The Main Characters, Ranked From Most Heroic To Most Villainous


The hit ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy has had a record run of sixteen years, and has just kicked off its seventeenth season in November 2020.

RELATED: 10 Medical Dramas That Are Better Than Grey’s Anatomy

The Grey’s universe is full of heroes–every character is a valiant savior of lives and thus a hero in his or her own right. But it is incrediby diificult to think of these characters as villainous. One has to say that in this series, those who are conflicted, have layered personalities with a toxic, chauvinist or selfish side, can be considered villainous for the purposes of this article.

10 Cristina Yang


Fans were bowled over by actress Sandra Oh who left a lasting legacy as the highly competitive, driven, brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon Cristina Yang.

Yang was a hero in her own right–from saving Derek’s life at gunpoint under extreme circumstances to keeping everybody together after the devastating plane crash at the end of season 8 to saving hundreds of patients Cristina was the epitome of the modern-day empowered woman.

9 Meredith Grey

Meredith, as fans know well, has saved the lives of so many people over the course of the series, but that’s not the only thing that makes her a hero.

Meredith has survived major tragedies in her life; from almost drowning to death in icy water, to getting beaten up by a patient, to losing her mother, her half-sister, her husband who was the love of her life, and even being in the midst of a plane crash, Meredith has only grown stronger through trauma, emerging a hero every time.

8 Miranda Bailey

Miranda Bailey was an instant fan favorite when she appeared as ‘Nazi’ Bailey years ago in season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy. She too has seen a few hardships in her life, including a failed marriage, and even a heart attack, and fought hard to earn her place as the Chief of Surgery at Seattle’s foremost hospitals.

RELATED: Grey’s Anatomy: 5 Things It Got Right About A Doctor’s Life (& 5 Things It Got Wrong)

However, what elevated her to the status of a true hero was her bravery during the mass shooting at the hospital during the final episodes of season 6. Her quick thinking saved both her and one of her patients’ lives and she did her utmost to save the life of an intern, Charles. Miranda was indeed a hero on that day.

7 Arizona Robbins

Arizona Robbins was a genuinely sweet person and had saved the lives of so many young children over the years. Taking such a huge responsibility is no mean feat, but Arizon’a herosim is not just in saving lives, but also in the way she overcame a massive disaster.

The plane crash that killed Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey, wher Cristina’ strength kept the group from collapsing completely, also claimed a limb from Arizona. He leg had to be amputated and she went through a phase of depression following the incident. She also fought for the custody of her daughter when Callie decided to move to New York, and through sheer strength of character, won teh custody battle.

6 Catherine Fox

Another hero in the series is Catherine Fox, mother to Jackson Avery and head of the Catherine Fox foundation, which was earlier known as the Harper Avery foundation. Through the foundation, Catherine is also one of the owners of the hospital.

Catherine is a hero in the sense that she made it to the top in a so-called man’s world through sheer grit and tenacity. She is a powerful, determined woman who knows her mind and is not afraid to speak out.

5 Richard Webber

Richard had been the Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace for years, making the hospital what it was. He mentored the likes of Miranda Bailey and Meredith Grey and saved many lives throughout his journey.

RELATED: Grey’s Anatomy: 10 Hidden Details About Richard Webber That Everyone Missed

Now, as mentioned, heroes and villains in the Grey’s universe are relative. Richard is by no means a villain, in fact he is the grand ol’ man of the hospital. But he did cheat on his wife, twice. He first had an affair with Ellis Grey, and then with Catherine Fox, while he was still married to Adele whom he claimed to love. He is a flawed individual and hasn’t always treated his women folk right.

4 Alex Karev

Alex was not a villain as such, in fact, there were many moments when Alex showed extraordinary strength of character, saving lives and supporting the people he loved.

However, for a good many seasons before Alex became a genial person, a great surgeon and a good friend, he was nothing but a smartmouth, an arrogant self-centered person who cared nothing for others and was a force of negativity.

3 Derek Shepherd

derek in front of blinds

One would be very surprised to find Derek ‘McDreamy’ Shepherd’s name appearing among the more villainous lot.

But despite his dreamy image, there were times when Derek behaved in a particularly toxic manner with his young sister Amelia and even with Meredith herself. His relationship with Meredith was fraught with tension at various points and he even manipulated the board into making him the Chief by telling on Richard when he started drinking again. In the Grey’s universe, that is as villainous as it can get.

2 Preston Burke

Another slightly unpleasant character was Preston Burke, a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon who dated Cristina until he decided to disappear, right before the wedding.

RELATED: Grey’s Anatomy: 10 Couples That Shouldn’t Have Worked, But Did

Burke wasn’t a bad person, but he was not very open, and tried to change Cristina, molding her according to his own wishes. He was also selfish, taking credit for surgeries performed by Cristina, and was never of a very friendly disposition.

1 Tom Koracick

In the current pack of doctors at Grey Sloan, Tom Koracic strikes one as slightly villainous although he is a great surgeon and has had a tragic past.

Tom is a layered individual. He can be extremely selfish and doesn’t always respect ethics or professionalism, taking decisions that could be considered dicey. He is also driven more by commercialism than morals at times. Within the land of Grey’s, Tom is relatively villainous, disliked by many although it’s impossible to discard him.

NEXT: Grey’s Anatomy: Every Secondary Character, Ranked By Intelligence

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Updated: November 17, 2020 — 11:00 pm

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