Shonda Rhimes has created some of the most intriguing, captivating plots on television for ABC. TGIT or "Thank God It's Thursday" was an entire evening dedicated to her flair for the dramatic, making Shonda Rhimes one of television's most successful showrunners with a $135 million net worth that can only continue to grow. Her recent deal with Netflix ensures that there will be more Shondaland to come in the New Year, meaning more lives lost, more loves found, and more diversity in media. Still, it also means more of the goofs, gaffs, and plot holes that infuriate and mystify her loyal fans. Grey's Anatomy is one of the longest-running shows on television, so it stands to reason that creative retconning and suspension of disbelief would be needed down the line, but even on her shorter-lived shows like The Catch and How To Get Away With Murder, there are plot holes big enough to fit a B613 agent hiding to abduct Olivia Pope.
There could be a whole post dedicated to medical inaccuracies on Grey's Anatomy or political impossibilities on Scandal, but we're about to explore so much more than just technical knowledge (although, there will be some of that too). Even some of the most eagle-eyed fans missed these mistakes in Shondaland's most beloved shows, from huge mistake in birthdates to tiny mistakes in continuity. Because we'll be talking about many seasons of many shows, beware of spoilers, especially if you're not caught up on Grey's Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder.
Here are the 20 Mistakes Fans Completely Missed In Shondaland Shows.
The Grey's Anatomy season two episode "As We Know It" had a lot going on. Viewers may know it better as that episode where Meredith Grey decides to stick her hand in a bomb inside of a person. While everyone was distracted by the hot bomb technician blowing up dramatically in a hallway, Miranda Bailey's water was breaking all over George O'Malley's shoes.
She even says, "My water just broke all over your shoes." It's too bad she was wearing jeans — except her pants were totally dry when they went to a wide shot. If Miranda's water had broken on George's shoes, it would have left a stain on her pants. Maybe the props department just thought we wouldn't notice during such an explosive episode.
How To Get Away With Murder just gets more confusing as it goes on. It's impossible to just jump in if you're behind, and by the time we get to Wes Gibbon's passing, there's no explaining what's happening. A summary of the issue here, however, is that Wes is released from prison and receives a call after 4 PM from Annalise telling him to come to the house.
Redditor snowtheif5 pointed out that Oliver, Laurel, and Connor are called much later, and the timeline means that Annalise asked Wes to come to the house six hours before she planned on getting there. That leaves a lot of Wes's time unaccounted for on the day of his passing, with no explanation in sight.
The most glaring medical errors in Grey's Anatomy are all of the people with metal sticking in their bodies that get put through an MRI machine. For example, the woman with a fork in her neck that got sent in for an MRI by Meredith in the episode "Band-Aid Covers A Bullet Hole".
An MRI is a strong magnet and any metal in someone's body would be pulled from them and onto the machine, so fork lady would definitely be deceased. Any tweens sent into the MRI with braces, which definitely happened in the most recent season, would not come out with great looking teeth. This is a common mistake made in medical shows like Grey's, House, and ER, but it's also one of the only medical mistakes a layperson would actually notice.
Olivia Pope has PSTD. After being abducted, realizing her father is the leader of the dark ops syndicate that is ruining the country, and having an affair with the leader of the United States of America, she's been through more stress than most people will in their lifetime. And this was after she found out her mother was a notorious criminal, too. PTSD culminates in Olivia dramatically beating a man until he passes away, but then the series just lets it go.
The plot ended and her PSTD magically disappeared. Olivia never got counseling, not for all of the other stuff she'd gone through before her PTSD came to a head and certainly not after, and never even really talked it through with close confidants. Something like that wouldn't have ceased to exist, and it was a disservice to actual PTSD survivors to treat it as such.
Cristina deserved a Harper Avery. She earned it by making significantly less firable mistakes than every other doctor on this show, but Cristina couldn't get a Harper Avery award because of the relationship between Grey Sloan Hospital and the Harper Avery foundation.
Cristina even did actually win the award and wasn't given it because of the connection, but despite clear issues regarding why no hospital would want to partner with the Averys if their doctors couldn't compete for the award and allusions to the foundation and the awards being separate entities, Grey's never explained why Meredith was allowed to win the Harper Avery. Cristina Yang should have justice, and the audience should have some answers.
If NPR feels the need to point out a loose end, it was probably something fairly important. Somewhere down the line, Scandal stopped being about a powerful woman who fixes important problems and started being about a confusingly titled black ops group. Fittingly, the series final episode was all about Olivia exposing B613, and the only person who was arrested was Jake Ballard, even after Rowan gave a long monologue about how he was behind everything.
Fitz and Olivia went off to Vermont to eat jam, and viewers are supposed to believe that a giant, old government agency was taken down when one operative goes to jail. They'll just rename it C714, and the past seven years were for nothing and about nothing.
Arizona Robbins won sole custody of her adoptive daughter Sophia over her biological mother, Callie Torres. This is after Arizona cheated on Callie, decided to blame Callie for the trial even though she's the one that hired a lawyer, and was proven to spend less time with Sophia than Callie does. Still, Arizona won custody. Then, after all that, Arizona still just let Sophia live with Callie.
They worked out a pseudo-schedule between Seattle and New York City where Callie moved but Sophia nearly immediately went to live with her biological mother after all of the pomp and circumstance of the trial. It's like they wanted to create an entirely useless plotline for no reason and then abandon it when it got too difficult to keep in the continuity.
In season three of Scandal, Sally Langston causes the demise of her husband after he cheats on her with a man in a display of violence that was still surprising for Scandal. Some people found out, nothing was done about it, and she went on to become a very popular conservative pundit... and that was it.
She stabbed a man multiple times, then the actress portraying Sally, Kate Burton, left for a second to do some episodes on Grey's Anatomy, and then she just kept recurring on the show. People forgot that her husband magically disappeared without a trace, and even when people were upset with her, somehow jail was never seriously on the table. It's like they just forgot it ever happened.
In a Reddit thread about the biggest Grey's Anatomy plot holes, multiple Reddit users mentioned that Arizona's leg is barely even an afterthought. One user pointed out that a 2018 episode showed Arizona's ankle and foot visible in heels, another saw multiple episodes where Arizona is wearing a skirt that clearly shows her entire calf, and yet another noticed that fellow hospital drama behemoth ER managed to keep a character named Kerry's limp her entire run on the show but Arizona's disappeared before the end of one season.
There was an episode about her dress leg, but the further we get from that horrible plane crash, the more Arizona's leg becomes a forgotten thing of plotlines past.
Grey's Anatomy isn't the only show that gets to make glaring medical errors. Fitz's son is ended by a secret agent who pokes him on the shoulder with a needle that has been infected with meningococcal meningitis, which is horrifying not just because meningitis is a frigtening disease, but also because the poor kid passes away mere minutes later in a dramatic hemorrhaging display.
This form of meningitis is vaccine preventable, but assuming the Grants were against vaccinations, it would have taken hours at minimum for the disease to take his life. Scandal isn't supposed to be realistic, but its funny that Shonda's non-medical show made a medical mistake even The Daily Beast couldn't let go.
There could be a whole 20-25 item listicle devoted to all of the ridiculous things that had to happen to get rid of Dr. McDreamy. Redditor DarcyFinch outlined a few of these including: Derek could have driven the injured people to a hospital in his own car, his cell phone rang when there was no reception, he didn't hear a giant eighteen-wheeler driving up behind him, and there was no ID in his car.
Along with this, he was taken to a level one trauma center in critical condition and, most glaringly, Meredith didn't call Amelia or any of his sisters before pulling the plug even though they had a blatant conversation discussing how he wanted his sisters there if she ever had to pull the plug on him.
Jezebel had a real lawyer fact check How To Get Away With Murder because nothing can just be fun anymore. Sure, no law student would be taken by their professor to an active crime scene, lie in the victim's blood, and pretend to stab himself, but it sure looked creepy.
Something interesting their lawyer pointed out was that Annalise's students only study her current cases, and the entire class is often brought to her law firm to hear first-hand accounts from defendants. These students have no attorney-client privilege, so by telling these students their story, the clients are playing it fast and loose with their legal freedoms. A whole classroom of students who are already gossipy probably won't keep their secrets for long.
A Tumblr user, scandal-whipped, noticed a pretty big plothole in the largely plothole-free first season. Amanda Tanner seems to not know Olivia Pope when they meet in the pilot, but by episode six, viewers see that Amanda Tanner and Olivia had met before and as the White House communications director and a large part of the campaign, the entire country would know Olivia Pope.
Amanda Tanner would know what was going to befall her the minute Olivia sat down on that bench in the pilot, but it was never mentioned in the show or even alluded to by the writers. It was the first of many inconsistencies during the Shonda Rhimes show's seven-season run.
When Cristina leaves Grey Sloan, she leaves her shares of the hospital to Alex and taps him to replace her on the board. As Reddit user magikarpcatcher points out, even though Bailey won the board seat, Alex still holds Cristina's shares of the hospital and is still a part-owner of the hospital.
It hasn't actually been mentioned since, even despite the rise in his net worth that $15 million worth of hospital shares would give him or during big decisions that part owners should have known. The writers never really explained what losing the board seat would mean for Alex's standing in the hospital, but even if he doesn't have voting rights, he still should have more influence than he's given.
NPR also noticed that Olivia was supposed to be a right-wing this whole time. What type of weird, parallel universe are these characters living in where Olivia is the advisor to multiple right-wing campaigns for conservatives with pro-choice and pro-immigration policies that occasionally almost win elections?
It's interesting, but where are all the left-wings and why do they never get Olivia's famous fixing services. Scandal was never a show about the good guys, the writers and showrunner made that abundantly clear in the end, but the political intricacies of our current climate and the strange fictional world created in Scandal could have been explored more thoroughly in the later seasons of the trailblazing show.
The timeline between sisters Meredith Grey and Maggie Pierce and their career trajectories makes absolutely no sense. Maggie became the head of cardiothoracic surgery at Grey Sloan at age 31, meaning she's only five years younger than Meredith. This has been confirmed in The Hollywood Reporter and in season eleven as well, but the pilot's timeline would make Meredith eight years older than Maggie instead.
Also, Maggie's age would mean she'd have to graduate from medical school at age twenty and get her undergraduate degree at the age of sixteen. It would have been mentioned if Maggie was a child prodigy by now, so why not make Maggie a little older or a little further behind in her career?
A funny, little mistake was made in the early seasons of Scandal in which the White House kept the same passwords for their high-security clearance operatives for two years. Tumblr makes you automatically change them every ninety days, but maybe the White House is just embracing their lax security.
Season two was before things got really off of the rails but little mistakes like this still riddled the finale, like when Billy walked out of a building after having his bottom half drilled into, but the passwords could have easily been made a bigger issue that's still easily solved. Somehow, it's even weirder than the characters successfully rigging an election without anyone noticing it.
Charles was revealed as Wes's father even though the actors look like they are the same age. No one even mentioned the small age difference, and there were some strange hints about a sketchy relationship between his parents that were never followed up on.
Also, Reddit user teachyoself2 saw that making the son Wes's dad weakens the Mahoney's motives to take down Wes. The revelation turned Rose into a possible sexual predator for no reason, frustrated viewers, and still managed to be super confusing. How hard would it be to have cast a slightly older actor as Charles? Or to just say that the character is older than he looks and leave it at that? Instead, we're all confused.
Yet another easily avoidable medical error, Arizona confused psoriasis and cirrhosis during the fifteenth episode of season ten, "Throwing It All Away." Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes itchy painful patches, and it's a chronic disease with occasional flare-ups.
Cirrhosis is a late stage scarring of the liver that can be caused by alcoholism or hepatitis and is often fatal. These two diseases are nothing like each other, and it would really stink to be told you have Psoriasis when you actually might pass away. Reddit user was_ben_there first pointed it out in a discussion thread, and apparently many users were confused as to why this poor boy had to have a skin condition on top of everything else he was dealing with.
Reddit user boobbolo noticed a birthdate error on a document in How To Get Away With Murder that clearly disproved the possibility that Jake could have been Bonnie's son. Jake was born in May of 1993, but based on St. Lincoln's hospital records, Bonnie's child was born in November of 1994. Julie was arrested for trespassing on the family's property in September of 1994, two months before Bonnie gave birth.
Frank was so off-base that any dummy could have put together that the boy born in 1993 is not Bonnie's son who was born in 1994. It's really that simple, but the details were so muddled people had no idea what to believe, whether it was a hint or an innocuous mistake.
Are there any other mistakes we missed in Shondaland shows? Let us know in the comments@