Another Grey’s Anatomy Discharge: Charting the ABC Hit’s Leading Cause of Series Regular Departure


Gray’s Anatomy misplaced one other one.

Two seasons after becoming a member of the long-running ABC hit as a quasi-replacement for Patrick Dempsey, Martin Henderson checked out of Gray Sloan Memorial for good, along with his character Nathan Riggs working off to Los Angeles (giving us shades of Addison Montgomery) now that he’d been reunited along with his long-lost (and presumed useless) love, Megan Hunt. Whereas the departure got here as a shock, maybe what was most stunning was that Riggs was provided a cheerful ending as he was written out of the collection. As followers of Gray’s know all too nicely, Shonda Rhimes would not hand these out all too typically.

As we are saying goodbye to Riggs (and Henderson’s Kiwi attractiveness), we’re wanting again on all of the methods Gray’s has gotten rid of principal characters over time. And the main explanation for departure simply might shock you…

Grey's Anatomy Exits, Pie Chart

ABC; Melissa Hebeler/E! Illustration

As you’ll be able to see within the chart above, with Riggs’ transfer down south, there’s now a tie for main explanation for departure between useless and moved when the Gray’s Anatomy writers write a principal character out of the collection. In fact, on the useless aspect, we have now T.R. Knight‘s George O’Malley, who was the present’s first collection common to die, after George was shockingly hit by a bus within the season 5 finale. Knight mentioned he requested to be written out after a gradual “breakdown of communication” between Rhimes and himself that started with former co-star Isaiah Washington (extra about his departure in a second) used a homosexual slur on set in reference to Knight and was subsequently fired, which led to a scarcity of display time and stress towards his popping out of the closet.  “There simply comes a time when it is so clear that shifting on is the very best resolution,” he informed Leisure Weekly on the time. Rhimes disputed Knight’s claims, particularly that she pressured him to remain within the closet. “”I mentioned, ‘If you wish to come out, that is superior. We’ll completely assist that.’ After which he went away, considered it, and got here again and mentioned, ‘I’ll make this assertion,'” she informed the journal.

The nest main principal character deaths would come courtesy of season eight’s massive aircraft crash, which claimed the lives of each Chyler Leigh‘s Lexie and Eric Dane‘s Sloan. As Leigh informed E! Information on the time, she’d determined season eight can be her final. “I met with Shonda and we labored collectively to provide Lexie’s story acceptable closure,” she mentioned. Rhimes echoed that on Twitter, writing, “We had a whole lot of considerate dialogue about it and finally we each determined this was the suitable time for her character’s journey to finish.”

Dane’s destiny was saved up within the air all summer season lengthy, although his departure from the collection had already been introduced. In July of 2012, Dane and Rhimes confirmed his impending exit, with Rhimes telling TVLine that the actor “didn’t come to this resolution evenly, however after a lot consideration and conversations, he and I’ve determined that that is the suitable time for his storyline to finish.” He appeared in two episodes of season 9 earlier than his character succumbed to his accidents and handed away.

The present’s subsequent principal character demise, arguably its largest one ever, would come two seasons later when Patrick Dempsey‘s Derek Shepherd was killed off in a stunning vogue after 11 seasons because the present’s male lead. After rescuing stranded motorists from a automotive accident proper earlier than their automotive exploded, Derek stopped briefly in his automotive to reply the telephone and was struck by a semi-truck and declared mind useless earlier than Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) might get to the hospital to say goodbye. Dempsey had been vocal about wanting to go away the collection, however had simply signed a brand new two-year deal to maintain him on the present via season 12, so Derek’s demise actually got here out of nowhere (regardless of being spoiled 30 minutes earlier than the episode aired). “It simply type of advanced. It simply sort of occurred,” he informed EW on the time. “[Being written off] was one thing that was sort of stunning and uh, simply naturally got here to be. I like the best way it has all performed out.

For Rhimes, killing Derek was the one means she might see a future for the present with out Dempsey on it. “The choice to have the character die the best way that he did was not a tough one within the sense of what have been the choices?” she informed reporters on the 2015 Summer time TCA press tour. “Both Derek was going to stroll out on Meredith, and go away her excessive and dry, and what was that going to imply? That was going to counsel that the love was not true, the factor we had mentioned for 11 years was a lie and McDreamy wasn’t McDreamy. For me, that was untenable…As a result of I actually could not have the concept he simply turned out to be a foul man who walked out on his spouse and youngsters be a real story. To me, it felt like that was the one method to make Meredith and Derek’s magic stay true and perpetually frozen in time.”

The primary principal character who acquired to easily transfer away, normally for some type of comfortable ending, was Sandra Oh‘s Cristina Yang. One other OG forged member like Dempsey, Oh introduced forward of the season 10 premiere that the season can be her final, giving followers time to say goodbye to the character. “Creatively, I actually really feel like I gave it my all, and I really feel able to let her go,” she informed THR on the time. “It is such an attention-grabbing factor to play a personality for therefore lengthy and to really get the sense that she desires to be let go as nicely. [Cristina] desires to be let go, and I’m able to let her go. We now have to start out the method, story-wise, for the Gray’s writers to consider why she’s going to go.”

Rhimes would ultimately ship Cristina off to Zurich, Switzerland, the place Preston Burke (Washington), the person who as soon as left her on the altar, was working a hospital and on the lookout for his alternative, providing her his job as head of the hospital. And in her departure, she took Gaius Charles‘ Shane Ross along with her. 

Sara Ramirez‘s Callie Torres would get the subsequent transfer, on the finish of season 12, when she determined to observe her girlfriend Penny throughout the nation to NYC. “I am deeply grateful to have spent the final 10 years with my household at Gray’s Anatomy & ABC however for now I am taking some welcome time without work,” Ramirez tweeted the evening her remaining episode aired. “Shonda’s been so unimaginable to work for and we will certainly proceed our conversations! I ship my Like to Ellen, the remainder of the forged & crew, and I sit up for all the time being part of the Shondaland household!”

Grey's Anatomy Exits and Seasons, Graph

ABC; Melissa Hebeler/E! Illustration

Whereas different characters have been written out by both being fired (Kim Raver‘s Teddy and Tessa Ferrer‘s Murphy), quitting (Jerrika Hinton‘s Edwards and Brooke Smith‘s Hahn), or, within the case of fortunate Kate Walsh, whose character Addison landed her personal present, being spun-off, there was one technique of departure that Rhimes seemingly reserves for less than her most tense actor-creator relationships. We’re speaking concerning the Burke and Izzie’s (Katherine Heigl) full and utter ghosting.

After Washington discovered himself persona non grata amongst a lot of the forged in the course of the third season when a rumor surfaced that he’d referred to still-closeted Knight by a crass homosexual slur throughout an argument with Washington, he made issues worse again stage on the 2007 Golden Globes after the present received Finest Drama when, fielding press inquiries, he mentioned, “”No, I didn’t name T.R. a f—-t.” Within the season three finale, Burke would go away Cristina on the altar, taking all his belongings from their residence, and never be seen or heard from for fairly a while because of ABC’s resolution to terminate him in June. He would later reprise his function throughout Oh’s farewell season, with Burke popping as much as provide Cristina her comfortable ending.

The start of Heigl’s finish got here when, after the 2008-09 season, she refused to submit herself for Emmy consideration, claiming she did not really feel the fabric she’d obtained warranted a nomination. Whereas Rhimes downplayed the slight, many anticipated that Heigl can be killed off when Izzie was identified with Stage four metastatic melanoma. She would survive and marry Alex (Justin Chambers), solely to return very sporadically in season six, lastly requesting to be launched from her contract 18 months early. The final phrases she would ever utter on digital camera have been in response to Meredith asking her to not go away, reminding her that is her residence. “No it is not,” she says. “Not anymore. It is only a place I labored and I can try this anyplace.”

Over time, Heigl would flip flop on whether or not she was open to returning to the collection to supply some closure to the character, initially telling MTV in 2010 that it could “simply really feel manipulative.” She modified her tune in 2012, nonetheless, telling E! Information, “I informed them I need to…I actually, actually, actually need to see the place [Izzie] is. I simply need to know what occurred to her and the place she went and what she’s doing now.” 

Rhimes, nonetheless, is not right here for it. “No,” she informed TVLine in 2015. “I am executed with that story. I’ve turned that concept over in my thoughts a thousand occasions and considered how it could go. And I do not assume so.”

For extra exhausting knowledge on the various main Gray’s exits over time (15 in whole!), together with the typical size of keep for a collection common, remember to try our useful charts above!

Gray’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at eight p.m. on ABC.



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