Stephanie was working under Amelia on a case that proved to touch too close to home for Dr. Edwards. While rehabilitating a patient who’s had brain trauma and has trouble moving her body, Stephanie broke down, disclosing her painful childhood:
as a young girl, she was put through a sickle cell clinical trial for years, which forever tainted her. When she had to force the brain-damaged patient to move through unbearable pain, her own memories rushed back. To make matters worse, a very jealous Jo
(Camilla Luddington) told Amelia that Stephanie is lying, causing a rift in their friendship, which Hinton says won’t be easy to quickly repair.
Here, Hinton tells Variety an incredible behind-the-scenes story about her character Stephanie’s
backstory. Plus, the actress teases what’s to come with her relationships with both Amelia and Jo, now that her history has been revealed.
Shonda Rhimes has said for a while that Season 12 would finally be when viewers learn more about Stephanie.
What was your reaction to her backstory?
When we got the script, one of the things that I found interesting, in terms of why this is so triggering for her, is there something about the physical pain that is a very specific trigger for Stephanie. One of
the early steps in making sense of the story for me was figuring out, what is it about this patient? Why is this different? I really do think it’s something about the physical pain of this woman. She’s being forced to push this women through such
physical pain, and that’s the trigger for her and her childhood — that connects to what she went through as a child with the sickle cell trial and the traumatic things they’d do to her [like] being strapped to a table, being pricked with
needles. It was a trial that lasted for a few years.
You actually pitched Stephanie’s backstory because your own cousin went through a traumatic sickle cell trial when she was a child, which really affected you. And now, she’s a doctor!
How was the pitch process for such a personal event?
I pitched this story last year. I pitched it Shonda [Rhimes]. It’s scary as hell. It’s terrifying. When you pitch something so close to home and then they actually let you do it, everything
perks up in your head that makes you feel insecure. She had let me know immediately that she liked the idea, she was fond of it. At that moment, that was all I really wanted to know. I was just eager to have a backstory for Stephanie, and I really wanted one
that I could connect to. It wasn’t until a meeting a few weeks before we got the script that they said we’re cultivating that idea.
Since you experienced your family going through that trauma, you must have had a deeper understanding for
Stephanie’s pain in this episode?
It’s so obvious to say that itdoes something to you. Even though you may not process it as a child, that kind of respoinsibility and what’s being done to you, even though it may feel terrible, what’s
being done to you is going to be used to help millions of other people — hopefully, if it goes righ