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When Isaiah Washington left Grey’s Anatomy seven years ago, he didn’t exactly slink away into the night. The hospital drama was one of the most popular shows on television at the time, and the behind-the-scenes scandal that led to his exit was salaciously covered by members of the media and obsessed over by fans who were shocked at the actor’s alleged homophobia. In the more than half decade since, however, time has apparently healed many of the lingering issues, and now, Dr. Preston Burke will make his return to Seattle Grace.
According to Variety, Washington will shoot one episode of the long running series, and it will, of course, correspond to the departing of actress Sandra Oh and her character Cristina Yang. The two characters dated during the first few seasons and likely would have gotten married on the show had the epic fallout not happened.
The drama, of course, centered around a conflict between Washington and his castmate T.R. Knight. The openly gay actor who played George O’Malley on the hit show was allegedly late for a rehearsal when Washington angrily confronted him and dropped the other f-bomb, the one that’s a derogatory term for homosexuals. The drama drama quickly exploded onto the front pages and was made worse after Washington denied the event happened in public, while using the exact same word. It was an utterly bizarre few months, and it eventually led to his exit.
To many, his departure at the end of Season Three signaled the end of Grey’s Anatomy’s best era. After that, a steady stream of new characters began getting introduced and a steady stream of old ones began leaving. Ratings fell from more than nineteen million an episode to shy of sixteen million the next year, and the decline in viewership steadily continued with a million or more being lost each year.
It’ll be nice to see Dr. Burke again. It will be nice to see Cristina get the closure she’s always deserved and to let creator Shonda Rhimes let the characters exit however she sees best. Hopefully, Knight and everyone else who was a part of the show during Washington’s unfortunate mistake will welcome him with open arms and let bygones be bygones.
To remember the awesomeness of Dr. Burke, you can check out the character go off on Cristina in one of the show’s best scenes ever…