Paging Dr. Preston Burke. Dr. Preston Burke, please report to Grey Sloan Memorial.
No, this is not a drill. 'Grey's Anatomy' is gearing up to welcome back one of its original and most controversial stars: Isaiah Washington. ABC announced earlier today that former doc has officially signed on to reprise his role as Cristina’s ex, Dr. Preston Burke, in a guest star capacity for one episode airing sometime this May.
Many fans may find this comeback appearance extremely surprising on Shonda Rhimes' part, given that she gave the actor his walking papers seven years prior following an array of on-set disputes and anti-gay remarks directed at his then-closeted co-star T.R. Knight. Perhaps time really does heal all wounds?
Of course, there's one very obvious reason for Burke's grand return. The medical drama is preparing to say farewell to one of its most beloved doctors, Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), who was at one point engaged to marry Washington's character. (Last year, Oh announced she would be departing the series in May, immediately following the Season 10 finale.)
“It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should,” series creator Rhimes said in a statement. “Burke is vital to that journey — he gives her story that full-circle moment we need to properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang.”
Suffice to say, it will be interesting to see what kind of greeting Burke will receive — both on and off-screen.
Since leaving 'Grey’s, Washington has appeared in several bit parts on TV shows ranging from 'Single Ladies' to 'Law & Order: LA.' He can next be seen in The CW’s upcoming freshman series 'The 100,' which premieres later this month.
'Grey's Anatomy' airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.