When Grey’s Anatomy debuted in 2005, the team of doctors included Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), Dr. Preston Burke (Isiah Washington), Dr. George O’Malley (T.R. Knight), Dr. Isobel “Izzie” Stevens (Katherine Heigl), Dr. Alex Karvev (Justin Chambers), and Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey).
20 Grey’s Anatomy Characters Who Left
The Binger has a video report (see below) that recaps the exits of these and other characters (both medical personnel and non-doctor types) who’ve left the canvas over the 15-year course of the series. Fortunately, series star Ellen Pompeo (Dr. Meredith Grey) is still on the show!
The most high-profile exits were the ones made by Washington, who departed the series after Season 3, following remarks he had reportedly made during a verbal encounter with Dempsey. Knight opted to leave the series at the end of Season 5.
Heigl, who won the Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2007, made headlines the following year when she opted not to submit herself for the award, citing that she hadn’t had as strong a year storyline-wise as she had had in the past. She checked out of TV’s most popular hospital in 2010.
The video report also chronicles the exits of fan-favorite couple Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and Dr. Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw). The most recent big name to exit was Chambers, whose absence wasn’t revealed until the series returned from its mid-season hiatus last month.
Oh The Drama
All the on-screen deaths have been tragic, but particularly agonizing for Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) was the death of her beloved Derek when Dempsey exited the show in 2015. Slowly, Meredith got back into the dating world.
Exiting a show doesn’t mean a character has gone for good. Kim Raver brought Dr. Teddy Altman back to the series in Season 14 after leaving the show in Season 8. In 2017, Washington returned as Dr. Burke for an episode to help usher Oh’s Dr. Yang off the canvas. Find out about all the rest of the drama by watching the video below. Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.