Creators of the show say they hope to distinguish it from Grey's by tackling ethical issues throughout the season. Researcher and writer Elizabeth Klaviter, who also writes for Grey's, says the show will draw on real-life medical dilemmas.
"We look at the things that have ourselves and our family members and friends buzzing — the issues that people are talking about in terms of right or wrong and the laws, ethics and social morays that are put on us in terms of how we conduct ourselves."
There is plenty to draw on.
This season, the doctors will have to decide what rights prostitutes have to medical care and whether to treat a sex offender at their child-friendly practice. They will debate abortion and grapple with whether to deliver a premature baby they believe was conceived solely because the umbilical-cord blood could save the family's older, dying child. Another doctor wonders what to do when a teenager — who has HIV but doesn't know it — says he plans to have sex for the first time.
"We're telling stories ... that will provide a lot of moral debate among our doctors and maybe debate at home when you watch," said series creator Shonda Rhimes.