Isaiah Washington, who hasn’t been seen on Grey’s Anatomy since season 3, will be returning this year to reprise his role of Dr. Preston Burke.

Isaiah Washington To Appear On Grey's

Washington is expected to return as Burke, an award-winning cardiothoracic surgeon, in a Grey's Anatomy episode set to air on ABC in May. Back when he was on the show, he served as Cristina Yang’s (Sandra Oh) primary love interest. When he injured his hand, it was Yang who stepped up to finish his surgeries, but she wasn’t able to walk down the aisle to marry him – leaving him at the altar.

Burke’s character was eventually written out of the show after Washington called out gay actor T.R. Knight, who played George O’Malley on the show for several seasons, by a gay slur. Since then, Burke has been referenced by the show’s characters but not seen.

Washington To Help Send Off Sandra Oh

Why is Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes bringing Washington back now? To give Yang’s story as complete an ending on the show as possible, as Oh looks to take her career elsewhere.

”It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should,” Rhimes told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”

Oh, who has been a part of the core cast of characters since Grey’s commenced in 2003, announced that the show’s 10th season would be her last back in August.

“Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go,” Oh told The Hollywood Reporter. It’s such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. [Christina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC at 9/8c.

– Chelsea Regan

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