As interns, we know what we want, to become surgeons. And we'll do anything to get there. Suffer through killer exam, endure one-hundred hour weeks, stand for hours on end in operating rooms, you name it, we'll do it. The tough part, though, is reconciling this huge thing we want to be surgeons with everything else we want. Too often, the thing you want most is the one thing you can’t have. Desire leaves us heartbroken, it wears us out. Desire can wreck your life. And as tough as wanting something can be, the people who suffer the most are those who don’t know what they want.

Desire is the twenty-first episode of the third season and the 57th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

The Chairman of Seattle Grace's board of directors is admitted and all the attendings vie for his favor, Izzie and George keep getting confronted by the results of infidelity, and Preston presses Cristina for a decision.

Full SummaryEdit

The episode starts out with a flashback of George and Izzie in bed.


  • Meredith Grey
  • Cristina Yang
  • Izzie Stevens
  • Alex Karev
  • George O'Malley
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Richard Webber
  • Addison Montgomery
  • Callie Torres
  • Mark Sloan
  • Preston Burke
  • Derek Shepherd
  • Jane Doe/Ava
  • Sydney Heron
  • Larry Jennings
  • Nancy Jennings
  • Celeste Newman
  • James Benton
  • Dr. Fischer (front, with Mark Sloan and Richard Webber)

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit


  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
  • Treatment:
    • Hemiglossectomy

Meredith mentioned a patient having a hemiglossectomy.


  • Diagnosis:
    • Pregnancy
    • Pre-eclampsia
    • Fetal edema
    • Seizure
  • Treatment:
    • Epidural
    • C-section delivery

Ava developed pre-eclampsia and her baby had edema. She was given an epidural in an attempt to stabilize her, but she had a seizure, so they rushed her into the OR for an emergency c-section even though she was only 30 weeks.

Lawrence JenningsEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Foreign object in urethra
  • Treatment:
    • Surgical extraction

Larry came in with swollen testicles. They determined the cause to be a small fish lodged in his urethra. They attempted to remove the fish without opening him up, but when he became unstable, they had to open him up to remove it. The urologist then said he'd repair Larry's bladder. Larry was stable and awake after surgery.

James BentonEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Brain herniation
  • Treatment:
    • Nasal lavage
    • Surgery

James came into the clinic with what he thought was a cold that had been dragging on. Izzie planned to discharge him, but Sydney ordered her to do nasal lavage. Bailey then tried again to discharge him, but she noticed a halo sign on the pillow where he had his head. She ordered a CT. The MRI showed that he was leaking spinal fluid through his nose due to a brain herniation. He had surgery to repair the defect.

Celeste NewmanEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • STD panel

Celeste, concerned that she might have contracted some sort of disease from Lawrence Jennings, asked to be tested. Her results all came back negative.

Baby GirlEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Addison delivered Ava's baby and she had some problems after birth, but she was stable later.


Song Performer Scene
"The Secrets of Amanda Prines" The Reddmen
"Better Off" Let's Go Sailing
"Again & Again" The Bird and the Bee
"Nausea" Beck
"How Am I Doing" Anna Waronker

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's anatomy 3x21 promo00:43

Grey's anatomy 3x21 promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song Desire, originally sung by U2.
  • This episode scored 20.08 million viewers.
  • The season 3 extended DVD-box includes an audio commentary on this episode by Sandra Oh.


Episode StillsEdit


Bailey: I know I said you two could use the day to study but we got an all hands on deck situation.
Cristina: A bad car accident?
Meredith: Multiple gunshot wounds?
Bailey: A penis. The chairman of the board's penis.
Meredith: What's wrong with it?
Bailey: His testicles are swollen, which is the understatement of the year.
Cristina: Fantastic! How much? No, uh, you know what? Don't tell me. Let it be a surprise.
Bailey: Look, you and Grey can take him for his ultrasound and his x-ray.
Cristina: The VIPenis.

See AlsoEdit

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

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