After the unfortunate passing of Seattle Grace’s longtime lothario Mark “McSteamy” Sloan in September, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes reflected on the character in an obituary penned for Entertainment Weekly. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.
By: Shonda Rhimes
A doctor shows up at Seattle Grace Hospital. He beds all the women. He sutures his own face. He wears a towel better than anyone can wear a towel in the history of wearing towels on television.
We call him McSteamy.
When Mark Sloan first appeared on Grey’s Anatomy in season 2, the original idea was to have him do one episode. Goodbye, Mark Sloan. But none of us planned on what would happen once we cast Eric Dane. His Mark Sloan wasn’t just flirty and handsome—Eric’s Mark Sloan was dirty and hot but also completely self-aware of what he was lacking in emotion and self-control. Eric’s Mark Sloan was smart enough to know he was a man-whore and sexy enough to make the audience believe in him anyway. From the moment ABC aired the scene in which Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) dubbed him McSteamy, I began to get letters from fans. And emails from friends. And phone calls from my mother. It was clear that we were going to need to see Mark Sloan back at Seattle Grace again.
Mark Sloan has been one of my all-time favorite characters to write. He’s the male surgical version of the hooker with the heart of gold. Yes, he seduces so many nurses that they form an actual organization dedicated to eradicating him (Nurses United Against Mark Sloan!). But he also helps a lonely man change his gender. He rebuilds the face of Jane Doe. He fixes cleft palates and lionitis bone deformities, and builds a little boy a pair of ears. He performs double arm transplants. He helps Callie (Sara Ramirez) recognize that her feelings for another woman are not something to be ignored. Okay, yes, he sleeps with his best friend’s wife. But he also supports his daughter when she chooses to put her baby up for adoption. Yes, he breaks his penis having sex with Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh). But he also falls madly in love with her. He’s a good man, Mark Sloan.
Well, he was a good man.
Last week, Mark Sloan succumbed to injuries sustained in the plane crash that took the life of fellow surgeon Alexandra Caroline Grey. By the time he died, he was no longer just a hot naked guy in a towel. He’d become more than McSteamy. Mark had grown to become a mentor, a true best friend, a father, and the love of Lexie Grey’s life.
After six seasons, the end of Mark Sloan was a giant loss for me as a writer and for the show. And for the fans. I like to believe that Mark is with Lexie somewhere. That those two characters are spending eternity together, getting to have the relationship they were never able to have when they were alive. Because, as Lexie’s dying words told us, she and Mark were “meant to be.”
Mark Everett Sloan died on September 27, 2012. He is survived by his daughter Sofia; his baby mamas, Callie and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw); his fellow doctors at Seattle Grace; and every woman who ever imagined what it might be like to have a little McSteamy between her sheets.
He will be missed by all.
More of EW.com’s Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverage
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ boss Shonda Rhimes explains Eric Dane’s exit
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ season finale: Boss explains two shocking exits
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Jessica Capshaw on Arizona shocker: This is not ‘a story of defeat’