James Pickens, Jr., Ellen Pompeo Preview Tonight's Grey's Anatomy

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Richard's had a rough year on Grey's Anatomy as it is. Now it's about to get a lot worse.

"Adele's Alzheimer's is progressively getting worse," James Pickens Jr. tells TV Guide.

"It's obvious now that the Alzheimer's is making her a danger to herself and possibly others ... We have something coming up that really brings the seriousness of her condition to the floor and forces him to act right away."

The incidents taking place tonight will be a catalyst for Richard.

Adele and Rich

He'll realize, Pickens says, that he can no longer leave Adele (Loretta Devine) alone. But while Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) insists that Richard check Adele into an assisted living establishment, he's in complete denial.

"He still loves Adele very deeply, and he doesn't want to think about the possibility that there may have to be some other options made in terms of her living arrangements and her being cared for," Pickens says.

"He doesn't want to make that decision right now."

Meredith understands what Richard is going through, obviously, having cared for Ellis. "She went through this thinking she could handle it herself, and then it just gets to a point where it's more than you can handle," Pompeo says.

"No convincing by Meredith is going to make Richard OK with putting Adele in a home."

It may be a hard realization to come to grips with. "One of the big deterrents for him putting Adele in Rose Ridge is the fact that he visited Ellis there so much and those memories weren't particularly good ones," Pickens adds.

"Now, the prospect of possibly putting his wife there is a little more than he can stomach."

In the middle of Richard's crisis, there's also Jackson's mother, Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen), returning in the March 15 episode. "He and Avery's mom are back and forth with a little flirtiness," he says.

Adds Pompeo: "That's going to make Richard feel guilty."

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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