- "I learned in the Army that a leader is only as good as the people around him."
- —Owen Hunt
Owen Hunt is Chief of Surgery and Chief of Trauma at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital (formerly Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital). He previously served in the army, but was honourably discharged due to the death of his entire platoon, and was later a large factor in George O'Malley's decision to enlist. He was romantically involved with Cristina Yang, but the two are currently apart, due to their different opinions on having family.
Owen grew up in Seattle, living with his parents just 6 miles from Seattle Grace. As a child, he used to play soccer, playing left defender. Apparently, he has no siblings. He attended Northwestern and then got an MD from Harvard. He did his residency at Maryland Shock Trauma Center before enlisting in the army shortly after the events of 9/11 and becoming an army trauma surgeon.
Owen managed to impress Cristina as soon as they met, having performed an emergency-tracheotomy in the field with a pen, and later closing up the gash in his leg with a staple gun without any kind of anesthesia. Later the same night, Owen found Cristina lying outside the hospital, having been impaled through the abdomen by a falling icicle. He carried her inside and treated her, eventually removing the icicle, and the two bonded. After Owen had taken care of Cristina, Dr. Webber offered him a job, but Owen turned down the offer as he was expected to return to Iraq. He left the hospital that night, but not before surprising Cristina with a passionate kiss that left her completely taken aback.
Owen returned to Seattle two months later, having been honorably discharged from the army, and took a job as the new Chief of Trauma Surgery at Seattle Grace. Cristina first avoided him, but after he had seemingly even forgotten her name, calling her "Christine", she confronted him. Owen then told her about his platoon's demise and explained that while he remembered her name, that belonged to the past, and he was now living in the present. Owen then kept his distance to Cristina and tried to act professionally towards her, but couldn't hide his jealousy as Mark Sloan was constantly trying to hit on her, or his anger when he heard Sloan call her "bad, cheap wine." Owen himself compared her to a single malt scotch.
When Owen questioned Cristina's motives on doing surgery, she opened up to him and told him the story of her father's death, which encouraged Owen to start moving closer. However, after a patient who became special to Owen died, he found himself arguing with her outside Joe's and then kissing her passionately, almost violently. This caused the two to avoid each other again, until Owen showed up outside her house on the doorstep and told her that he thought she was beautiful. A little later Cristina was upset for not getting the solo surgery, so Owen took her to the Vent, which cheered her up and the two kissed.
As Owen's moods continued to swing, Cristina snapped at him and told him to stop his hot and cold act. Owen responded with asking her out, but in the evening he was so nervous that he went to get a drink, ultimately showing up on her doorstep hours late and drunk. Cristina was angry at first, but after Owen, who was standing in her shower fully clothed and shoes on, told her about his best and worst surgery ever, she softened, came to the shower with him and started to take off his wet clothes. Owen then passed out and woke up next morning, naked in Cristina's bed, where Callie then found him. Later that day Callie told him not to give up on her too easily, and he confronted Cristina, asking her to give him another chance, which she did.
After this, their relationship - which was compared to a Victorian romance novel - was mostly centered around stolen touches and glances from across the room and although they flirted, it stopped when Owen's secret ex-fiancée Beth appeared at Seattle Grace, where her father was admitted. This caused Owen to have a panic attack and Cristina calmed him down, which resulted in Owen falling asleep on top of her in an on-call room and Cristina smiling happily as she held him in her arms. Though Cristina was wary at first after learning of Beth's identity, she and Owen moved on and he soon confessed that he wanted to be around her for the rest of his life.
Cristina and Owen started spending nights together - though they still hadn't slept with each other - but were soon confronted by new problems: Owen's PTSD from his time in Iraq started to manifest itself as violent nightmares and hypnagogic hallucinations. Ultimately, one night Owen fell asleep next to Cristina in her bed, and the spinning blades of the ceiling fan above the bed reminded him of helicopter blades, which caused him to have an hallucination and strangle Cristina in the middle of a nightmare. Cristina was rescued by Callie, who was alarmed by the noise coming from the bedroom, and Owen woke up, having no idea what was going on. He then broke down crying and begged for forgiveness, and Cristina - despite Meredith and Callie's resistance - forgave him, saying his PTSD is a war wound and not his fault. Soon after this they made love for the first time in an on-call room, but Cristina realized that she's afraid to fall asleep in his arms, and broke up with him. After this, Owen started to see Dr. Wyatt, who helped him name and express his emotions and recognize the triggers to his PTSD (such as the blades of the ceiling fan). As Owen was further torn apart by his feelings for Cristina which he couldn't express because he thought it would be cruel to do so, Dr. Wyatt taught him to use three word sentences as substitutes to the three words he wanted to say the most (I love you). As Owen continued to avoid her and only spoke to her with brief three word sentences, Cristina became more and more confused and annoyed. When she finally confronted him in front of the hospital, he explained what the speaking in three word sentences meant and told her that he was trying to make things right by letting her go. Cristina then told him to "take care now" (I love you) and left.
As his therapy progressed, Owen started to move closer to Cristina, but she seemed to withdraw, asking him about finally going to visit his mother and telling her that he was back from Iraq. This caused Owen to ponder things and he came to the conclusion that at heart, his problems were caused by his unfinished business in Iraq. He then told Cristina that he was returning to the army, but she gave no support to the idea, later telling him: "I don't want you to die." She then convinced him to abandon the idea of returning to the army and go visit his mother with her instead. After seeing his mother, Owen was able to sleep without nightmares, and with the violent dreams now gone, he and Cristina decided to get back together.
Later, Cristina was missing a cardio attending to teach her, so Owen brought over his fellow army surgeon, Dr. Teddy Altman, as a gift for Cristina. Teddy began to mentor Cristina, and, after a rough start, the two got along well. As it turned out, however, Teddy's presence caused a lot of trouble for Cristina and Owen, as she and Owen had had feelings for each other in the army without the other knowing. After this matter was revealed, Cristina was willing to stand aside, but Owen assured her that he only wanted her. This caused Teddy to think about leaving the hospital, and Cristina, whose workaholic nature had been awoken by the motivation of working with Teddy, offered her an exchange in panic: if Teddy stayed, she could have Owen. Teddy then told Owen about the offer and he confronted Cristina, telling her that their relationship matters and she doesn't get to toss him aside like that. Cristina, however, remained uncertain and eventually broke up with him, telling him that until he had made his choice, the two of them had no business together.
The triangle between Owen, Cristina, and Teddy wasn't settled until the hospital was invaded by the murderous gunman Gary Clark. Owen and Teddy made it out of the hospital with a patient, but after realizing that Cristina was still inside, Owen made his decision and ran back to the hospital to find her. He then found Cristina in an OR where she was operating on Derek, who had been shot earlier, with Jackson, Meredith, and April - and with Gary Clark holding his gun against her head, ordering her to stop operating. Owen then tried to distract the gunman from Cristina, even yelling to him as he was about to shoot her: "That is the woman that I love. You shoot her, you touch her, and I will kill you!" The situation became even more dangerous when Meredith stood up, ordering the gunman to kill her instead of Derek. As the barrel of the gun moved to Meredith, Owen jumped towards Clark, forcing the shooter to shoot him instead of Meredith. After the gunman had gone, Cristina, not knowing the extent of his injuries, urged Meredith to save Owen. Luckily, it turned out the bullet had only pierced his shoulder, and in the wake of the disaster, Owen and Cristina got back together.
After the shooting, Cristina suffered from PTSD and Owen took care of her, eventually proposing to her. Not long after, they got married in front of all their friends in a ceremony held at Meredith's and moved in together, purchasing an old firehouse that they decorated. Cristina later found out that she was pregnant with their child. Owen was thrilled, but Cristina, not wanting to become a mother, told him that she was going to have an abortion. Owen tried unsuccessfully to talk her out of it, and ultimately kicked her out of their home for failing to give him a voice in the matter. However, Cristina found herself unable to go through with the abortion without Owen's support, which alarmed Meredith, who, after telling him what sort of miserable future would await both Cristina and the child if she kept it, convinced Owen to let Cristina have the abortion. Owen held Cristina's hand during the procedure, but the moment seemed bittersweet and involuntary.
It soon became clear that Owen was not okay with it. He and Cristina grew apart, he became more and more distant and silent, until the situation finally exploded during Zola's birthday party. Owen and Cristina got into a huge argument in front of all of their friends, which ended with Owen accusing Cristina of killing their baby. After this, the situation only grew worse, and during a session with a marriage counselor, it became clear that they both failed to understand each other's point of view on the baby issue.
Owen's discomfort and anxiety eventually led him to getting drunk and having a one night stand with a patient's friend. He confessed his infidelity to Cristina, who had earlier suspected him of having an affair with nurse Emily Kovach, which completely devastated her. Owen moved out of the firehouse and Cristina started to plan to move to Minnesota and accept the fellowship offer at Mayo Clinic. However, before leaving, she slept with Owen one last time, forgiving his infidelity.
After Cristina and the others had been rescued from the forest in the wake of the plane crash, Owen promised to take care of Cristina, who was in a psychosis. He took her to the firehouse and managed to get her to speak. After she had fully recovered, she left for Minnesota to pursue her fellowship, while Owen stayed back in Seattle to continue his role as Chief of Surgery. After Cristina's mentor, Dr Thomas died, she returned to Seattle and tried to make efforts to reconcile with Owen. Due to a lawsuit against the plane company, Owen asked Cristina for a divorce, which would help the surgeons with their trial. Cristina then told Owen she wanted to try again and he agreed, but they still went through with the divorce for the sake of the lawsuit. Their newfound happiness was short-lived, however, as the arrival of 10-year-old Ethan Dawson, with whom Owen bonded, made it very clear that Owen still wanted children. Cristina then realized that she would never be able to give Owen what he desires, so she left him during the super storm that hit Seattle.
After the storm, Owen and Cristina faced the tough challenge of staying apart, and even though they ended up having sex - more than once - Cristina was determined to stick to her decision. Upon realizing that they could never detach themselves from one another as long as they let things stay the way they were, Cristina suggested that they'd start seeing other people in order to let go of each other, and Owen reluctantly agreed. Later, during GSMH's fundraiser gala, Owen met Dr. Emma Marling, with whom he started flirting. Cristina, witnessing the situation, left the scene with a downhearted expression on her face, leaving Owen with the other woman.
Owen and Teddy met while they both were army surgeons. Owen brought her to Seattle Grace-Mercy West as a present for Cristina, claiming her to be a "cardio goddess", and Teddy later works out that Owen brought her as a present for his girlfriend, appearing more surprised by the fact Cristina was his girlfriend. She later would admit that she believed that if Owen broke up with his (ex) fiancé, Beth, he would have called her. (GA: New History)
Owen was engaged to a woman named Beth, but in the army, he broke it off in a two line email. She was always too emotional and attached to everything & everyone for him to handle. When he visited Seattle Grace, he kissed Cristina, but left (though he was single at the time).
Owen met Emma during GSMH's fundraiser gala and began flirting with her after seeing Cristina flirt with another possible donor. During the evening, he found out that she is actually an attending perinatologist from Seattle Pres trying to gain some money for her hospital by taking advantage of GSMH's gala, but he didn't seem to mind. At the end of the evening, she came to see Owen at the hospital.
Owen and Emma kept in touch after the evening, and she even baked him banana bread for work, which caused Callie to begin teasing him by calling Emma his girlfriend. At first Owen denied being in a relationship with her, but after it became clear to all that the two had something going on, he admitted dating her to a couple people. He didn't tell Emma about his history with Cristina, and she later found out about their past from her while visiting the hospital. Emma then realized that Owen wasn't ready to date just yet and said goodbye to him, telling him to call her when he's ready to move on. After talking with Callie and April and receiving some advice from Cristina, Owen eventually called her and told her he was ready to move on. They continued dating, and later Emma was offered a job at GSMH. Though Owen was excited about the idea, Emma turned down the offer, not wanting to work at the same hospital with Owen in case something bad were to happen between them.
Owen was loved by both his parents and is quite close with his mother. Since returning and taking up a job at Seattle Grace Hospital, he failed to tell anyone that he knew before the army about being sent home (including his mother and ex-fiancée). He phones his mother once a week but keeps conversations short, pretending to still be in Iraq, and unwilling to travel the six miles to see her, as he feels ashamed that he is not the person he once was, specifically, the son that his mother sent to war. In the end, Cristina convinces him to see his mother.
After moving out of the Firehouse, Owen told Cristina that he would be staying at his mother's for a while.
Owen and Derek were at odds as soon as they met: Derek was telling the wife of one of the men Owen had rescued from the limousine accident that her husband would never walk again, when Owen walks in, trashes Derek's prognosis and suggests therapeutic hypothermia, which could possibly make the man walk again. Derek wasn't too happy about the new guy's interference, so when Owen was given a job at Seattle Grace, Derek was very dubious about his new colleague. The two eventually bonded, however, as Derek gave Owen advice on how to deal with the unique relationship between Meredith and Cristina, and eventually Derek, Owen and Mark became friends. Owen even asked Derek to be his best man in his wedding. Derek was honored, but couldn't make it to the wedding because he spent the night in jail after speeding, but Owen didn't seem to mind that he wasn't able to attend the ceremony.
After the plane crash and the death of Mark Sloan, Derek held a grudge against Owen, as he blamed him for putting them on a poor plane that crashed. Cristina urged Derek to forgive him, but he was unable to do so, which eventually lead to Owen quitting. It was only after Cristina's interference that Derek realized the source of his anger. He went to apologize to Owen and told him that it wasn't him that he was mad at; it was Mark. Owen accepted his apology and advised him to let go of his anger.
Mark took an instant dislike to Owen after Owen refused to allow him to do a consult on a burn patient. Shortly after, Mark was angered with him because he let Karev use skin glue, and was complaining (with Derek) that the patient could have lost half of his face. Despite this initial argument, Owen and Mark later bonded and were quite good friends until Mark's death.
Owen and Callie were on good terms since the beginning, and Callie was one of the first people to notice the spark between him and Cristina. After an awkward encounter, when Callie found Owen standing naked in Cristina's bedroom after their failed first date, she and Owen bonded as they operated on Mark's penile fracture, and Callie even gave Owen advice on how to appease Cristina after the date fiasco.
After Callie had stopped Owen from strangling Cristina to death in his sleep, Callie and Meredith didn't allow Owen to approach Cristina for a while, but after the incident had been forgiven, Callie and Owen stayed on good terms. After the plane crash, they became friends as they relied on each other during the bad times of their relationships.
Ethan, a 10-year-old boy, came to the hospital after a car accident that had left both of his parents in critical condition. He almost instantly bonded with Owen, who took care of him while his parents were in surgery. After his father Paul fell into a coma and mother Rachel died of a seizure, Owen comforted Ethan, and when he was rushed to the ER after overdozing on his grandmother Nancy's sleeping pills, Owen expressed deep, almost paternal concern of his wellbeing. When Nancy told Owen that she was considering giving Ethan into custody because she was not capable of taking care of him, he found himself considering whether he should adopt him. After asking (and receiving) advice from Meredith, Owen decided to go for it, but before he could proceed, Cristina managed to wake Paul, reuniting Ethan with his father. Owen then ordered them to be transferred to Seattle Press to safety from a super storm that was approaching Seattle.
Meredith and Owen share a turbulent relationship and they often clash, mainly because of their different views on Cristina and what's best for her. After the strangling incident, Meredith was very protective of Cristina and had a lukeworm demeanor toward Owen for a long time. With time, however, she began to soften to Owen, and at his and Cristina's wedding, she finally accepted Owen and told Cristina that he was "perfect".
After Owen allowed Cristina to quit being a surgeon in the wake of the hospital shooting, Meredith was furious at Owen for letting Cristina "completely fall apart". This lead to a huge argument, with Meredith claiming to know what Cristina needs better than Owen, and Owen reminding Meredith that Cristina isn't her. After the argument, the two were on very cold terms.
When Owen and Cristina had a fight over the abortion of their baby, Meredith said to Owen that she was raised herself by a Cristina and that the guilt of resenting her own kid would almost kill Cristina. Owen then decided to support his wife in her decision, although he didn't completely deal with it. In the wake of the abortion, Owen and Crisina were very distant, which eventually lead Cristina to fear that Owen was cheating on her. When she mentioned it to Meredith, she reassured her friend that it was highly unlikely that Owen was cheating. In the end, however, Cristina's fears became real, and Meredith adviced Cristina to leave Owen, calling him "a pig".
After the plane crash and Cristina's move to Minnesota, Meredith and Owen became closer again, as they both missed Cristina. After her return, Owen and Meredith were on good terms. Owen even turned to Meredith for advice during his inner struggle on wheather he should adopt Ethan or not, and Meredith kindly listened to him and, surprisingly, encouraged him to proceed with the matter, even though she knew Cristina would never like the idea.
When George and Alex were on his service, he discovered that George got calmer under pressure and told him that trauma should be his specialty. He assigned George to his service for a month. George took a shine to Owen and vice-versa and Owen hugged him, upon hearing that he was enlisting in the army.
When Owen came to work at Seattle Grace, Alex admired him but did not know whether to be on his side or Mark and Derek's. For a short while he stayed on Owen's service but after discovering George's raw talent, Owen paid more attention to George and his relationship with Alex did not advance.
Izzie took an instant dislike to Owen, after he stabbed six pigs for the residents to save, in order to learn to work with "live tissue." She was not put on his service after that and neither really spoke to or about the other.
Following Meredith and Cristina's fight, Owen bonded with Derek and people began to warm-up to him. When Derek started to suffer from depression, Bailey sent Callie and Owen to the woods to bring Derek. Owen initially refused but when she started to stare him down he said, "People don't usually say no to you, do they?"
After Owen became the Chief of Surgery, Bailey gave him a hard time, but eventually, Owen won her over. When Owen talked about his infidelity with Meredith, Bailey overheard the conversation and later showed compassion towards Owen, telling him that "You did a terrible thing. It doesn't mean you're a terrible person."
The Chief took a liking him, when Owen first appeared, and now they are close friends.
Arizona and Owen are on good terms. When Arizona was suffering from phantom limb pain, Owen started to help her defeat the pain. When nothing else worked, he ordered Alex Karev to stab her in the prosthesis with a scalpel in the OR, which drove the pain away.
When Kepner showed potential as a trauma surgeon, Owen became her teacher, and when she had hard time being the Chief Resident, he gave her advice on how to stop being an administrator and start being the leader. When April failed her boards, Owen had to fire her, though he later realized what a mistake that was and flew all the way to Ohio to re-hire April. Since that, Owen and April have made a good team in trauma.
Owen is a very skillful and innovative doctor, hardworking, quick-witted and relentless. He has respect for his patients and demands the same from his residents and colleagues. His training as an army trauma surgeon allows him to use even the most simple household objects (e.g. a ballpoint pen) as surgical tools, and he is known to improvise when facing a lack of proper equipment. As a surgeon he works hard, even working three days straight, and in addition to taking care of the ER he also takes some general surgery cases every now and then. According to him, he became a doctor because he wanted to help people, and because no one could read his handwriting.
He attended Harvard and completed his residency in general surgery at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, making quite a name for himself there, according to Richard Webber. Shortly after 9/11, He enlisted in the army and became an army trauma surgeon. During his time in Iraq, he saw and experienced terrible things that would haunt him for a long time, such as seeing many of his friends and colleagues get shot or blown to pieces. He stayed in Iraq until one day his entire platoon of 19 was killed in an RPG ambush, leaving him as the sole survivor, and he was honorably discharged from the army. He then returned to Seattle and took up the post of Chief of Trauma Surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital, restoring it to a level one trauma center.
At first, Owen had some trouble with making a transition from Army field medicine to civilian traumas, and his aggressive course of treatment and unwillingness to ask help from the other attendings was frowned upon by Derek Shepherd and Mark Sloan, who quickly started calling him names, such as "Rambo" and "Meatballer". However, Owen quickly adjusted to working in a civilian hospital and learned to page help instead of doing everything himself. His surgical skills soon impressed his colleagues, and George described them as "amazing", while Callie described Owen as "meticulous."
Over the next few months, Owen also started teaching residents in trauma and how to work quickly and efficiently in hard circumstances. His teaching methods were rather unusual and slightly unorthodox, for example, teaching his residents how to work with "live tissue" by stabbing six pigs and asking his residents to save them. He also taught his residents to respect their patients and trust more on their own evaluation instead of always relying on attendings.
During Derek's depressed period, Hunt revealed as a second year resident, he lost the parents of three children, and it haunts him everyday. When Derek commented that he expected a story about Iraq, Owen stated that he doesn't talk about Iraq. He did, however, tell Cristina one story about Iraq: how he had once laid still on top of a severely mangled bomb victim for two hours, preventing him from bleeding to death, something that he described as his "best and worst" surgery.
Owen's level-headedness and professionalism caught the eye of Chief Webber, and Owen soon became his right hand man, Webber putting him in charge of selecting both the winner of the resident solo-surgery and the chief resident. He also placed Owen in charge whenever the hospital faced crisis or emergency, given his training in working under pressure.
After Webber stepped down as Chief of Surgery after taking the blame for Meredith's tampering of the drug trial, he asked Owen to take over his position. Owen accepted the offer and became the new Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace Mercy West, much to the surprise of his colleagues. At first Owen was struggling with his new position, feeling deskbound, and it didn't take him long to start drinking, so Derek took him to his construction site and adviced him to improvise. The next day Owen gave up his office, saying that from now on, his office would be wherever he was. Using a tablet-like device to manage the hospital, he was able to carry his office with him and free himself to work in the Pit and do surgeries.
Owen's position as the Chief of Surgery was threatened, however, during the aftermath of the lawsuit. After doing everything in his power to prevent the hospital from going under, he and the plane crash survivors were able to buy the hospital with the help of the Harper Avery Foundation, and the doctors were nominated as the new Board of Directors. In their first meeting, Jackson Avery brought up the Foundation's recommendation to replace Owen Hunt as Chief of Surgery in order to "increase the morale". This recommendation was met with utter disgust by the other board members, but when Owen heard of the recommendation from Cristina, he was enraged and after an argument between him, Avery and Shepherd decided to quit, leaving the hospital in chaos. Cristina then made Derek go apologise to him, and he agreed to return as Chief of Surgery if the ER would be reopened, a condition to which everyone agreed.
Notes and Trivia Edit
- Cristina took down her ceiling fan because Owen told her it's one of the triggers to his PTSD.
- Owen went to Harvard before he enlisted in the army.
- Owen is left-handed.
- Owen has broken up all the fights among the men since his first appearance. First, between Derek & Mark. Then, Alex & Avery (twice).
- He was non-fatally shot by Gary Clark in the Season 6 finale after he tried to tackle Clark, who was holding Cristina at gunpoint.
- He and Cristina got married in the Season 7 Premiere, at Meredith's House. They later divorced in the season nine winter premiere.
- Oddly enough, Owen knows how to sing and play the guitar, but Cristina was not aware of that, when Meredith asked her if she knew if Owen played the guitar.
- He is currently living in Derek's Trailer after separating from Cristina and vacating the firehouse.
- Owen played left defender in soccer when he was younger.
A more complete gallery with pictures of Owen Hunt can be found here.
- Dream a Little Dream of Me, Part 1
- Dream a Little Dream of Me, Part 2
- Life During Wartime
- Elevator Love Letter
- Now or Never
- Suicide is Painless
- Death and All His Friends
- With You I'm Born Again
- Take the Lead
- Support System
- Transplant Wasteland
- Can't Fight This Feeling
- Do You Believe in Magic
- Readiness is All
- Owen: You’re gonna spy on him? But that’s cheating!
- Cristina: You’re adorable when you’re slow.
- Cristina: This list is life!
- Owen: Schindler's List?! You're actually comparing the merger to the Holocaust?
- Cristina: I’m Jewish; I’m allowed!
- Derek: Get out from my patient's room!
- Owen: I don't take orders from civilians!
- ↑ Grey's Anatomy Webisode - Seattle Grace: On Call Part 6