The fictional character serves as a love interest for resident Cristina Yang, and has an unstable personality when first introduced, suffering from PTSD. McKidd's connection with fellow actress Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) has been acclaimed amongst critics, with Matt Roush of TV Guide calling the "instant sparks" between McKidd and Oh "electrifying". McKidd was nominated for two awards for his work on the show, successfully winning one of them. Chris Monfette of IGN has praised the addition of "fresh, new characters" such as Owen Hunt.
Before his regular appearances on the show, Owen Hunt was a United States Army surgeon, specialising in trauma surgery. The character makes a dramatic first appearance when he performs a tracheotomy on a man with a pen, winning the admiration of resident Cristina Yang. He is offered a job by former chief of surgery Richard Webber, but declines, explaining that he has not completed his tour in Iraq. He later becomes the new head of trauma surgery, at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital, and manages to irk both Derek Shepherd and Mark Sloan, head of neurosurgery and plastic surgery, respectively, who view his treatment of some of the patients as crude. He is also rebuffed by resident Izzie Stevens when he stabs a set of pigs and then orders the residents and interns to save their lives, in order to teach them medicine on "live tissue." Hunt eventually embarks on a relationship with Yang, but it comes to a sudden close when his PTSD gets the best of him, and he subconsciously strangles her. Soon after the break-up, he begins therapy with the hospital psychiatrist, Dr. Katharine Wyatt. Some time later, a soldier visits the hospital for treatment, and his presence influences Owen to contemplate returning to the US Army. When he shares this with Cristina, she disagrees with his decision, stating that she doesn't want him to die, and the two eventually rekindle their relationship.
Owen brings in Teddy Altman, his best friend and colleague from when he was in the army, as the new head of cardiothoracic surgery. When it is revealed that Hunt and Altman may be potential lovers, Hunt and Yang's relationship is challenged, and eventually concluded by Yang. During a hospital shooting, Owen is shot and injured, attracting the sympathy of Cristina, who subsequently restores their relationship. Due to the emotional reverberations of the shooting crisis, Owen and Cristina decide to wed one another shortly after their reconciliation, not wanting to risk separation. When Cristina discovers she is pregnant, Owen is displeased with her desire to abort the baby, and the two separate from each other. In the fallout of resident Meredith Grey's tampering with Derek Shepherd's Alzheimer's trial, Owen is promoted to Chief of Surgery after Webber steps down. After substantial thought, Owen reluctantly decides to join Cristina at her abortion, uniting the two. Owen's friendship with Teddy is risked, and eventually terminated, when Owen lies to Teddy about her husband's sudden death, due to Owen wanting her to finish a surgery she was currently partaking in. Teddy blames Owen for the death of her husband, and their friendship undergoes cessation. Feeling abandoned and disconcerted after an altercation with Cristina, Owen has a one-night-stand with a patient's friend. Cristina consequently finds out, terminates their relationship, and their marriage is tested. After Cristina passed her medical boards, she reconciles with Owen, yet reveals to him that she is leaving Seattle to go to Mayo Clinic. Teddy and Owen eventually reconcile. After learning that she has been offered a job at Med Com, Owen fires her assuring her that he will be okay.
Owen grew up loved by both parents, 6 miles from Seattle Grace, and he still called his mother every week, who thought he was still in Iraq. That was until Cristina took him home to finally tell her the truth. He attended Northwestern and then god an MD from Harvard.
As far as we know, he has no brothers or sisters.
Owen impressed Cristina as soon as they met, having performed a tracheotomy with a pen. With Owen as her patient for a while, she was quickly turned on after seeing him staple up his own leg after the car crash he had been in with a couple during a night out right after returning to Seattle from Iraq. Later that same night Cristina becomes his patient after receiving an icicle through her lower abdomen when she slipped on an ice patch outside. He found her and carried her inside. They bonded and he pulled out her icicle before they shared a hot kiss. Later he turned down Richard Webber's job offer and returned to Iraq. Two months later after being honourably discharged from the army, Owen decided to work at Seattle Grace, causing Cristina to avoid him. However when she eventually stopped, he seemed to have forgotten her name completely. Even later calling her "Christine".
He avoided her, but found himself arguing with her outside Joe's and then kissing her and even turning up outside her house on the doorstep to talk.
When comparing Cristina to drink, Mark called her a cheap wine, Owen called her a single malt scotch (in agreeance with Shepherd).
When Cristina told him to stop his hot and cold act, he did and asked her out. But he was so nervous, that he went to get a drink, before ultimately turning up on her doorstep a little drunk. He invited himself in, took a shower with his clothes on and fell asleep. Cristina was annoyed but forgave him. Their relationship was centred around stolen touches and glances from across the room and although they flirted, they stopped when Beth, Owen's secret ex-fiance appeared at Seattle Grace, where he father was admitted.
Owen was quick to declare his feeling for Cristina after her return from the army, after the experience had changed him. In episode 16 of season 5 he confessed he wanted to be around in 40 years to rip the scalper out of Cristina's hands after she becomes too old to practice. Though they only had two failed attempted dates at that point.
Cristina and Owen work through their problems but are soon confronted by new ones. Owen's PTSD from his time in Iraq. After spending the evening watching tapes of surgery, he climbs into bed with Cristina, who had just fallen asleep. When Owen falls asleep beside her, the noise and shape of the ceiling fan reminds him of helicopter blades, he inadvertently hurts Cristina, by strangling her in her sleep. It was only Callie Torres's intervention after overhearing the sounds of the struggles, thereby preventing Owen from killing Cristina. Afterwards he breaks down crying, from all his built up emotion and from the sight of a crying Cristina. Cristina refuses to leave him, saying he is just injured from the war, like if he had returned without a leg. The two finally consummate their relationship, but soon break up as Cristina admits she is not fine and she is terrified of falling asleep next to Owen. After this, he withdrew and avoided Cristina, to cause her less pain. After meeting with a psychiatrist, he learnt to speak to her in three word sentences (find my truck, good work Yang, take care now etc). The words were substitutes for the words he wanted to say to her most, I love you. After she convinces him to see his mother, they get back together.
His relationship with Cristina has been compared to a Victorian romance novel.
As of season 7, they are currently married. Cristina found out in the season 7 finale that she was pregnant with their child. When she revealed to Owen that she was getting an abortion, the couple got into a huge fight, and Owen kicked her out of the house, which she owned, for failing to give him a voice in the matter of having a baby.
Owen and Teddy met while they both were army surgeons. Owen brought her to Seattle Grace-Mercy West as a present for Cristina, claiming her to be a "cardio goddess", and Teddy later works out that Owen brought her as a present for his girlfriend, appearing more surprised by the fact Cristina was his girlfriend. She later would admit that she believed that if Owen had broke up with his ex fiance, Beth, he would have called her.
When George O'Malley and Alex were on his service, he discovered that George got calmer under pressure and told him that trauma should be his speciality. He assigned George to his service for a month. George took a shine to Owen and vice-versa and Owen hugged him, upon hearing that he was enlisting in the army.
When Owen came to work at Seattle Grace, Alex Karev admired him but did not know whether to be on his side or Mark or Derek's. For a short while he stayed on Owen's service but after discovering George's raw talent, Owen paid more attention to George and his relationship with Alex did not advance.
After accepting a job at Seattle Grace, he met more hostility. Following Meredith and Cristina's fight, he bonded with Derek and people began to warm to him. When Derek started to suffer from depression, Bailey sent Callie to the woods to bring Derek back. Then Owen was sent, to bring them both back. Owen even offered Derek the chance to be his best-man in his wedding, since their ladies were so close with each other. Derek ended up spending the night in jail after speeding, but Owen didn't seem too upset that he wasn't able to attend.
Izzie took an instant dislike to Owen, after he stabbed six pigs for the residents to save, in order to learn to work with "live tissue." She was not put on his service after that and neither really spoke to or about the other.
Following Meredith and Cristina's fight, Owen bonded with Derek and people began to warm-up to him. When Derek started to suffer from depression, Miranda Bailey sent Callie and Owen to the woods to bring Derek. Owen initially refused but when she started to stare him down he said "people don't usually say no to you, do they?"
The chief took a liking to him, when Owen first appeared, and now they are close friends.
Owen and Callie got along well, until the incident with Cristina and Owen erupted. Though they never fought over it, they both just avoided the other for a time. They are now on good terms once again.
Mark took an instant dislike to Owen after he refused to allow him to do a consult on a burn patient. Shortly after, he got angered with him that he let Karev use Skin Glue, and was complaining that he could have lost half of his face. Despite this initially argument, Owen and Mark have since bonded, and are now good friends.
Owen was engaged to a woman named Beth, but in the army, he broke it off in a two line email. She was always to emotional and attached to everything and everyone for him to handle. When he visited Seattle Grace, he kissed Cristina but left.
Owen was loved by both his parents and is quite close with his mother. Since returning taking up a job at SGH he failed to tell anyone that he knew before the army about being sent home (including his mother and ex-fiance). He phones his mother once a week but keeps conversations short, pretending to still be in Iraq, and unwilling to travel the six miles to see her, as he feels ashamed that he is not the person he once was, specifically, the son that his mother sent to war. In the end, Cristina convinces him to see his mother.
Casting and CreationEdit
Shonda Rhimes, series' creator, says that the character was envisioned "an old-fashioned tortured hero" and likens him to Heathcliff. Originally set to appear in a multi-episode story arc, Kevin McKidd's contract was extended, securing him a slot as a series' regular of Grey's Anatomy. In July 2008, Entertainment Weekly announced the possibility of McKidd becoming a series' regular, with this possibility eventually being confirmed by People. When asked of how he got involved with the show, McKidd offered the insight:
"I was doing a movie off and on for three months, and it was my son's birthday, so I managed to land back around 2 pm. Then I got a call from my agent, saying, "You have to turn back around because Shonda wants to meet you for this role on Grey's." I was like, "I'd love to meet her, but I can't. Can we do tomorrow?" And they're family-friendly, so they were really understanding. As soon as I heard the pitch for the character, I was sold on it. It's a different energy and a different viewpoint. I thought it was an important story to tell, especially on a prime-time TV show. To get in there and get your hands dirty and explore what trauma surgery is like in war zones and what it's like to rehabilitate yourself to civilian life. It's not just a new doctor showing up. It's exploring how hard it is to reintegrate yourself back into the real world after being in the war zone for three tours."
McKidd told Buddy TV, "It's been really great. I was nervous when I started because every job I've ever done before this, I have been in the job right from day one when everybody's new and getting to know each other. So I was nervous because I had never done this before. And I feel really grateful to the Grey's cast and crew and everyone there, really, because they've been so nice to me and gracious and accepting of me joining the show. The transition was much easier than I thought it might be, which I'm very grateful for." McKidd has told People that he thinks Grey's Anatomy is a great show and he feels lucky to be on it. Shonda Rhimes, the series' creator, said of his addition:
"I am excited to have Kevin McKidd joining us for the season, he's been a delight to collaborate with and brings incredible passion, talent and creativity to his work. Plus, he's already got the "Mc" built into his name so we had to keep him."
McKidd said of his character: "He's not an easy character to connect to, I think. There's some darkness to him and there's some danger to him that I think is really interesting and exciting to play." Additionally, McKidd describes Hunt as "very instinctive, and follows his gut, and he's very impulsive, and very immediate. He immediately assesses a situation. And he's very honest, sometimes painfully honest, with himself and with others. He wants to make himself better. He wants to improve himself as a person. He's a decent guy, a sort of guy I'd like to go out and have a beer with." McKidd's unorthodox teaching methods have been the subject of controversy. McKidd said of this:
"You know, I think, at the end of the day, (Owen) basically a good man who has some pretty extreme teaching techniques that he learned in the army. And all these things that are in the show are actually the way trauma surgeons are taught. But I think probably beyond that, he very much just calls a spade a spade and looks at each scenario. He's not trying to be difficult. He just looks at each scenario and each case and each patient and knows what is needed and when to cut to the chase, and doesn't want to mess about with the periphery of it. And sometimes that gets him into trouble, and sometimes that is for the best. So, it'd be interesting and kind of exciting to see where he goes."
The look of Owen has been described as hardcore and the antithesis of the other males on the show. McKidd says it's not just the look of Owen, but the fact that in his profession, he is dealing with life and death everyday. The one distinction he finds between his character and the others is that Owen does not care what other people think of him. When McKidd returned from his first appearance, his character appeared to have been changed. McKidd told TV Guide: "Yes, that was who he really is in the premiere, but now we're seeing what can happen to a good man, a good soldier and good surgeon (because of war)." The character of Owen Hunt had an almost instant attraction to Cristina Yang since his first appearance at Seattle Grace, illustrated by the passionate kiss they share soon after they meet. Owen's story and connection with fellow character Cristina has been a topic of discussion. McKidd said: "Between him and her, it's going to get really complex and kind of tense and explosive." Owen and Cristina have experienced roadblocks in their fictional relationship, and continue to. McKidd offered this insight on his character's relationship with Cristina:
"It's not going to be easy for them. What I read when I read the season premiere, and this is just my take on it, is that it was very much two very analytical people, Owen and Cristina. They're very similar in a way, I think, as people. Two analytical people see each other over a crowded ER room and their eyes meet. It's almost more complicated, but on a really simplistic level, it's almost a love at first sight scenario that happened on the season premiere. And then, what we're seeing is the road to connect that back, because obviously the season premiere was before he went back to Iraq and this event has happened to him that's changed him. And so, they're trying to get that feeling back because there's obviously something really true and meant to be between these two people. But it's complicated right now because she's damaged because of what's happened to her, and he is certainly struggling with himself and the people around him and the world in general, and trying to keep himself together after what's happened to him. So, I think, it's exciting to see what happens with these two guys because, in a way, they're the two people you'd least expect to have a love affair, but it's happening to them and they can't stop it."
McKidd has referred to his character and the character of Cristina Yang as "soulmates." Speaking of Owen's PTSD storyline, McKidd stated: "What's exciting about telling this story with this character is that it's quite brave of ABC and Shonda, on a prime-time network TV show, to address a tough subject, and one that people don't necessarily want to hear about. But so far the writing room is handling it beautifully. They're not banging people over the head with it but exploring it in a sensitive and interesting way." Owen and Cristina have struggled with their fictional relationship in season eight, leading to Owen having a sexual affair. Directly before the episode involving the affair aired, McKidd said to Entertainment Weekly: "The thing about Owen is that he tries to do things perfectly, and obviously, he messes up as the chief because you have to make these odd black-and-white decisions and sometimes you make the wrong decision. There's a lot of stress in his life at the moment, so he's trying not to let that affect his efficiency as chief." Although the characters' marriage is tested, McKidd reported to The Hollywood Reporter: "I think they're meant for each other. I hold out faith in Cristina and Owen, even though they go to the darkest place out of all the couples on the show. It's going to get worse but it's going to get better soon."
The character has received generally positive feedback from television critics. Weeks after Hunt's first appearance on the show, Matt Roush of TV Guide commented that "Hunt/McKidd is the most encouraging thing to happen to Grey's Anatomy in quite a while." He also added: "The instant sparks between him and Yang were electrifying." On the other hand, Robert Rorke of the New York Post states that McKidd was brought in as Hunt to "boost the sagging fortunes" of the show's ratings. Kelley L. Carter of USA Today, describes Hunt as "hardcore" and "the antithesis of the other males on the show." Chris Monfette of IGN said that the fifth season of Grey's Anatomy was an improvement on the previous two seasons, attributing this in part to the introduction of "fresh, new characters", Owen and Arizona Robbins. He also referred to McKidd as "the season's best, most effective addition", adding:
"Not only is McKidd an immediately likeable and engaging actor, his struggle with PTSD throughout the season, and especially how it impacted his burgeoning relationship with Cristina, proved both relevant and dramatically gripping. His interactions with Cristina were perfectly balanced for optimum drama, never together and never apart for so long that the back-and-forth became frustrating. Viewers could clearly see a softening of the typically hard-edged Cristina, a pleasant change for what had become something of a one-note character, as well as relate to Owen's internal struggles, shared by many a real-life war vet."
In 2010, Kevin McKidd was nominated for the Prism Award for Best Performance in a Drama Series' Multi-Episode Storyline, and successfully won the award. In 2011, McKidd was nominated for the Prism Award for Best Performance in a Drama Series, for his work on Grey's Anatomy. McKidd was nominated, along with the rest of the Grey's Anatomy cast, for Best Drama Series at the 21st GLAAD Media Awards, in 2010. Also in 2010, McKidd, and the rest of the cast, were nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, at the NAACP Image Awards. The same nomination was received at the 2011 NAACP Image Awards, with the cast successfully winning the award. At the 43rd NAACP Image Awards, in 2012, McKidd and the cast were nominated yet again for Outstanding Drama Series.