Shonda Rhimes is one of the most successful names in Hollywood. Through her company, Shondaland, the showrunner, creator, writer and executive producer has brought to life several hit television shows including "How to Get Away with Murder," "Private Practice," "Scandal," the upcoming Netflix series "Bridgerton" and, of course, "Grey's Anatomy." One actress we've come to know and love through her time on a Shondaland series? Ellen Pompeo! To mark the "Grey's Anatomy" star and producer's 51st birthday on Nov. 10, 2020, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at — and ranking — our favorite Shondaland characters. Keep reading for more…
RELATED: Stars not wearing makeup in 2020
15. Charlotte King, "Private Practice"
While we were initially unsure about her in the beginning, it didn't take us long to fall in love with Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland) on "Private Practice." Having overcome addiction and a toxic marriage, Charlotte epitomizes what it means to be a strong female character. She always manages to do what she wants when she wants without compromising who she is in the process. Also, it's worth noting: Her relationship with Cooper and his son Mason is absolutely adorable.
RELATED: Stars turning 50 in 2020
14. Frank Delfino, "How to Get Away With Murder"
There's something dangerously delightful about Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber) on "How to Get Away With Murder." From the beginning of the show, it was apparent that Frank had a very close relationship with Annalise Keating — of course, we didn't know the extent of it. While his day job sees him working as an associate, by night, he's a henchman responsible for carrying out Annalise's requests in some not-quite-legal ways. At the end of season 1, we saw a darker side of Frank when it was revealed that he was responsible for Lila's murder.
13. Callie Torres, "Grey's Anatomy"
There wasn't much to dislike about orthopedic surgeon Callie Torres, who was played to perfection by Sara Ramirez on "Grey's Anatomy." Beloved for her sincerity and memorable, quippy one-liners, she quickly established herself as a fan favorite. In addition to having some seriously sweet moments on the show (i.e., when she unapologetically busted some dance moves in her underwear in the hospital's basement), Callie exhibits incredible strength. Even in the face of the most difficult circumstances — like realizing your significant other cheated on you — her resilience shines through.
12. Addison Montgomery, "Private Practice"
While she was disliked by Meredith and Derek shippers, we can't help but adore Kate Walsh's Addison Montgomery. The "Private Practice" character wasn't without her flaws, of course, but she was hardworking, compassionate and personable — and even though she and Meredith Grey didn't always see eye to eye, Addison tried her best to remain cordial following her divorce from Derek. There's a complexity to her — she often comes off as confident and assured, but she isn't afraid to get vulnerable and admit when she's afraid.
11. Michaela Pratt, "How to Get Away With Murder"
Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) exemplified what it meant to be a hardworking and driven student. Strong-willed, feisty and unyielding in her pursuit of her goals, the "How to Get Away With Murder" character seldom stopped — despite the cost — to get what she wanted. She often resembled Annalise Keating in that she wasn't afraid to carry out a well-calculated scheme if it meant protecting herself and her friends. Also, her relationship with Connor (Jake Falahee) is everything.
10. Laurel Castillo, "How to Get Away with Murder"
While she seems reserved and bookish at the beginning of the show, we eventually come to realize that "How to Get Away with Murder" character Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) is a force to be reckoned with. Sure, she comes off as an awkward genius-type but there's so much more to her — namely, that she's actually pretty scary. When necessary, she relies on manipulation to get her way and isn't afraid to go against the law and exploit those around her as a means to an end (ahem, Frank Delfino). She isn't as timid as she seems, and that added layer of complexity is what makes her such a fascinating yet wildly unpredictable character.
9. Bonnie Winterbottom, "How to Get Away With Murder"
In addition to the fact that she's played by the exceptional Liza Weil (who famously appeared on "Gilmore Girls"), Bonnie Winterbottom is such an intriguing "How to Get Away With Murder" character. Her intelligence is apparent from the get-go, as is her uptight demeanor. As one of Annalise's closest companions who's in on all her secrets, Bonnie remains tough in the face of a daunting situation. She's calculated, stoic and incredibly loyal.
8. Eli Pope, "Scandal"
Whether you love him or love to hate him, there's no question about it: Eli Pope was one of TV's most entertaining characters. Eli (Joe Morton) is a man without limits — he works hard and is respected but neither wants nor craves the prestige that comes with his success. In addition to crafting an impressive career for himself, he also raised Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), who we (of course!) have come to know as one of the most intelligent women in Washington, D.C.
7. Mellie Grant, "Scandal"
While Bellamy Young's Mellie Grant from "Scandal" isn't necessarily everyone's favorite character, she's a standout for us. Say what you want about her, but Mellie exemplifies what it means to be a resilient woman — even with all that she's been through, she doesn't let her trauma define her. She isn't afraid to be vulnerable, but she also doesn't stew in it — instead, she turns her pain into action. She forges ahead even amidst the most gut-wrenching moments and comes out stronger for it all. Plus, a woman as president? That's something we can get behind.
6. Miranda Bailey, "Grey's Anatomy"
Selfless, charming and exceptional at what she does, "Grey's Anatomy" doc Miranda Bailey was one of the series' most celebrated characters. Portrayed by Chandra Wilson, who also earned an impressive four Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her performance as the chief of surgery, Miranda showed what it meant to be a hardworking, empowering and successful woman of color. She is self-assured and unafraid to speak her mind. Miranda remains collected in even the most nerve-racking situations (like when she operated on Meredith during the power outage). Seriously, there's no one like her.
5. Derek Shepherd, "Grey's Anatomy"
Alright, we get the appeal: charming, great at what he does and a hopeless romantic … There's a reason he's called McDreamy! While he didn't exactly have the most refined moral compass, "Grey's Anatomy" heartthrob Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) will always be remembered for his heroic, selfless ways (i.e., when he risks getting killed by a bomb in the hospital to try to save Bailey's husband's life) and, of course, his epic romance with Meredith that spanned season upon season. While we were sad to see him go, Derek goes down as one of our favorite characters of any Shondaland series.
4. Olivia Pope, "Scandal"
Shondaland shows have become known for their complex and often morally conflicted female protagonists, and Olivia Pope is no exception. The "Scandal" lead played by Kerry Washington is far from perfect — she engages in an affair and takes on a job at the White House in an effort to keep it alive. That said, these flaws are perhaps what draw us to her — they function to help us realize, as viewers, that she was never meant to be this virtuous character. She's excellent at her job but she's no stranger to falling short when it comes to making the upstanding choice.
3. Meredith Grey, "Grey's Anatomy"
In our third spot? None other than the heart of "Grey's Anatomy," Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). While we could go on about how much growth she's shown over the course of the series, there's one aspect of her character we need to highlight more — and that's how relatable she is. She's never claimed to be perfect and readily admits when she isn't — even in the scariest of moments when it's easier to shy away from being truthful, she speaks with candor. She thinks with her heart, and while it doesn't always go her way, that's something commendable. Plus, she gave us some of the most quotable, heartbreaking lines of dialogue: "Pick me. Choose me. Love Me."
2. Annalise Keating, "How to Get Away with Murder"
Fiercely self-reliant, intelligent and cunning, there's no one quite like "How to Get Away with Murder" lead Annalise Keating. Portrayed by Viola Davis, who earned an Emmy in 2015 for her portrayal, Annalise was ruthless — in the best way possible. She took emotion out of business — as a criminal lawyer, she'd stop at nothing to win the case, even if it meant having to cut corners and go against the law to do so. Annalise is as complex as they come: She buries herself in her work to avoid dealing with her own emotional trauma, she's fiercely loyal, she'll protect her own no matter what and she isn't afraid to tell it how it is. She bets on herself time and time again and proves that really, when push comes to shove, you're all you need.
1. Cristina Yang, "Grey's Anatomy"
And our No. 1 spot goes to… Cristina Yang! Played effortlessly by "Killing Eve" sensation Sandra Oh, the "Grey's Anatomy" doc is an example of what a well-rounded, unpredictable and relatable female character looks like. She's judgmental and blunt, but she always shows up for her loved ones. What we love most about Cristina, though? The fact that beneath her stoicism and tough-woman attitude is someone who is actually really vulnerable. She's relatable in that she often closes herself off from sharing her emotions initially, but eventually pushes herself to admit when she's struggling — ultimately, she'd rather be real than pretend to be something she's not. Also, it goes without saying, but Cristina is arguably one of television's best friends… ever.