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Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth

Eliza Minnick hasn’t made the best first impression at Grey Sloan.

Not only did Minnick (Marika Dominczyk) basically oust Richard (James Pickens Jr) as the head of the surgical residency program, but she also essentially got Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) suspended. So when Minnick implements Phase 2 of her teaching methods during Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, the doctors of Grey Sloan won’t take it very well. EW turned to Dominczyk to get the scoop:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Eliza is implementing her next phase of teaching. What does that entail?
MARIKA DOMINCZYK: That entails 100 percent using Eliza’s method, which means the residents get to go to work and the attendings are way more hands-off. It’s going to be like a real trial of this method that Eliza believes is tried and true, and the only way to move the hospital forward.

How will the attendings take to the next phase?
They’re not going to like it. It’s going to take a little bit of arm twisting to get there. Not many of them like Eliza.

What is it like for you to play a character who is so universally hated right now?
It’s so funny because, honestly, I don’t look at it that way. As an actor, it’s so much fun to play this character for me, because I’m not like Eliza, I’m not Type-A. I’m not Eliza, so as an actor, it’s been the best and so fun to walk in and do this. Grey’s has such an enormous fanbase that I wasn’t aware of. I take it all with a grain of salt. I look at Twitter. I feel like it would be so boring if you just loved everybody all the time. That’s my personal opinion. I think it’s fun and I think she shakes it up a bit.

Do I think that her social graces are on point? Not necessarily. [Laughs] Would I behave the way she does? I wouldn’t. But, at the end of the day, she’s doing it because she super believes that her way is the best way. She got hired to do this job and she’s going to do it. Eliza said, “I’m not here to make friends,” and she believes that. Would she like to make friends? I’m sure. She can’t right now because her No. 1 goal is to do the job she was hired for. Unfortunately, that’s not a job people like her having.

Is she finding any other allies at the hospital?
She kind of finds an ally slowly. It goes a little bit back and forth. Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) has been in her corner sort of, kind of. Edwards (Jerrika Hinton) really likes her there. The people that want to learn and progress have been a little more open than some others, but it’s still like treading water. It’s been slow trying to get people on her side.

Do you think she can ever win the doctors over?
I don’t know if she can. Just like with the fans, there’s so much history, I think there’s so much history on the show within the hospital. I don’t know if they would all be like a kumbaya, love Eliza [situation]. She’s the type of character that’s not for everybody. Her bedside manner is not the best, so I don’t know. I hope so.

Eliza clearly has feelings for Arizona, so what’s that challenge like for her because she’s hated by the doctors who side with Richard (James Pickens Jr.)? Does she feel like there’s any hope for a relationship with Arizona?
I think she does, and that’s part of her appeal and part of why people don’t like her, because she doesn’t get it. For her, work is just work and this is what happens at work; people may or may not like it. When she’s not at work, she’s just who she is and likes who she likes, but not everybody operates that way; not everybody can separate the two. Eliza is the kind of character that believes that she can separate the two, so it’s no big deal. She doesn’t think about maybe how others don’t operate the same way.

Stay tuned after Thursday’s episode for more from Dominczyk on what’s next for Eliza and Arizona. Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

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