Spoiler alert! The following story contains spoilers for the Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 episode “Tradition.” Stop reading if you haven’t watched it yet!
Grey’s Anatomy viewers knew “Tradition” would be the end of the era for Jackson Avery, as Jesse Williams' departure from the ABC medical drama after twelve seasons had already been confirmed. But in a surprise move, it was the last episode for another character as well, marking the third series regular to leave Grey’s in its 17th season.
Dr. Tom Koracick will be leaving Grey-Sloan to join Jackson Avery at the Catherine Fox Foundation in Boston. Koracick, played by Greg Germann, first came to Grey’s in Season 14 as a recurring character who operated on Amelia when she had a brain tumor. He was upgraded to a series regular in Season 16.
Koracick's exit comes on the heels of a tough battle with COVID, as he caught up with Jackson in the hospital parking lot and desperately asked if there was a place for him in Boston. He said that while he fought COVID, he lost six roommates, and none of them were white. When he heard the work that Jackson was going to do, he was inspired and told Jackson he wanted to be a part of it:
Let me become worthy of being spared. I want to be an ally. I want to spend whatever time I’ve got left making this lousy, stinking place better.
Despite Jackson's personal feelings about Koracick, he agreed to let him on board, telling him to be in Boston at 6 a.m. Monday.
Fighting COVID had been Koracick’s main storyline for the better part of Season 17, after being part of an unfortunate love triangle with Teddy Altman and Owen Hunt. The love triangle seemed to have lost its third angle by the end of “Tradition” anyway, with Owen and Teddy reuniting. That’s despite the fact that Teddy slept with Tom on what was supposed to be her and Owen’s wedding day (on a voicemail for the whole OR to hear), and despite the fact that Owen said some pretty heinous things to Teddy about her former relationship with Allison, but that's none of my business.
Koracick’s surprising exit is the third loss of a series regular this season behind Jackson Avery, obviously, and Andrew DeLuca, who was murdered in the spring premiere crossover. Other than a couple of conversations that Avery had with Meredith Grey, Richard Webber and Miranda Bailey (the OGs!), not much was made of Avery’s last episode. And certainly nothing to the extent of DeLuca’s goodbye. But we can’t all die a hero’s death chasing down sex traffickers, and at least they didn't ghost him like Alex Karev.
There are only a couple of episodes left of an emotional Season 17, so be sure to tune in for whatever the Grey’s gods throw at us next! Grey’s Anatomy returns next Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to check out our list of upcoming TV season finales as well as our 2021 summer TV schedule so you don’t miss any of your favorite shows.