There are long running TV dramas, and then there's ABC's Grey's Anatomy. The medical drama is currently in the midst of its whopping 14th season, and is showing no signs of slowing anytime soon. Shonda Rhimes' first big show is currently gearing up toward its 300th episode on the network, and is planning on celebrating and acknowledging its long history. In particular, the new episode will pay tribute to some of the original cast members who have departed the show during its long tenure, including Izzie, Cristina, and George (played by Katherine Heigl, Sandra Oh, and T.R. Knight respectively). And Grey's will be doing this by introducing patients who look like the original cast members. Actress Sarah Drew (aka April) revealed this process, saying:
This is an upcoming plot line that will definitely please all of the OG Grey's Anatomy fans who have been following the series for over a decade. Because although the 300th episode won't feature these characters' return (especially since one of them happens to be dead), the original group of interns will have a presence. Unfortunately, that's about all of the reunion we should expect anytime soon.
Sarah Drew's comments to EW does ensure that Grey's Anatomy will make a ton of references to the characters that helped put the show on the map. When the series opened back in 2005, it followed Meredith and her fellow interns who were just starting their first year at Seattle Grace Hospital-- which has since been renamed multiple times. But in the current season, only Alex and Meredith are left from their group of friends, after various cast members departed over the years.
Although all three original cast members will factor into Grey's Anatomy's 300th episode, they left the series in a variety of ways. T.R. Knight's George O'Malley was killed off in the brutal Season 4 finale, after the actor reportedly asked to depart the series. Katherine Heigl's exit was far less amicable, as she apparently just stopped showing up to work. Izzie's departure from Grey's never felt right, which is likely why she's been referenced so few times over the years. Sandra Oh left the show after a 10 year run as Cristina and a ton of acclaim.
ABC seems to be particularly jazzed about Grey's Anatomy's 300th episode on the air. Prior to its airing, there is an after show hosted by a tertiary actor on ABC's website, reflecting on the show's long journey. It's just too bad they couldn't get the trio of original actors to return for a scene or two.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC. In the meantime, check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.