Dr. Preston Burke is back! Isaiah Washington is set to make a sensational return to Grey’s Anatomy more than seven years after he was ditched for an anti-gay slur.
His character will re-appear for a special one-off show in May as his on-screen love interest Dr. Christina Yang, played by Sandra Oh, departs.
The controversial 50-year-old, one of the central players of the medical drama’s first three seasons, was axed in 2007 following on-set altercations with then co-star T.R. Knight.
It ended with Washington reportedly using the word “f****t” during an on-set argument with Patrick Dempsey, in reference to Knight.
He allegedly used it again in the press room at the 2006 Golden Globes after the series scooped Best Drama Series. Months later he was let go due to the fallout.
Showrunner Shonda Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter it was important for the story that Burke returned to bid farewell to Yang.
“It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should,” she said.
“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,” he added.
Washington’s return has been praised by LGBT watchdog GLAAD.
“His PSA and his statements promoting marriage equality in recent years have sent a strong message of support for LGBT people,” a spokesman said.
“We look forward to his return to one of our favorite shows, as well as in Patrik-Ian Polk’s moving film Blackbird about a young man coming out in a small Southern town,” he added.