' to Be Part of Ellen Pompeo's 'Closing Chapter' on Grey's Anatomy
Midori Francis (left) and Ellen Pompeo. Photo: abc

Midori Francis is scrubbing in to Grey's Anatomy — just in time to close out the iconic Ellen Pompeo's final chapter in the show.

Francis joined the show for its 19th season alongside a fresh group of interns, including Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Alexis Floyd and Niko Terho.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE, the 28-year-old actress shares how it felt to be part of Pompeo's last days as the show's longest-standing character, Meredith Grey.

"To know that she was taking a step back as a series regular and that we were going to get to be a part of that closing chapter of one phase of this iconic character… it was awesome that we got to be the new intern, but we got to be a part of that," Francis says. "That's so cool."

"I mean, this show has meant so much to so many people, so to be there for such a big milestone was awesome," she adds.

GREY’S ANATOMY - “I’ll Follow the Sun” - On Meredith’s last day at Grey Sloan, the doctors plan a goodbye surprise and Nick confronts her about the future of their relationship. The interns compete to scrub in on a groundbreaking procedure, and Richard asks Teddy an important question. THURSDAY, FEB. 23 (9:00-10:01 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC) ELLEN POMPEO
Ellen Pompeo and Midori Francis. abc

Francis notes how the cast — especially those who had been working on the set for 20 years — were so welcoming when she first joined the series because everyone wanted "this iconic show to continue" and were happy to usher in "new blood."

She specifically recalls getting valuable advice from Camilla Luddington, who has portrayed Dr. Jo Wilson since season 9.

"She was just reminding us that the fans have been with the show for so long, and they're so attached to these characters, and that sometimes it takes some time for them to warm up to new characters and new situations," Francis shares of Luddington, 39.

"And so [she said] to focus on the work and not necessarily the external reaction, which I think was really nice," she continues. "Coming in and just having that expectation made [it] less scary. Like, 'This could happen but it's not the end of the world.' So that was good."

Grey's Anatomy Recap
Liliane Lathan/abc

As for what's next for her character, Francis says she's excited for what's to come — including more scenes with the "OGs," which she says were "beautiful and exciting" to film — and how Mika's story will play out this season.

"I've already seen so much more of her character and her struggles and her perseverance fleshed out," Francis says. "It's amazing to play someone who really — Mika is a lot of fun, but she's going through it and she's making a lot of sacrifices to be a doctor."

GREY’S ANATOMY - “Haunted” – It’s Halloween night at Grey Sloan Memorial. Meredith and Nick try to spend some alone time together; Levi is stressed due to overworking, and Winston and Owen have the interns practice trauma training on a real cadaver on a new episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” THURSDAY, OCT. 27 (9:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Liliane Lathan) ADELAIDE KANEKEVIN MCKIDD, ANTHONY HILL, ADELAIDE KANE, MIDORI FRANCIS, NIKO TERHO, HARRY SHUM JR.
Liliane Lathan/ABC

Grey's Anatomy isn't the only project Francis is working on at the moment, though.

The Sex Lives of College Girls actress also stars in the Blumhouse thriller Unseen, playing a nearly-blind doctor running to escape from her ex-boyfriend.

"I was just so ready to do this kind of thing," Francis says. "I mean, to just honestly — the simplest way I could put it — to scream, to cry, to fight for my life, run around outside and just do something this gritty and this high stakes, as an actor, I think I haven't really done something like that for a long time and I was just so excited."

Midori Francis as Emily in the Horror/Thriller film, UNSEEN, a Paramount Home Entertainment and MGM+ release
Blumhouse Television

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Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Unseen is now available on digital and on demand.

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