Grey's Anatomy (2005– )
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Winning a Battle, Losing the War 

Izzie and Cristina are assigned a close-to-brain-dead John Doe who may be a viable candidate for organ donation, and helpful to George's patient, who needs a new liver. Meanwhile, Meredith and Alex butt heads over a patient of their own.


Tony Goldwyn


Shonda Rhimes (created by), Shonda Rhimes

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ellen Pompeo ... Dr. Meredith Grey
Sandra Oh ... Dr. Cristina Yang
Katherine Heigl ... Dr. Izzie Stevens
Justin Chambers ... Dr. Alex Karev
T.R. Knight ... Dr. George O'Malley
Chandra Wilson ... Dr. Miranda Bailey
James Pickens Jr. ... Dr. Richard Webber
Isaiah Washington ... Dr. Preston Burke
Patrick Dempsey ... Dr. Derek Shepherd
Keith David ... Lloyd Mackie
Callum Blue ... Viper
Claire Lautier ... Shelley
Steven W. Bailey ... Jeremy
Kathleen M. Darcy ... Anesthesiologist
Zina Zaflow ... Nurse


A bike race injures several people, one of whom is left brain dead. Cristina and Izzie want to use his organs for organ donation, but they find the organ harvesting process an emotional one. Meanwhile, George deals with an over-flirtatious patient and Meredith has to deal with Izzie and George moving in, Alex showing off, and keeping Derek at arm's length. Written by Alex

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Drama | Romance


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 April 2005 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Every episode of the show is named after a famous song. "Winning a Battle, Losing the War" is a song by Kings of Convenience. See more »


When Cristina and Meredith are talking to Dr. Burke while he is in the men's restroom, the door swings into the bathroom yet has no handle on the inside of the door to allow for those inside the bathroom to exit. That is the only door for the restroom, so Dr. Burke is trapped when they shut the door. See more »


Dr. George O'Malley: I ordered Chinese food...
Dr. Meredith Grey: I HATE Chinese food!
See more »


I Won't Be Left
Written by Tegan and Sara
Performed by Tegan and Sara
Courtesy of Vapor Us
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User Reviews

George comes into his own
27 February 2008 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

It is hardly a coincidence that the funniest character on Grey's Anatomy shares his first name with the funniest character on Seinfeld: George. Okay, so George O' Malley is nowhere near as selfish, chubby or balding as George Costanza, but he is every bit as insecure, as shown in all its glory in this episode.

What started like a normal day becomes a mess rather quickly: an annual bike race is causing several people to wind up at the hospital (the poor idiots think it isn't fun to ride on the sidewalks), including one man who is declared officially brain-dead in a short amount of time. At this point, Izzie and Cristina think it would be a good idea to remove his organs for donation, an idea that would certainly please Lloyd Mackie (Keith David), a cancer-struck friend of Dr. Webber who's been waiting for a new liver for eight months and kills time by flirting with the intern in charge of looking after him: George. In the meantime, Meredith keeps resisting Derek's offers to go out on a real date.

For the first time, what happens on the operating table has an effect on the young doctors and their ethics system - Izzie, in particular, starts to resemble a proper character instead of a mere caricature of juvenile idealism (then again, she used to be a model, so maybe it was deliberate), an element that will be explored further in later episodes. What really makes Winning a Battle, Losing the War memorable, though, is the interactions between George and Mackie: T.R. Knight seems to channel Jason Alexander most of the time, especially when he insists he isn't gay (a bit ironic, given the actor came out during the production of Season Three), while Keith, best known as a voice-over artist, exudes tons of charm with his relaxing, paced words, brilliantly subverting the "dirty old man" cliché.

Overall, pretty good: entertaining, occasionally moving, and clear proof of the show's fine eye for guest stars.


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