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Ed, I can't apologize enough. I know it doesn't matter to you, but I am sorrier for what I did to you than anything I've ever done in my entire life.— Kelly Grayson[1]
Kelly Grayson is a Human Commander and First Officer aboard the USS Orville. Unlike most of the crew who served under the Orville's previous captain, Kelly personally requested to serve as Ed Mercer's first officer. She previous served aboard a different, unidentified ship.[2]

Kelly is portrayed by Adrianne Palicki.

Early lifeEdit

Kelly I'd love it

Kelly accepts Ed's offer for a second date.

Kelly Grayson was likely born on Earth[3] on November 2 in the 2380s or early 2390s.[4] Growing up, her most important goals in life were to fall in love, to captain her own ship, and "to help make the galaxy a better place."[5]

Kelly Grayson's father served within the Planetary Union and she followed in his foot steps.[6] As a child, Kelly took piano lessons because she was told she "had the hands for it" but quit after three lessons. "Had the hands," she recounted. "But not the talent."[7]

Kelly enrolled at Union Point, where she took courses in diplomacy[8] and a year of interplanetary law.[9] Grayson recounts that her diplomacy professor, Professor Fincher, falsely told others that she wanted to hook up with him and, enraged, she pushed him into a pool.[8]

Kelly recalled of her time at Union Point, "I used to drink all night and then report for duty the next morning."[3] In one incident, Kelly slid down the main conduit in her underwear as a party game with other cadets but was caught by her commanding officer. Staff made Kelly clean toilets as punishment.[3]

After matriculation, Kelly served as a Science Officer in the Planetary Union; first as an ensign, and then as a lieutenant by 2413.[3]

Dating Ed Mercer and travel to the year 2421 Edit

Kelly met and dated Ed Mercer in late 2413, a fellow officer several years her senior. Their first date consisted of a night of heavy drinking. While brewing coffee to treat her hangover, Kelly was sent to the USS Orville in the year 2421 after a version of herself from 2421 came into contact with a quantum accelerator.

The future upset younger Kelly: divorced, childless, socially distant from the crew, and never having attained captaincy. The older Kelly grew disappointed and sad: "When I was younger I used to think I'd be a captain at this point in my life. ... I thought I'd have a husband and kids by now."

Young Kelly was briefly made an officer in the year 2421 and served aboard the Orville until the Isaac and Chief Engineer John LaMarr learned how to return her to 2414. Before leaving, young Kelly tells her older self that she was impressed by her leadership and constitution to serve as first officer. Doctor Claire Finn administered a drug before young Kelly returned to make her forget that she will date, marry, and eventually divorced Ed over the next seven years.

Alternate timeline: 2413 through 2421 Edit

Kelly alternate

Kelly in an alternate timeline.

Claire's memory wipe fails because Kelly is deficient in the protein beta-secretase. Young Kelly decides to turn down Ed's request for a second date to spare themselves the pain of a failed marriage, sparking a different chain of events where Ed never helms the Orville and the Kaylon win the Battle of Earth.[10]

In this timeline, Kelly serves aboard several ships as an officer. After the Kaylon victory at Earth in early 2421, she secures a scavenger ship and recruits members of the Orville from the original timeline, including Ed and Claire. She sends Claire back in time to 2413 with a modified memory-wiping drug. After Claire wipes young Kelly's memory, the alternate timeline is erased and Kelly accepts Ed's request for a second date, returning events to the original timeline.[10]

Marriage to Ed and divorce Edit

Ed and Kelly picnic

Ed and Kelly on a date.

The two married later in 2414. During Ed's officer exam, Kelly surprised him with a picnic date of sandwiches, banana bread, and rosé wine.[8]

Kelly and Ed lived in an apartment in New York City.[2]

The two were friends with another couple, Jeff and Maureen. (In fact, Ed and Kelly each hated them, but assumed the other like them.) When they invited Ed and Kelly to an opera, Kelly made Ed smoke marijuana beforehand, knowing he hates opera. Kelly mixed up joints and accidentally gave him her "weapons-grade weed." The marijuana took effect in the middle of the theater, and Ed grew intensely paranoid he would be paralyzed if he stayed in his seat for longer than two minutes. He jumped out of his seat and "bashed" Maureen's head, giving her a massive bruise on her face. Jeff and Maureen stopped hanging out with Ed and Kelly.[11]

Ed's commitment to work and neglect of their relationship made Kelly feel lonely and miserable. Ed commuted to Epsilon Eridani every day for several months.[3] In late 2418, Ed caught Kelly in bed with Darulio, a Retepsian civilian archaeologist in the Union. They divorced soon after and did not see each other for a year.[2]

Wracked by guilt, Kelly quietly convinced Admiral Halsey to promote Ed to captain and to make her first officer.[12] Kelly mentions that she was assigned to a different ship prior to joining the Orville, and "bailed on her crewmates" to transfer.[2] Halsey later stated that he agreed because of his friendship with her father.[6] Both are soon assigned to the USS Orville.

Early career as first officer Edit

Kelly is picked up by the USS Orville from Station 794 on September 10, 2419, joining the team on its first mission under now-Captain Ed Mercer to Epsilon 2. Ed is furious and Kelly states that she will request transfer off the Orville.[2]

The next day, Kelly joins an away team to Epsilon Science Station on Epsilon 2. Their mission takes an unexpected turn when Derek Ashton, a researcher and Krill spy, hails a Krill destroyer to attack the station and seize its quantum accelerator.

The away team manages to return to the Orville with Doctor Aronov and the device. Outclassed by the heavier Krill ship, Ed and Kelly cunningly send the accelerator to the destroyer with the seed of a redwood tree. Ed remotely activates the device, causing the seed to erupt in growth and destroy the Krill ship.

Kelly arranges for Lieutenant Murphy of the USS Chanute to replace her. After their narrow victory in the Battle of Epsilon 2, and deeply impressed with her clever solution, Ed asks Kelly to remain First Officer.

Imprisonment in a Calivon zoo Edit

Around September or October 2419, the Orville picks up a distress call from the USS Blériot. When they arrive, a battle with the Krill has just ended and Ed learns his parents, Jeannie and Bert, are aboard. Ed and Kelly take a shuttle over, leaving Alara acting captain.
Calivon Zoo Ed Mercer Kelly Grayson

Ed and Kelly are the newest addition to a Calivon zoo.

The Blériot is actually a Calivon buoy with a teleporter disguised by a holographic generator. The buoy sends Ed and Kelly to a zoo exhibit: an exact replica of their old apartment in New York City. Within a few days, Ed and Kelly devolve to bickering.

Meanwhile, the Orville traces Ed and Kelly to Calivon space. Alara and Isaac negotiate their release. (Alara nearly gets Ed and Kelly killed when she tells the Calivon Zoo Administrator that the pair are sick.) Once freed, Ed resumes command of the ship.

Dorahlian bioship Edit

Grayson Tomilin Mercer Finn Torture

Kelly was badly tortured by Hamelac.

The Orville encounters a massive bioship in November 2419. Kelly joins an away team into the ship only to discover an enormous interior ecosystem, so Ed splits the team into two: Ed, Isaac, and Doctor Claire Finn in one group and Kelly and Chief of Security Alara Kitan in the other.

Kelly and Alara are stopped by police of a theocratic dictatorship led by Hamelac. They shoot Alara and leave her for dead and kidnap Kelly. Hamelac tortures and interrogates Kelly, believing her to be a Reformer, a member of secretive group of religious dissidents. Alara wakes up and contacts Ed, who rescues her and leads a rescue mission to save Kelly.

The group storms Hamelac's headquarters and takes Kelly by force. As the Reformers have now taken over the ship from Hamelac's government, the Union rescues the population on the bioship and settles them on a planet.

Theft of the Orville and letter of reprimand Edit

Pria Lavesque Charlize Theron Kelly Grayson

Kelly (left) at a cocktail party

I think you're letting her charisma cloud the fact that she may not be what she seems.— Kelly Grayson to Ed Mercer[13]
Kelly received a letter of reprimand on her permanent record in November or December 2419 after a serious breach of privacy. When the Orville picks up the distress signal from the Horizon, a ship trapped on a nearby sundiver, an away team rescues its captain, Pria Lavesque. Ed invites Pria to a cocktail party later that evening and the two soon begin dating.

Pria claims to be a Vega Mining Consortium worker but is secretly from the 29th century. During a tour of the ship's Engineering, she installs a small device which grants her control of the Orville. Kelly and Alara suspect Pria is not who she says she is and illegally search her quarters. Ed is furious and places a letter of reprimand on Kelly's file. Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Steve Newton discovers Pria's device.

Pria reveals her true identity: an antiquities dealer from the future who traveled through a wormhole to steal the Orville. She takes the Orville to the 29th century for sale to a Benzian collector, but the Orville's crew manages to wrest control back and flee to the 25th century.

Ed vows never to mistrust his First Officer, Kelly again, and the Orville destroys the wormhole, permanently altering the timeline.

Rescue of John LaMarr from Sargus 4 Edit

Orville Majority rule

Kelly purchases Vote Badges on Sargus 4.

Around late December 2419, Kelly joins Claire, Alara, and Navigator John LaMarr on a search for Union anthropologists Tom and Lewis, both of whom went missing during an undercover mission on Sargus 4. John grinds on a statue of Mella Giffendon, and a video is uploaded to the planet's Master Feed. The police arrest John for his offense and he is forced to undergo an apology tour. Kelly follows John through his tour, and she explains the repercussion of failing an apology tour - Social Correction - which terrifies John.

Kelly, Claire, and Alara meet Lysella, a native Sargun barista, and recruit her to find Lewis, who was socially corrected a month prior. (Tom was killed attempting to escape Social Correction.) Lewis is taken to the Orville; Claire determines that his correction drastically and irreversibly damaged his brain. Kelly and Alara take Lyslla to the Orville and, along with Ed, Gordon, Second Officer Bortus, and Isaac, successfully manipulate the Master Feed to change Sargun opinion of John. As John received too few downvotes required for Social Correction, he is freed and returns to the ship.

Other missions Edit

IMG 1563

Kelly is strongly against sex reassignment of Bortus and Klyden's child.

Darulio returns, and the Navarian-Bruidian conflict Edit


Tempers (and passions) rise when Kelly's old flame returns.

Oh, am I yelling? Am I yelling? Are you worried people are gonna hear that you banged Darulio again when you were supposed to be in the shuttle bay preventing a war from starting? Are you insane?Ed Mercer to Kelly Grayson[15]

Around January 2420, the Orville supervises research on an ancient birthing bucket discovered on the planet Lopovius. Ownership of the world is claimed by the Bruidian and Navarian species, resulting in a protracted and bloody conflict. As the birthing bucket contains genetic material of the first peoples of Lopovius, both sides agree to honor the analysis of the Planetary Union as proof of one species' right to the planet.

Compounding the problem is that the Union forensic archaeologist joining the Orville is Darulio, the man who slept with Kelly in 2418. Worse, Kelly sleeps with Darulio a second time when she is supposed to greet the Navarian delegation in the Shuttle Bay. Captain Ed Mercer is outraged and threatens to dismiss Darulio, but Kelly is un-remorseful and desires a relationship with him.

Ed confronts the archeologist in Science Lab 1 and is unwittingly exposed to Darulio's sex pheromones and develops an attraction. Ed courts Darulio, ignoring his duties and jeopardizing the peace process, and ultimately sleeps with Darulio as the threat of war looms. Kelly is heartbroken that Darulio stays with Ed, and stays in her quarters crying.

Fortunately, Chief of Security Alara Kitan learns of Darulio's pheromones and, with Nurse Henry Park, use synthesized Retepsian pheromones to lure the Navarian and Bruidian ambassadors into a temporary romantic asttraction. Both sides call off hostilities, and Kelly (and Ed) recover from the influence of Darulio's pheromones.

First contact with a multiphasic planet Edit

Kelly Grayson girl dermoscanner

Kelly heals an injured girl and changes that planet's history forever.

I didn't heal that girl with my touch. I used a tool. Like you would use a garden hoe or a hammer. It's just a little more advanced, that's all.— Kelly Grayson to the Valondis[16]

Kelly and Ed begin dating again in April or May 2420. Meanwhile, Kelly joins Helmsman Gordon Malloy, and Isaac on an away team that crash-lands on an uncharted planet. Kelly explores the planet's surface while Gordon and Isaac repair the shuttle. She encounters two young indigenous girls, one of whom falls and cuts her forehead, and Kelly uses a dermoscanner to heal her. The native people witnessed the healing and worship Kelly as a god. Ed, protecting Kelly, neglects to include Kelly's first contact in his incident report to Admiral Ozawa.

Kelly Grayson

A mother thinks Kelly is the return of her goddess.

The planet is multiphasic: it spends 11 days in an alternate universe and appears in the USS Orville's universe for a brief time before returning to the other one. Moreover, time progresses far slower in the alternate universe. Eleven days in the Orville's universe is equivalent to 700 years in the other.

When the planet next appears, it has advanced from a bronze-age level of technological development to something like the Middle Ages on Earth. When an away team travels to the surface, a woman recognizes Kelly as a deity and begs Kelly to bless her son. Along a road, the team sees people crucified for disbelief in Kelly. In a nearby city, a mother warns her child that Kelly watches him always; a man slits the wrists of accused criminals, saying that if they are innocent, Kelly will heal them. Admiral Ozawa is furious that first contact was made. She formally reprimands Ed and orders the Orville to stand by.

Kelly is deeply upset that people worship and kill in her name. She returns to the planet to find the Valondis, the religious leader, and convinces him she is not divine. However, after Kelly leaves, a nearby official murders the Valondis to preserve power in the Church of Kelly, and worship of Kelly continues unabated another 700 years.

Kelly Grayson

Kelly realizes the planet now worships her as a goddess.

Kelly offers to stay on the planet to correct her mistake, but the Orville's senior staff sends Isaac, whose body endures for millions of years. Isaac returns 11 days later, the planet having evolved well beyond the Union's capabilities. She learns that, as the peoples eventually surpassed the Union in technological prowess, they abandoned religion and belief in Kelly irrespective of the Orville's interference.

Recognizing that Ed compromised his professional judgment to protect her, she breaks up with him.

June 2420 through January 2421 Edit

Giliac camps Regorian

Kelly and Bortus are imprisoned in this Regorian prison camp.

Kelly continues to serve aboard the USS Orville and begins dating Cassius, a civilian schoolteacher on the ship, starting in late June 2420.[17] The two announce their relationship to Ed Mercer in August.[18]

Imprisonment on Regor 2Edit

In October 2420, Kelly joins a first contact delegation to Regor 2. The Regorians learn that Kelly and Second Officer Bortus were born in the month of Giliac according to their astrological system, and imprison them in a Giliac camp.

While the Planetary Union tries a diplomatic solution to free Kelly and Bortus, Kelly witnesses widespread abuses by the Regorian guards against fellow Giliacs and the two become convinced that a violent insurrection is necessary. Kelly and Bortus attempt a prison break and nearly succeed, but are re-captured at the prison gates.

The guards decide to execute Kelly and Bortus, but stop when they see a new star in the sign of Giliac. (In reality, the Orville had positioned a solar sail to imitate a new star and disrupt the constellation.) The Regorian government frees both officers shortly thereafter.

Other missions Edit



Kelly is happy to be serving aboard the Orville and making amends for the affair

In her 20s, Kelly was an outgoing lieutenant who loved fraternizing, heavy social drinking, and horseplay. But after her promotion to lieutenant commander, Kelly developed a dispassionate sense of professionalism. She refused to date Ed Mercer while both of them served aboard the USS Orville because it jeopardized his objectivity as commander.

Kelly is congenial, caring, and trusting, and has a dry, at time sarcastic, sense of humor. She nearly single-handedly won John LaMarr a promotion from Navigator to Chief Engineer because she saw his potential as an intelligent leader.

Yet Kelly has her flaws. She illegally searched Pria Lavesque's quarters based on weak evidence and jealousy. She healed an injured girl on the Multiphasic Planet, so the indigenous peoples deified her as a healing goddess. Her compassion compromised her principles against first contact, and profoundly shaped the development of the world.

Relationship with AlaraEdit

Kelly has developed a close bond with security chief Alara Kitan. Becoming both and friend and mentor to her, understanding very well Kitan's feelings low confidence and doing her best to encourage or comfort her. During Command Performance Kelly was one of the only crew members to believe in Alara when she was promoted to acting Captain, ensuring her she had what it takes to lead the Orville during her and Ed's absence. Later, during Firestorm Kelly personally confronted Alara insisting Harrison Payne's sudden death was not her fault and that she shouldn't blame herself. Likewise, Kelly often confides in Alara regarding emotional difficulties.

Relationship with EdEdit

Kelly crossing eye

Kelly demonstrates crossing eyes seperately.

Ed is furious when Kelly first joins the Orville, and undercuts her in front of others. "If you want a painful, jabby shoulder massage, she's the best there is," Ed tells Doctor Aronov.[2]

Kelly Grayson and her ex-husband Ed Mercer have a strong professional relationship and a close bond, despite their complicated past together. While married, Kelly was extremely unhappy, citing Mercer's excessive ambition and overzealous workaholism as a source for their deteriorating marriage, in addition to the fact he refused to vocalize the existence of any issues. Despite this Kelly feels immense guilt for responding to her feelings of loneliness by cheating on Ed, understanding the severe nature her actions took on him.

Retepsian cranium splat

Kelly cheating with Darulio for the first time

While working on the Orville Kelly and Ed have contemplated the idea of possibly pursuing a relationship again, but never follow through on it. The first time the idea was suggested, both parties realize that the irritating mannerisms each one displays would be too unbearable for the other to deal with. The second time Kelly and Ed respectively seem to have moved past this, but still decide against formally dating again when Kelly suggests being romantically involved would compromise both of their abilities to properly do their jobs.

Kelly and Ed have a frequent on again and off again relationship

Relationship with the crewEdit

While quite familiar with the crew, Kelly can affect a much more stern style of leadership compared to her fellow Commanders. Nonetheless, she appears to have a friendly and respectful relationship with the majority of those who work on the Bridge.

Kelly is often found leading scout parties to any unknown planets or vessels the Orville encounters. While there, she makes it a priority to bring everyone back alive. When John LaMarr is forced to undergo an Apology Tour Commander Grayson accompanies him throughout all of his interviews campaigning for his freedom. Likewise, her crew mates return this loyalty to Kelly as shown on the Dorahl Bioship. Where an away team went undercover and fought their way into Hamelac's office in order to save their Commander and friend from torture.

Helmsman Gordon Malloy deeply dislikes Kelly for cheating on Ed, calling her "a total bitch" to the bridge crew.[2] When she joins the Orville, Kelly tries to hold a professional relationship. Gordon softens his opinion after Kelly plots to use a redwood seed in the quantum accelerator to destroy a Krill destroyer.[2]

Production Edit

Commander Kelly Grayson

Promotional image of Kelly from the first season

Kelly was the second character created by Seth MacFarlane, after Ed Mercer. MacFarlane originally devised the persona of Ed to be a flawed, but ultimately good leader, and thought to add a co-worker who is also his ex-wife to flesh out Ed's imperfections and create drama.[21]

Kelly was probably written specifically for his friend Adrianne Palicki as MacFarlane had written the characters of Gordon Malloy and John LaMarr for his friends Scott Grimes and J. Lee, too. By 2016, the two had been friends for over ten years. MacFarlane approached Palicki directly to fill the role of Kelly, giving her a copy of the pilot script to read first. She accepted the role after reading just the first five pages.[22]

While filming Old Wounds, MacFarlane sent Palicki a draft of Cupid's Dagger to give her insight into her character's relationship with Darulio and Ed, which taught Palicki that Kelly is "trying to do something wonderful for [Ed]" and to regain his trust.[23]

Wardrobe Edit

Kelly Ja'loja sketch

Sketch for Kelly's Ja'loja outfit

Kelly's hair was designed by Maxine Morris, the hair department head, who cycled through a variety of looks in the first season. Mid-season, Morris decided to give Kelly curly, robust hair modeled after (Wikipedia) Veronica Lake, which was most obvious during Ed's cocktail hour in the episode Pria. However, MacFarlane preferred a straighter, sleeker look and by the episode Majority Rule, Kelly's hair was completely straightened.[24]



Kelly New Beginnings

Kelly meets Cassius.

References Edit

  1. Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Episode 2x13: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
  4. In All the World is Birthday Cake her birthday is likely the first Monday in November in the year 2420, which will be November 2.
  5. Kelly Grayson. Episode 2x13: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
  6. 6.0 6.1 Citation needed.
  7. Episode 2x06: A Happy Refrain
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger
  9. 9.0 9.1 Episode 1x03: About a Girl
  10. 10.0 10.1 Episode 2x14: The Road Not Taken
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Episode 1x02: Command Performance
  12. See Episode 1x01: Old Wounds; Episode 1x11: New Dimensions.
  13. Episode 1x05: Pria
  14. Episode 1x06: Krill
  15. Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger
  16. Episode 1x12: Mad Idolatry
  17. 17.0 17.1 Episode 1.5x01: New Beginnings, Pt. 1
  18. Episode 2x01: Ja'loja
  19. Episode 2x03: Home
  20. Episode 2x04: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes
  21. Pascale, Athony. "Interview: Seth MacFarlane Talks Mission Of ‘The Orville’ And Defends Star Trek: TNG’s Replicators". Sept. 14, 2017.
  22. Radish, Christina. "‘The Orville’: Adrianne Palicki on the Incredible Sets and the Hopeful Side of Sci-Fi". Collider. Oct. 5, 2017.
  23. "The Orville: Interview: Adrianne Palicki". Sci Fi Bulletin. Nov. 10, 2017.
  24. Berger, Howard & Maxine Morris. "Space and Beyond". The Artisan. 2018.
  25. Episode: About a Girl
  26. Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear
  27. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named :1
  28. Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  29. Episode 2x11: Lasting Impressions
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