The 55-year-old portrays Dr. Addison Montgomery on the popular NBC drama, though she hasn’t been part of the cast for every season. Walsh was also part of the spinoff series “Private Practice.” After leaving for a while, the actress returned for season 18, believing it would be the final run.
“It’s an incredible platform to talk about social issues,” Walsh told Fox News Digital. “I just think it keeps going because fans love it and it’s an infrastructure that works.”
In season 19, Walsh again portrays an OB/GYN specializing in neonatal surgery. But now Dr. Montgomery also focuses on advocating for abortion following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“When we were talking about me coming in this season, we discussed this whole storyline, and I was really into it,” the actress said. “Part of the magic of art – whether it’s great literature or television, or film, or painting – it connects us. That storytelling is more powerful than a lot of things you can do in the private sector. … It’s a connector.”
The “Grey’s Anatomy” star stressed the importance of bringing social issues into the storytelling, especially ones about abortion.
“It’s really important, I know for the show, to tell all sides to any story. And to really look at it from all different angles. And have empathy and connection,” she said. “I’m thrilled and happy to be participating.”
“It’s a crazy time in the world and lots of change in the culture, and civil rights being taken away from people and I think it’s incredible to have a platform to explore it theatrically.”
During episode 5, “When I Get To the Border,” Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Bailey take a road trip to assist at an abortion clinic. One of the patients who lives in a neighboring state dies while trying to end her ectopic pregnancy. This leads to Bailey and Montgomery seeking to offer abortions at their home hospital.
The show also hits on the topic during episode 3 when Dr. Montgomery helps a student procure an abortion procedure. Walsh indicated during an interview with SheKnows that social issues like abortion would appear again in the second half of the season, which airs in 2023.
The actress said she’s excited for viewers to “examine themselves and ask themselves questions about their own belief systems or their own values, and hopefully be entertained on top of all that.”