At the Seattle Grace Hospital in Washington five surgical doctors face the trials and tribulations of their professions, tough teachers and each other.
At the centre of their lives, loves and conflicts is intern Meredith Grey. Ambitious, competitive, outspoken, regularly tired from working so hard, with a heart ready for love - she's one of the brightest of the bunch.
Her natural determination is fuelled by her mother's passion for medicine and the excellent reputation she has in the medical profession as a result.
To everyone else her mother continues to be the legend they know while Meredith hides the secret that she's in a nursing home, suffering from Alzheimers. In between her hospital scrubs she visits her mother, narrating experiences of her life, hoping she'll recognise her.
Around her facing both different and similar struggles are her fellow interns and friends. They are:
Cristina Yang, who has the knowledge and ambition to be a top surgeon but whose aggressive, competitive streak doesn't allow her access to the emotion required to deal with patients.
Bumbling, wide-eyed George O'Malley, who struggles with being overly emotional, telling patients what they want to hear when he shouldn't.
Ditzy model Isobel "Izzie" Stevens, who lacks self-confidence and rebels against the impressions of her by treating patients in a manner that endears her to them.
Arrogant Alex Karev, who enjoys making unorthodox decisions and always believes he's right - even when he isn't. He's been advised that he'd be most suited to becoming a plastic surgeon.
Making sure that they all become the doctors they should be are:
Miranda Bailey aka The Nazi, who rules the interns with an iron fist that's notorious amongst medical students.
Award-winning top surgeon, Preston Burke, who battles his arrogance and self-obsession as a result of his reputation and competitive ambition.
Highly regarded New York surgeon Derek Shepherd - Preston Burke's rival when it comes to both surgery and his bedside manner.
The head honcho boss of them all and Chief of Surgery Richard Webber.
Everyone's first 48-hour day together starts the very first season, preparing them for the adventures of life and death they embark on.