As doctors, we know everybody's secrets. Their medical histories. Sexual histories. Confidential information that is as essential to a surgeon as a ten-blade, and every bit as dangerous. We keep secrets, we have to, but not all secrets can be kept. In some ways, betrayal is inevitable. When our bodies betray us, surgery is often the key to recovery. When we betray each other... When we betray each other, the path to recovery is less clear. We do whatever it takes to rebuild the trust that was lost. And then there are some wounds, some betrayals that are so deep, so profound that there is no way to repair what was lost. And when that happens, there's nothing left to do but wait.

From a Whisper to a Scream is the ninth episode of the third season and the 44th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short SummaryEdit

A traumatic car accident at the local market brings in multiple patients to the ER. Erica Hahn is brought in after George loses confidence in Dr. Burke, while his mother is embarrassing him in front of his peers. Cristina also has a crisis of confidence and confesses to the Chief the cover up between her and Burke.

Full SummaryEdit

Over a montage of Cristina, covered in blood and stumble running out of an O.R. cross cut with scenes of Cristina and Dr. Burke sexing each other up in a dimly lit room, Cristina gets the voiceover. Over all of the blood and sex, episode overview: "As doctors, we know everybody's secrets. Their medical histories, sexual histories. Confidential information that is as essential to a surgeon as a ten blade. And every bit as dangerous. We keep secrets. We have to. But not all secrets can be kept."

The cross cuts get faster and faster and then head into reverse over the sounds of machines telling the doctors that their patient is dying.

In the Grey House, Meredith helps Derek work through a crossword on their bed. Still no sex. Enter Cristina, breathless in Standford hoodie and scarf. Not interrupting the non-sex; Derek's kicked out of the room to allow the urgent b.f.f. heart to heart. Christina crawls under the covers looking panicked, explaining her sweatiness on a morning jog. Meredith goes through this whole "we don't jog" routine. Christina askes Meredith if Derek robbed a bank and he got caught and she was driving the getaway car would she turn herself in. Meredith wants to know whose idea it was and tells her that maybe if she drops the scenario maybe she could help her out. Declining, Cristina is back on her way out and Meredith is still confused about the jogging. Once Christina finds out that George hasn't said anything about anything, she exits with a dramatic "I jog sometimes. Without you." and heads down the steps to face down George. She tells him that he has nothing to worry about. Izzie stops in to be jealous of Cristina and Grey's secret b.f.f. secret time, cranky from the candystriping. George refuses to tell Izzie anything.

At Seattle Grace, the Chief walks in looking glum and casual Friday. He spies Burke and Cristina making conspiratorial conversation across the hall. The camera switches so that we can hear her telling him that the sky has already fallen: George knows. Burke tells Christina he's had no tremors in a week and fourteen hours of surgery without a hitch. She takes credit, saying that he could only manage because she was by his side the whole time. Christina is worried that George will say something, on account of his dad going under the knife. She has been working her ass off, running the board surgical procedures she shouldn't know, and covering for him. He takes offense at this; he's been covering for her to and they're a strong team and she shouldn't sweat the O'Malley stuff.

Everyone's getting paged because someone drove a car into the "fish market". All hands except for Izzie, who is prepping Father O'Malley, to Cristina's dismay. George is also off for the day, further worrying her. Bailey is annoyed when she insists that she'll need to leave at a moment's notice to help "her" attending.

As the doctors swirl around the accident victims, an elderly woman explains that the drive-thru wasn't her husband's fault, but that the car was driving her husband. Bailey tries to get her to talk to the cops, but she goes back into the blaming the car and demands to stay with her husband. George hires Burke's old rival from school to operate on his father instead of Burke due to the knowledge of Bruek and Christina's secret. A woman walks into the ER collapsing into Addison's arms. The woman, Janelle, was sent flying through a window from the truck.

Alex is on glass picking duty, plucking shards out of Janelle's skin. Her day of produce sales at the fish market ended abruptly when she was thrown through the window. Mrs. Dickerson drops in to see if she can help her young vegetable-selling friend out. Addison leaves Dr. Sloane to take over until the patient mentions that she hopes that her baby isn't dead. In her plate-glass induced euphoria, she asks Addision to confirm that the doctors are man candy.

Izzie drops in to chat with the O'Malley's about their non-sexual co-ed housing situation. George freaks out as his mother pries into the sexual dynamics.

Dr. Hahn banters with Burke about how his getting shot was karma's revenge on his heart theft. Meredith gossips toCristina to contemplate her chances of getting in on Dr. Hahn's surgery, wondering who the VIP patient is. As Cristina sees George chatting up the Dr. Hahn, her perma-panicked expression gets even more worried and she sprints off.

The Chief is pleasantly surprised to see Dr. Hahn and lays on the recruitment. George is upset by Callie's politely asking about his dad. He drops the bomb that he knows about her adventures with Dr. Sloane.

Torres storms in to confront Meredith, but she's rebuked by all of the medicine going on. Addison sympathizes with Alex's relegation to scut work, but it turns out the patient has more serious problems than needing a chest tube. One of the shards of glass managed to find its way into her heart and Bailey has the X-ray to prove it.

Meredith tries to catch-up with Callie, but finds Derek instead. He shows her the scans of Mr. Dickerson. His spine has narrowed, meaning that he probably couldn't feel his legs and definitely shouldn't have been driving. Preston stops in and Derek grills him about what's going on with Cristina busting up his morning pre-sex romp and skipping out on CT duty. Meredith and Preston provide a cheery cover story. Grey refuses to divulge the contents of their morning chat, charming him off of the hunt. She finds Cristina spying on the O'Malleys, Dr. Han, and the Chief. Spotting her, the Chief asks that she send Burke to his office A.S.A.P., mentioning that Mr. O'Malley has elected to have a the cross-town rival, Dr. Hahn, take care of his valve replacement.

In the stairwell of frequent confrontations, Cristina is still freaking out as she tells Burke about the surgical switch. She's sure that the Chief knows about his shaky hands and suspects that Dr. Hahn is going to be the new head of Cardio. She wants to align their story before he talks to the Chief. Burke tells her that he refuses to align stories and will tell the truth.

Izzie is in the O'Malley room, wondering why they changed surgeons. This just gives meddling Mrs. O'Malley a chance to dig into George's love life. Is he sleeping with Dr. Hahn? Why did Torres break up with him? Izzie spills about Callie's naked thing, and mentions the whole "Meredith" thing that the parents didn't know about. Mom wonders why they'd switch; Izzie says that Dr. Burke is the best, which makes them want him back on the case.

In the locker room, Callie enters in crazy mode, throwing Meredith against the wall and ranting about the McFrickin Code of Silence panties. It takes an Izzie intervention to sort out it wasn't Grey who told George about her sleeping with "McSteamy". Izzie suggests that maybe it was "the jerk that she had sex with"? This cools off Torres, who insists that she didn't betray George since they'd broken up. As she rushes out to find him, Meredith and Izzie have a cute laughing moment about how Callie went cage match on her.

George and Izzie meet up at the nurse's station to chat about his parents and their confusion over his last-minute surgeon trade. He demands that Cristina explain it all, but she just says all that matters is that Dr. Hahn is a great surgeon, his father is in good hands, and nothing else matters. He tells her that there are a lot of other people's fathers in the hospital who care about who their doctor is. She tries to comfort him, but he throws her candystriper status back in her face.

Janelle is hoping to use the excuse of surviving her shard-to-the-heart as a reason to keep her bastard child. Alex encourages her to bring the cheating father back into her life for the sake of the unborn kid. Then she crashes.

As Derek tells Mrs. Dickenson about her husband's numb legs and all of the surgery that he's going to need, she continues to blame the family car.

Again, Cristina is spying, this time on the Chief and Burke. He exits the office with a handshake and a smile. Again, anyone who watch the previously montage knows what happened, but Cristina was too busy prepping excuses, cover stories, and contingency plans to know that the Chief called him into the office because it's retirement time. He wants Dr. Hahn to be head of cardio- and Burke to ascend from wannabe to actual Chief of Surgery.

Back in the dorm room of doctor hookups, Cristina and Burke continue to process the Big News. He's worried about ascending to Chiefdom with a lie in his heart and blood on his shaky hands. Christina sees this as a way out and a road to more procedures for her. Bruke accuses Christina saying that she dragged him across the ethical line, lying to Derek, and making them a team. She says that he's still mad at her for leaving when he got shot. They're both scared when they go into surgery. He's worried about his patients and her career. He says that there's no team, just him making up for her emotional shortcomings. They're both freaked out by the outburst and decide not to say anything else. He picks up his pager and she takes a nap.

George goes back to his father's room. They've switched back to Dr. Burke because of Izzie's advice. He explodes. He tells her to get out and revealing that Izzie's on probation because someone died the last time she was allowed to interact with a patient. She politely exits and George kicks something. Derek invites Burke to scrub in on Mr. Dickerson just as Alex summons him to extract shard of glass. Burke takes the glass removal and requests that Cristina scrub in with him.

In the stairwell, Callie tries to apologize to George, but he's upset.

As they wheel off Mr. Dickerson and Janelle off to surgery, Mrs. Dickerson makes a confession to Bailey. She knew about his problem, her daughter even took away the keys, but she gave them back because he really loves to drive. Bailey takes her hand and leads her to the cops.

Cristina and Burke mask-up and scrub in in silence. Burke extracts the glass and sidelines Christina to prove his point, flex8ng his fingers occasionally as a show.

Aside from Dr. Hahn's flattery of Derek's genius, the other surgery is going less well. Dr. Hahn discovers an aortic tear and calls in the calvary. She needs extra hands; so Meredith runs off to fetch Burke (who has just finished Janelle's heart).

While the heart is getting ready to come off bypass, Burke goes to help. Cristina tries to follow, but he tells her to wait. Meredith realizes the secret when she asks, "do you think Burke can't operate without you?" and Cristina won't respond. She pleads for Grey to keep her mouth shut and get back to the O.R.

Cristina watches over Janelle's heart for signs of life, worried that Burke isn't back now that the heart is ready to come off bypass. Meredith eyes Burke's hands as he stitches up Mr. Dickerson's aorta. Burke returns and they shut down the bypass machines. More finger flexing as the heart starts beating. The patient blows a stitch and squirts all of that blood from the intro all over Cristina. While she's trying to save the day with options, Burke dismisses with an "I don't need you for this."

Bailey responds to a page, and sticks around to help with the next attempt to come off bypass.

Cristina pulls off her mask and stumbles into the hallway soaked in blood. It's almost a repeat of the intro, except that this time, there are more lights and other people around.

After the surgery, Burke stops at the Chief's office to talk. And we see just where Cristina went after she cleaned up a little. She's perched in the back of the room as Preston glares at her.

She watches from the skybridge as the chief makes an impassioned speech. As Dr. Hahn exits she tells her how lucky she is to be studying under Burke.

Alex checks in on Janelle, who made it through the surgery. Addison doesn't think that she will take his advice about calling the unborn fetus's father. She expresses surprise that Alex a protegee / lackey of Dr. Plastics would have such a supportive opinion.

In the Elevator of Convenient Meetings, Derek runs into Burke. He says that he would have helped him. Burke can't deal. Derek says that he thought that Burke was his friend. Burke responds with an "I thought you were my surgeon." The rest of the ride is in silence.

As Cristina leaves the hospital, her concluding voiceover kicks in along with some violins.

The Chief looks at the busy big board, likely contemplating the new difficulty of retirement. Cristina sits outside the hospital and George walks past. Meredith stops to sit down. Cristina says that it was both of their idea to rob the bank, but she couldn't do it anymore. Grey says that she did the right thing. Cristina doesn't know where to go now that she can't go home.

Izzie arrives at the Grey House finding George sulking on the couch. He explains that it's his dad and he's scared. He tries playing the Denny card, but she shuts him down and tells him that it's too early to apologize. She joins him on the couch, steals his spaghetti, and tells him maybe tomorrow.

The aftermath of the shakyhanded situation has made it to the master bedroom. Derek grumps to Meredith about how she watched Preston's hands throughout the surgery and didn't tell him. She says that she couldn't say anything because Cristina is her friend. Derek angrily asks how she could suspect and not even tell him. She reminds him that he cleared him for surgery and asks how he didn't know. Cristina is her best friend, and right or wrong, she was there when he wasn't. You'd think this would ruin their evening, but it seems to work. He turns to her, they give each other loving half smiles, and it looks like their little prohibition on sex is about to end. Cristina enters the apartment. She sees Preston getting ready for bed. They exchange a long soulless look at each other until he breaks it by slowly closing the frosted French door in her face.


  • 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
  • Harold O'Malley
  • Erica Hahn
  • Louise O'Malley
  • Mrs. Dickerson
  • Janelle Duco
  • Nurse Kate
  • Nurse Linda

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Medical NotesEdit

Harold O'MalleyEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Stage III metastatic esophageal cancer
    • Leaking aortic valve
  • Treatment:

George, concerned about Burke, brought in Erica Hahn to do the valve replacement on his father. Then his parents decided they wanted Burke to do it instead.

Larry Shane DickersonEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Broken leg
    • Subdural hematoma
    • Spinal stenosis
    • Tracheal injury
    • Aortic transsection
  • Treatment:
    • Surgery

Larry, 86, came into the ER after running his car into a fish market. He had a broken leg and a head injury. He had air in his mediastinum and a subdural hematoma. Derek also noted that he had spinal stenosis, advanced to the point where he probably couldn't feel his feet at all, meaning he shouldn't have been driving. They took him into surgery. There were complications when Erica found a tear in the aorta while doing the tracheal repair, but she was able to repair the aortic transsection and finish his surgery.

Burke's PatientEdit

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Attempted resuscitation

Burke and Meredith attempted to resuscitate a patient in the ER. They were unsuccessful and time of death was called.

Janelle DucoEdit

  • Diagnosis:
    • Multiple lacerations
    • Pregnancy
    • Traumatic cardiac tamponade
  • Treatment:
    • Stitches
    • Surgery

Janelle came into the ER covered in blood and collapsed. She had multiple lacerations to her face and body. She then told the doctors she was 10 weeks pregnant. She coughed up blood, so they gave her a chest x-ray, which revealed a large shard of glass puncturing her heart, so they scheduled surgery. When she became unstable, she was rushed into surgery. In surgery, when they took her off bypass, she tore a stitch, but they were able to put her back on bypass and repair her heart.


Song Performer Scene
"You and I Are a Gang of Losers" The Dears
  • George sits on the stairs alone. Callie comes in and apologizes to him for sleeping with Mark.
  • Janelle is taken to surgery. Mrs. Dickerson apologizes to her before she goes.
  • Bailey hangs back to talk to her and she admits that she gave Larry back his keys.
  • Bailey takes her to talk to the police.
"9 Crimes" Damien Rice
  • Burke struggles to get ready to operate on Janelle. He eventually gets in.
  • Burke maintains that it's a normal complication and puts her back on bypass.
  • Bailey comes in and Burke has Bailey step in while Cristina leaves, covered in blood.
  • Burke comes into the Chief's office to confess, but Cristina has already told him.
"New Day" Kate Havnevik
  • Bailey watches Mrs. Dickerson talk to the police.
  • Cristina walks past.
  • Richard looks at the OR board.
  • George refuses to look at Cristina while Meredith stops to sit with her.
  • Izzie comes home and George tries to apologize, but she's not ready to hear it.
  • Derek realizes that Meredith knew something was up with Burke.
  • Cristina comes home and Burke shuts her out of the bedroom.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Grey's Anatomy Season 3 Episode 9 Promo00:30

Grey's Anatomy Season 3 Episode 9 Promo

  • This episode's title originated from the song From a Whisper to a Scream, originally sung by Elvis Costello.
  • This episode scored 18.51 million viewers.
  • This episode was narrated by Cristina, making this the first episode to be narrated solely by Cristina, as well as only the third episode of the series to not be narrated solely by Meredith, following What Have I Done to Deserve This? and Losing My Religion.


Episode StillsEdit


George: Hey. How's my dad?
Izzie: George, your ex is hardcore. Passionate, but hardcore.
George: Yeah, I know. How is my dad?
Izzie: Fine.
George: And my mom? Is she driving you crazy? Has she offered to iron your scrubs? She does that. She offers to iron things. Weird things.

Meredith: Hey Callie, I was gonna come and find you. What did you want to talk to me about?
Callie: (rolling up her sleeves) Panties.
Izzie: Ah... Callie, what’cha up to?
Callie: I’m gonna kick Meredith’s ass right now. (She throws Meredith against the lockers.)
Meredith: Get off me! (pushes Callie off of her)
Callie: I kept your secrets, I was discreet! I was a really good friend to you and I didn’t have to be. And then go and do this?! (throws her against the lockers again)
Meredith: Do what?!
Izzie: Hey Callie, use your words! Use your words, Callie!
Callie: Panties, Meredith! I’m talkin’ about the McFrickin’ code of silence pair of panties I pulled off the bulletin board. Not to mention the adulterous McSex I witnessed, you remember that?
Izzie: (gets between Meredith and Callie) Hey, hey, hey! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but she’s very little and you’re hurting her!
Callie: You told George! My night with McSteamy was not yours to share!
Izzie: That’s what this is about? Your sex with McSteamy?
Callie: You told Izzie!
Izzie and Meredith: No! No!
Meredith: Callie! You told me you slept with someone. You never said it was Sloan. George told me it was Sloan.
Callie: George? George told you... Who told George?
Izzie: Maybe perhaps the guy you slept with?
Callie: George thinks I betrayed him, and I didn't. I didn't we were broken up.
Meredith: Well, then. Go. Tell. George. (Callie leaves)
Izzie: Dude, she went all cage fighter on you! (Izzie and Meredith laugh)
Meredith: I know!

Mark: (to Alex) I'd consider leaving that alone until she goes into the OR.
Janelle: Yeah about that, when's that gonna happen because there's a big shard of glass stuck in my heart, y'know.
Alex: You'd be surprised how long people can live with stuff stuck inside their bodies-- glass, shrapnel, bullets.
Mark: I saw a guy once with half a chair leg in his chest, that was one hell of a splinter.
Janelle: Can we focus here?

See AlsoEdit

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

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