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Isaiah Washington returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ seven years after controversial departure

isaiah washington reuters.jpg

Actor Isaiah Washington poses as he arrives for the premiere of his newfilm "Hollywood Homicide" in Los Angeles June 10, 2003. Washingtonportrays a music executive in the film starring Harrison Ford and JoshHartnett who play two detectives with hectic private lives who areinvestigating the murder of a rap group in the film which opens June13, 2003 in the United States. REUTERS/Fred ProuserFSP - RTRP5CN

Original "Grey’s Anatomy" cast member Isaiah Washington will be making a return to the veteran ABC medical drama seven years after his controversial exit.

Washington will appear in a May episode that will mark the departure of fellow original Grey‘s co-star Sandra Oh. He will reprise his role as Dr. Preston Burke, whose romantic relationship with Oh’s Christina Yang was a major storyline on "Grey’s" first three seasons. 

In Washington’s final episode, Burke called off his nuptials with Yang on the day of their wedding. 

“It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should. 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,” Grey’s creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes said. 

Washington departed "Grey’s Anatomy" in June 2007 when his contract was not picked up following a rocky third season when the actor faced accusations of using homophobic slur in reference to gay co-star T.R. Knight in October 2006 and flamed the controversy with ill-advised comments about the incident at the Golden Globes. 

Washington’s return echoes the cameo George Clooney made in the final ER episode of his longtime on-screen love interest, Julianna Margulies. Of course, Clooney departed under far less controversial circumstances, bringing extra attention to Washington’s comeback.