Isaiah Washington Returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Isaiah-Washington grey's anatomy
Amanda Edwards/WireImage

As “Grey’s Anatomy” prepares to say goodbye to one original cast member, it is welcoming back another: Isaiah Washington will reprise his role as Dr. Preston Burke for one episode, set to air in May.

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Washington played the cardiothoracic surgeon (and love interest of the departing thesp Sandra Oh’s character, Cristina Yang) before famously leaving ABC’s long-running nighttime soap in 2007. Series creator Shonda Rhimes said bringing him back now allows for the “full-circle moment we need to properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang.”

“It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should,” Rhimes said. “Burke is vital to that journey.”

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Since departing “Grey’s Anatomy,” Washington has worked on films including “Blue Caprice” and “Go for Sisters.” He appears in the new CW show “The 100.”

“Grey’s” is produced for ABC Studios through Mark Gordon Company.

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  1. Judy Shirley says:

    Sandra Oh is my favorite!! Why does she have to go??

  2. I don’t want him back!!! And why is Sandra O leaving????

  3. Zac Holley says:

    Fuck yea, what the hell is she thinking!

  4. LaTondra says:

    I miss seeing Isaiah Washington on the show. I look forward to his full return to the Greys Anatomy cast.. One episode is not enough. Certainly he is remorseful for his derogatory comments he made 7 years ago.

  5. Western reader says:

    If you saw BLUE CAPRICE you could understand why the Boston Globe said Isaiah Washington deserved an Oscar nomination. He is the real deal; the politics be damned.

  6. Chris says:

    I’m sure if another cast member was booted off for saying a racist comment against Isaiah Washington…they would never be aloud back on the show. Homophobia is fine but not racism? What’s wrong with you people?


  8. flo says:

    I love this show. Glad to see him back.

  9. Will be so happy to see him back. I hope you put Yang and him back together on that last show!!

  10. Mr. Washington back on Grey’s Anatomy. He is a great actor. It will be a pleasure to watch him on this show again.:)

  11. Good to have him back. I quit watching the show shortly after he left. Just wasn’t the same anymore.

  12. lisA BROWN says:

    they should keep him when he return

  13. james says:

    He is a talented actor and that is all we as viewers should care about. I don’t watch a show for what it’s actors do or say in private conversation, I watch them when I want to be entertained. They’re actors for sobbing out loud, not world or spiritual leaders. Get over it already.

  14. Steps says:

    Putting aside what Washington said or did that got him the boot in the first place, and putting aside the question of deserving second chances, may I please ask….

    WHY would the character of Cristina need to come full circle back to Burke?! I must disagree with Rhimes.

    Personally, I never liked Burke & Cristina together, and if the writers are true to the character they’ve created, Cristina wouldn’t allow him back in her life. So a romantic storyline would be so bogus. Burke was an ass, and Cristina has developed so much since his departure.

    Cristina & Owen have been way better together. Their relationship is more interesting, it has made each of them more compelling, and the actors have real chemistry.

    Of course, after Oh’s exit, the show will tank anyway. Don’t think Owen or April & Jackson can carry it on their own. The other characters are dull. The interns, especially, are incredibly unappealing; if they want the show to continue, they should ditch all of them.

  15. Jan says:

    I liked the original cast best. I wish they would bring izzy back !!!

  16. Uh oh. I may have to start watching this show again. How many episodes will he be on?

  17. SD says:

    I gave up this show because I love Christina and Burke so much…ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! I am so excited!!

  18. Rose Moon says:

    I will miss Sandra Oh’s character. She’s intelligent, quirky, and loyal.

  19. Ronp123 says:

    Thank God. I stopped watching after he left – only interesting character in the show. Also the only actor on the show who convinced me he was a doctor.

  20. steph says:

    too bad they cant bring back george, lexi, and sloan. even addison. and get rid of steph, leah, and shane. even baileys character has gotten soft.

  21. jessiefessie says:

    Why can’t these things be kept under wraps better??! Grey’s fans likely had their own theories about how Yang’s character would exit the show, and even if this doesn’t end up validating anything – this would have been a great surprise! Aside from the off-screen problems associated with this actor, his character was ancillary to Yang’s drive while also challenging her to be more “human.” Owen was never really able to pull that out of her. Wow, I sound like a crazy fan right now, and perhaps I am one. But it’s just annoying that we hear about all of this shit on the internet and it ruins sweet surprises and dilutes story lines. Whatever.

    • EJ says:

      Yeah this would have been an AWESOME surprise for him to just show up with the audience not suspecting. I mean its been 7 years since he’s been on the show.

  22. jessiefessie says:

    Why can’t these things be kept under wraps better??! Grey’s fans likely had their own theories about how Yang’s character would exit the show, and even if this doesn’t end up validating anything – this would have been a great surprise! Aside from the off-screen problems associated with this actor, his character was ancillary to Yang’s drive while also challenging her to be more “human.” Owen was never really able to pull that out of her. Wow, I sound like a crazy fan right now, and perhaps I am one. But it’s just annoying that we hear about all of this shit on the internet and it ruins sweet surprises and dilutes story lines. Whatever.

  23. Gina Bebee says:

    I am glad he is back…If Paula Deen and the guy from duck dynasty can still be on the boob tube after the things they said, so should Isaiah Washington.

  24. Judy says:

    They should of never took him off that show. So he made a comment he shouldn’t of so what we all do the same. They were to hard on him and he shouldn’t of lost his job. Shame on the producers for thinking people are perfect including them

  25. Kathy Brown says:

    Washington should be shame of his self for coming back to help this turn coat..she tried to destroy his career to advance her own. I haven’t watched since she pulled that BS and I won’t be watching in May when she use him again. Rhimes think she is hot right now but what goes up must come down and Washington should have waited until the fall and spit it her face.

  26. EJ says:

    Katherine Heigl must be pretty salty about this, seeing as she was the captain of his witchhunt, yet she still isn’t allowed back.

    • SugarGurl says:

      Remember Katherine said she NEVER wanted to be consider for future roles or any thing Shonda ryhmes writes so you cant blame them

      • EJ says:

        I think you’re thinking of her not wanting to be considered for an Emmy for her role because she didn’t think the writing was very good.

  27. Brittany says:

    Terrible. Such hate off the screen should not be promoted on the screen,

  28. Dancette says:

    Excellent news. Congrats Mr. Washington. Can’t wait to see you back where you belong… entertaining millions with your incredible talent.

  29. Sara McManus says:

    I’m happy ‘Dr. Burke’ is only appearing in one episode. I’d rather he didn’t return, even for one show. I believe his comment regarding T.R. Knight is inexcusable. I feel he hasn’t ‘changed his spots’ how he feels about the fabulous gay people in our society. People may forgive him for his comments, but we should never forget his true feelings. Forget Isaiah Washington.

  30. Alli12 says:

    I totally agree with you…

  31. Alli12 says:

    Who ever a person choses to have sex isnt anyone else business. He had no right to call TR that, he paid the price for what he said and now that is all in the past…

    • SugarGurl says:

      So lets see did you chose to have sex with the person you are with now? or it was just a brain spark from inside of you that made you know to like say a man vs a woman and vice versa? for me it wasnt a choice I was drawn to the opposite sex could have been the other way around but it didnt…………..

      • I think it is interesting that we only got one side of the story and people want to through Mr. Washington under the bus. we don’t know what happened that prompted his comment, there was an indication that it was said in the heat of an argument, where people often say things hurtful that they don’t really mean. He apologized and unlike other stars who have said things and apologized and DIDN’T mean it i.e. Mel Gibson, he has never said anything like this again. could it possibly be that he did learn his lesson and is sorry? Is he not even to be given to opportunity to show he has changed? If i were Mr. Washington i wouldn’t appear back on the show, he has moved on his career is going well, this only allows people like you to rehash a situation fr which he has allready been punished.

  32. Sydney says:

    Awesome…..I love dr Burke.. Please forgive him.. Katherine Hegel said worse…

  33. meleliot says:

    Grey’s fan forever here and felt IW deserved to be fired. However, I surprisingly don’t care if he comes back or not. It’s time to get over it all that ugly business. Checked his IMDb page and after Grey’s he had some work; but I did not recognize anything he was on/in, so it must have been just bit parts for a while. I’m sure he learned his lesson. Everyone should just let it go.

  34. Leslie says:

    I can’t believe they are letting him come back! After the horrible way he treated T.R. Knight and the arrogant actor that he is! He is a bigot and not deserving of a second chance.

    • MCK says:

      Everyone deserves a second chance. There isn’t a single person in this world who has never made a mistake.

    • Buttons says:

      It is great that he is being Forgiving. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing and that is what God would want us to do. None of us is without sin, remember that people.

  35. Heidi says:

    I LOVE Burke and so glad he is coming back even just for one show… Can we have him for more?

  36. Kim says:

    Just don’t kill her off!!! That would be so wrong!!!

  37. Lori Stanley says:

    To the writers of Grey’s Anatomy,
    Please do not let Yang get back together with Burke. Don’t let her break Owens heart after he broke up with Emma.

    Let her have her the man she is meant to be with. Owen Hunt, not Preston Burke.


  38. says:

    Noooooo Cristina has to stay with Greys!!!

  39. DK says:

    You are a a vile ignoramous

  40. Jamison says:

    Bring ALTMAN back for Owen and Bring IZZIE back!!! Swallow your pride and bring her back for the fans! She deserves an ending just as much as all the other characters. This show is losing my interest with these new characters that have created no essential plots or pivotal moments to the tv show. Please PLEASE bring Izzie backkkk, that character was made for television!

    • Crystal says:

      Lizzie doesn’t deserve to come back. She is rude and demands more money and left on her own free will she cut out of her contract.

      • Jessica says:

        Just a correction: It’s IZZIE, not LIZZIE. And the actress’ name is Katherine Heigl.

  41. Paul says:

    Time to forgive.

  42. Alli12 says:

    Ikr… ***A Moment of silence for CHRISTINA***

  43. Alli12 says:

    I think something is going to happen to Christina and he will be the doctor that comes in to try and save her…

  44. Alli12 says:

    Thank you for the info… It cleared up alot for me.

  45. Sheree J says:

    Alli12 – he was fired for making homophobic comments about T. R. Knight who played George O’Malley on the show. I’m wondering what the title of the episode will be, The Return of the Bigot? I won’t be watching and all of my friends and family agree. What a shame they’d decide to bring someone like that back for what is supposed to be a special and important episode. To whoever made that decision, put the crack pipe down and get some help!

    • says:

      He forgiven, but he needs to STAY moved on, I lost all respect for him as a man over his treatment if Knight. No use for him here.

      • LifePilgrim says:

        Your statement is inconsistent. To forgive is literally to consider a debt paid. To say that he is forgiven, but then to add “No use for him here” clearly indicates that he is not forgiven at all, at least by you. Everyone makes mistakes. Get over it. Actually forgive him.

    • Lizzie says:

      One thing to remember: the actor is not the character. If it’s important to the story to bring the character back, that is what they should do. Remember the photograph in the newspaper article? They didn’t have the actor but needed to use the character. That being said, the incident was years ago. Sometimes it’s time to let it go.

  46. Shel says:

    I think she will die and he will be at her funeral!

  47. Ashley S says:

    I think Christina is going to win an award and Burke is going to be the one presenting it to her. Maybe he offers a job or something and she leaves with him. I hope that isn’t the case but I believe that is what will happen. I never really cared much for Burke on the show to begin with. Izzie needs to come back, Right now!

  48. Jo says:

    Christina won’t go off with Burke. She lost her identity when she was with him and she would never go back to that. And Burke flat out told her when he left her at the alter that he didn’t love HER he loved who he thought she could be. Christina and Burke together would be a horrible way to end Christina’s journey on Greys. I am so disappointed that they let her get back with Owen tonight because now I will be devastated all over again when they have to split up. I love them together! But unless Owen is going to take off with her then it is inevitable that they will never get to be together.

  49. Linda says:

    I think they will bring him back because he has learned he never loved another woman like he love her and vice versa. They will practice medicine into the sunset!

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