Dr. Arizona Robbins is back! Usually on shows with such large ensemble casts, we don’t always notice when one person is missing … but as Dr. Robbins, Jessica Capshaw is unforgettable. Viewers have been dying to know how Arizona’s been holding up after ex-wife Callie (Sara Ramirez) moved to New York City with their daughter Sofia — and new girlfriend Penny — and Thursday (Oct. 6), “Grey’s Anatomy’s” head of Pediatric Surgery finally returns to work.
We got to speak with Capshaw about returning to set after having her fourth child, and what exciting things we can look forward to for Arizona this season. The 40-year-old actress also talks about what used to terrify her during filming, Arizona’s new love interest and her view on the Dr. Riggs love triangle with Meredith and Maggie.
How was it coming back after child No. 4?
It’s wonderful! I am so lucky, I have such a great job. I was joking that — honestly, at this point in life with four children — it’s actually easier to go to work than stay home …
Is there a massive daycare on set?
No. We don’t [have that] right now, but we are working on it.
Playing a pediatric surgeon, knowing maybe too much about giving birth — has that affected you in real life?
I have so much [medical] information in my “hard drive” that I have to select which information I’m keeping and which information I’m trashing. Quite often, I know certain information at one time and place, in my brain, and then it needs to leave — so I can remember something else. Other times, I will not remember anything. Most of the time [on the show], we are dealing with such extreme circumstances you would never want to be able to use your work knowledge at home.
Do people ask you for medical advice?
No. Thank God!
Will there be a new love interest for you coming soon?
That’s the word on the street …
Will we see a grown-up Sofia visiting from NYC?
You won’t see it, but you will feel, in our little world, that Callie, Penny, and Sofia still exist — and that they are happy, and that things are going well. I’m also hoping it frees [viewers] up to champion Arizona’s next chapter, and whatever she does next. We have now reached a point where people can be supportive for them each to find their own happiness –and that’s really exciting.
Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) recently attacked a fellow surgeon, Dr. Andrew Deluca (Giacomo Gianniotti), and is paying the consequences now.
How is it being stuck between Karev, your second-hand man, and Andrew, your sub-letter?
Someone she loves has done something [to somebody] she cares for, so she’s trying her best to be there for both of them. She wants to figure out why Karev did what he did, and also make sure Andrew knows he’s not alone.
What will be the most challenging thing for Arizona this season?
Wouldn’t be great if nothing was challenging this season? She could just dance on top of bars, fall in love and have it all? Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Yes! But … this is ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’
How is preparation each day, for playing a character with a prosthetic leg?
There was an entire season dedicated to understanding how Arizona processed that loss. It was such a dark season — I don’t know how it could’ve been anything else, but — I think that on some level the intention was to have it be so dark that, when she came out of it, and saw that she still had her life, wouldn’t be feeling “less than” [forever], and could understand how this could aid in her abilities … as that transitioned, that happened for her, I felt, as an actor. Barring her being able to do unrealistic things, she [now] sees herself as absolutely whole.
Can you cry at drop at the drop of a hat?
I am someone who — thank God we have such wonderful writers! — I really do need to feel whatever it is through the writing. I’m like “Please, please. Do not write the scene [so] at the top of the scene it’s like, You see Arizona crying …”
It used to be something that terrified me! But perhaps now that muscle has strengthened. And I don’t stress anymore — I know it will all work out just fine.
Do you watch the show?
Let’s see, how do I put this? When I started the show, I had one child. And I watched all the shows. Now I have four, and I don’t watch as many. But! I’ll binge and catch up, and I love live-tweeting while watching the episodes. It’s a cool thing — that kind of connectivity is very exciting.
Newcomer Dr. Nathan Riggs (Martin Henderson) recently blundered into a love triangle with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and her sister Maggie (Kelly McCreary).
So this Riggs love triangle: Are you Team Meredith, or Team Maggie?
Oh my goodness! I don’t know. I haven’t seen these episodes, and I want to, but I think being a true “Grey’s” fan you just have to go with whoever sizzles the most, right? So: Whoever’s got it going on — that’s who I’m going with!
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.