'Grey's Anatomy' Season 3 Synopsis

The Main Storylines You Should Know


Though not as compelling as the show's first two seasons, the third year of the show Grey's Anatomy still packs a strong punch. Grey's Anatomy season 3 brought us an exciting mid-season crisis, the ferry boat accident, and Meredith's death.

Grey's Anatomy: Overall Synopsis of Season 3

In this season of Grey's Anatomy, expect storylines about marriage, parental loss, and suicide. In usual soap-opera fashion, there will be plenty of hook-ups, threads of infidelity, and a plethora of trust issues.

The paragraphs below outline some of the main themes to know:

The Ferry Boat

A barge crashes into a ferry boat, killing and injuring several people. The interns are sent to the scene. Alex saves a pregnant woman, Izzie helps a man trapped under a car, George looks for a missing boy, and Meredith drowns, leading Derek to not want to be with her anymore because she gave up.

Dr. Stevens

Izzie lies on the bathroom floor, devastated after Denny's death, not knowing now what to do. She meets Denny's father and he gives her a check from Denny for $8,700,000. George is panicked because it sits on the refrigerator under a magnet and he is sure it is going to get lost, but Izzie won't cash it until she figures out something great to do with it.

Izzie gets her opportunity for greatness when she hears that Bailey wants to open a free clinic. Izzie uses her money, and the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic is opened.

Izzie is on probation for cutting Denny's wire and is only allowed to observe, but after helping at the ferry boat accident, Webber reinstates her to full duty.

Dr. Yang

Cristina pushes Burke back to work when she believes he is healed after his gunshot surgery. She soon learns that he has a tremor and she helps him to hide it by stepping in during surgeries when he needs her to.

He finally tells the chief about the tremor and Derek fixes him, but he and Cristina fight. Neither of them will talk to the other.

When Cristina gives in and begins talking to him, he asks her to marry him and he proceeds with planning the wedding with his mother as well as hers. When it's time to walk down the aisle, Cristina has a momentary breakdown, which Meredith talks her out of. She is about to walk down when Burke comes and says that he can't change her. He leaves her and hospital.

Dr. O'Malley

George and Callie get serious and end up getting married on the spur of the moment in Las Vegas. Izzie has a very hard time accepting Callie, and one night, while they are both drunk, George and Izzie sleep together. George is racked with guilt, but will not assuage his guilt by telling Callie. He puts in for a transfer to Mercy West. Izzie says she loves him and not to go.

George is distracted during the first year medical exams and doesn't pass. He either has to leave the program or repeat his intern year. George cleans out his locker.

Dr. Karev​

Alex pulls a pregnant woman from the ferry boat rubble and they bond. He helps her pick out a face for Mark to give her since hers was so badly damaged.

For several months, she lives in the hospital with no memory, and when she does get her memory back, she doesn't want to tell Alex, but he finds out. She asks him to give her a reason to stay, but he doesn't so she leaves and when he comes back to find her, she is already gone.

Alex sleeps with Addison but makes it clear that she is not his girlfriend, and Addison leaves. Mark blames Alex for Addison leaving.

Dr. Grey

Meredith's mother is suddenly lucid and she tells Meredith that Meredith is ordinary and a disappointment. At the ferry boat accident, Meredith is pushed into the water, and at first swims, but then she gives up. Derek pulls her out of the water, but she dies. While she is dead she speaks with other folks that are dead and then she sees her mother. Ellis tells Meredith that she is anything but ordinary and to run.

Meredith runs and then wakes up alive, but Derek knows that she had given up.

Meredith works to get to know her father and ends up having a relationship with Thatcher's wife. Susan comes into the hospital and Meredith rushes her into surgery, but she dies and Thatcher blames Meredith.


By the end of the season, relationships are falling apart like the damaged ferry boat. Derek and Meredith can't seem to make it work, Denny dies and leaves Izzie, George is unsure about his marriage to Callie, Addison leaves for LA, and Burke leaves Cristina at the altar.