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The Long, Insane, Dark Story of Elisabeth Finch’s Lies

There are stories so unlikely that if they were written in fiction they would not convince anyone, at least not in a soap opera or a melodrama. So it is ironically appropriate that Elizabeth Finch has been a screenwriter for Grey’s Anatomy, one of the series in which the characters have lived through so many traumatic experiences that it is unreasonable that they still function as humans. Because it is? Because Finch invented not just one horrible drama about his life, but several… and each one worse than the other.. Come on, it’s like he wrote his life alla Grey’s but with the traumatic icing that he did it in the real world and affecting the lives of other people. But let’s go into detail, because that’s where the improbable opens up by leaps and bounds and continues, even when you think that the story couldn’t be worse.

A few months ago, Elisabeth Finch was placed on administrative leave from her job as a screenwriter for the series Grey’s Anatomy. The reason was an open investigation into a series of lies he had told and that were exposed in a devastating profile of Vanity Fair. Finch began work on the medical series during its tenth season (currently in season 18), after writing an essay on she about your diagnosis with a chondrosarcoma, a rare and almost always fatal form of bone cancer. The screenwriter had already worked on The Vampire Diaries Y TrueBlood (the latter will reappear later), but he had always wanted to write in the flagship series of Shondaland and with his well-written (and heroic) essay on his illness he achieved an audience with her own. Shonda Rhimeswho introduced him to the showrunner of Grey’s.

Shonda Rhimes on the cover of EW September 2015. At the peak of her popularity. | Image via EW.

Finch, still “sick with cancer,” monopolized the writers’ meetings when any of the plots dealt with the disease, recounting her ordeals with treatment and her courage in the face of uncertainty and discomfort. The quotation marks, as you may have guessed, are there because Finch never had cancer. Not one near-fatal or otherwise. oh! The writer came to tell with tears in her eyes that she, during her chemotherapy treatments, had become pregnant and had had to abort: she had to decide between the life of her baby or her own, that’s how she summed it up.

In the writers’ room, Finch’s stories were strong, but It wasn’t until “his story” became central to a series of episodes that Finch began giving interviews and becoming more visible.. The plot, which those who watch the series will have already guessed, is Catherine Fox (played by Debbie Allen), the president of the Fox Foundation, wife of series veteran Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.).

“I have made peace with my present, I am a person with a disability, a person living with cancer.”

Elisabeth Finch to Entertainment Weekly

The doctor is diagnosed with an inoperable chondrosarcoma and, in the style Grey’s, she is miraculously saved by two of the hospital’s star doctors (including the protagonist, Meredith Grey), but part of her cancer, like Finch’s fictional cancer, is still there, inoperable and making her a person who lives and lives with the disease. Finch actually talked to Entertainment Weekly on her cancer and the experience of writing the episode: “I have a small tumor at the base of my spine that won’t shrink and can’t be removed. I receive treatment and have frequent scans to make sure it doesn’t grow. I am a person living with cancer and that may never change. I am strong, I am capable. There may be medical advances, but I can’t predict the future. I have made peace with my present, I am a person with a disability, a person living with cancer.

The emotional episode for which Finch became famous. | Image via Grey’s Anatomy/ABC.

His cancer, in addition to interviews, gave him other benefits: such as skipping long hours of work, leaving others the brown of finishing theirs or disappearing for weeks “because he needed treatment.” The lie, unlike cancer, did not stop growing. Finch said she was chosen for a medical trial at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota (which allowed her to take time off her work), she wrote more than eight articles on the subject and said she needed a kidney transplant. Yes, and the latter is not the craziest thing. Who do you think she “should be thanking” for solving her kidney problem? Actress Anna Paquin, whom she met when she was writing for the series she was starring in, TrueBlood. (Paquin has declined to comment on this issue to Vanity Fair.)

more and more lies

In March 2019, a synagogue in Pittsburgh was visited by a gunman who opened fire on worshipers with a gun, killing 11 people. Finch, who had gone to college in that city, was quick to bring up the subject. In a tweet he said: “Please do not send me photos of the man who killed my friend.” Yes, according to Finch, a good friend had been killed in the shooting. Not only that, it was she who had picked up the body of her friend of hers from the floor of the synagogue (yes, the police, unusually, had let her do it).

It was as a result of his post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) from the death of his friend (something that, again, never happened) that he checked himself into a rehab facility. When she did, she pointed out that her name was Jo (a character from the series).

It may be that here, in all that he did, he has done his greatest damage. During his stay in the rehabilitation center he met Jennifer Beyer. The woman had entered the facility after 18 years of an extremely abusive marriage in which she was systematically physically, emotionally and sexually assaulted by her partner. Beyer suffered from post-traumatic stress not only because of the abuse but because no one had believed her claims (her ex-husband was very good at making others believe that she was the one who was unstable and making things up) and she lived in constant fear. Her children were in state care while her divorce proceedings were taking place. It was in this terrible state that Beyer met Finch, or as she called herself, Jo.

Camilla Luddington plays Jo Wilson on Grey’s Anatomy. | Image via ABC.

Before continuing, something must be highlighted, after this stay of Finch/Jo in rehabilitation, the plot of Jo Wilson’s character is as follows: she has a violent ex-husband, who deceived those who knew them and isolated her to such a level that she had to flee and change the name. Her character then finds out that she was abandoned because her birth mother was raped and in a serious state of depression, enters a rehabilitation center, where he recovers thanks to the help of a therapist named Carly. Family? oh! And let’s not forget to say that the therapist who helped Beyer in real life at her rehab center was named, yes, Carly.

It is surprising that history is still missing, but it is missing, yes. During Jo and Beyer’s stay at the center, the two became close friends. Part of the reason was that they had a common past of abuse since Jo had been terribly abused by her brother growing up (again, and in case I need to repeat it, it’s not true). Beyer declares to Vanity Fair that the stories in common (those of Jo always similar to the ones she had shared before) united them so much that they fell in love.

While in the world of work and family with Finch they thought he had cancer and suffered PTSD due to the death of his friend, in the intimate world with Beyer, Jo was recovering from her friend’s trauma and dealing with her brother’s violence… and she had no choice. cancer. It is not difficult to see that the conclusion was not going to turn out well.

When Finch’s parents came to visit her one weekend, the truth (or the made-up truth) had to come out. Despite asking her parents to call her Jo, when she talked about her horrible brother neither of them knew what she was talking about. She also didn’t know what Beyer’s friend’s mother was talking about when she told him that she was worried about her cancer.

Despite everything, Beyer’s problems were greater than a lie that she forgot (or wanted to forget) when her ex threatened to come looking for her. At that time, coincidentally, Jo’s brother was also approaching her and threatening her.

The two women got out of rehab in mid-2019 and continued to communicate. Beyer lived in fear, her ex-husband, whom she was in the process of divorcing, posting photos on social media near the shelter she was staying at. But, amid the traumatic experience, love blossomed between Finch and Beyer.

Debbie Allen studying the episode with Elisabeth Finch. | Image via ABC/Entertainment Weekly.

As her second court date about her divorce approached, Beyer was informed that her ex-husband had been to her house – she was visiting Finch – had broken it and committed suicide. For her part, only days later Finch wrote to the writers of Grey’s Anatomy to tell them that her abusive brother had committed suicide and that, being a doctor, he had done it in such a way that he made sure he was brain dead to, as a last torture, force her to disconnect him.

At the end of 2019, the couple got engaged (this, although incredible, is true). In Finch’s work world her brother had died and she was living with cancer and in her staff her brother harassed her and she was a rock to Beyer. Soon everything would culminate dramatically. The couple got married and in 2020 Covid arrived and everyone was worried about the cancer patient Finch, her family and her co-workers. Beyer had become suspicious after a visit to the doctor and then began checking his wife’s social media when Finch returned to episodes related to the Pittsburgh shooting. On the dates that she had “helped clean up his friend’s body,” she had been partying. There were also photos of Elisabeth bald, but Beyer was a nurse and something was wrong. And then he confronted her. Finch agreed with him: he had lied about the cancer, about his brother’s threatening letters, about the shooting…

Beyer insisted that she be honest with the other people in her life, and for her part, she sought therapy. When she contacted Carly, her former therapist, she found out that Finch had hired her to work with her and they were spending a lot of time together (Beyer still stood to lose custody of her children because of her past problems and Finch was now her adoptive mother).

Scene in which Finch plays the nurse via ABC.

Beyer told Vanity Fair who thought about committing suicide and then checked into another help center. After a stay there, she made one last attempt to save her marriage. Finch had to be honest with everyone and, only then, would there be something to save. Finch was slow to do so, but one after another the people in her life heard how everything she had told for years was not true. But when Beyer received, forwarded, the email about the “suicide” of Finch’s brother, there was no turning back.

Beyer wrote to Shonda Rhimes and Krista Vernoff, the showrunner of the series, and asked them not to let Finch tell more stories than other people’s. For their part, the other writers began to investigate and discovered the truth: that nothing that Elisabeth Finch had told was even remotely true.

Currently, the two women are in the process of divorce. And Finch has only come out publicly to talk about her absence from the writing team of Grey’s Anatomy and how did your family feel. It does not refer to any of the allegations.

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