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'Grey's Anatomy': Burke is back for former flame's swan song

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After ten seasons, ABC’s hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy has seen its share of on and off-set scandals, but perhaps none more high profile than the tumultuous exit of original star Isaiah Washington. The actor was fired in 2007 amid reports he’d used a derogatory slur against then-colleague T.R. Knight, and the show’s choice to give his character an equally dramatic departure left fans reeling.

Now, Washington’s Dr. Preston Burke is returning to Seattle Grace on tonight’s Grey’s, giving former flame Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) an impromptu visit and, from what’s inferred in previews, an ultimatum seven years in the making. In his final appearance on the series, Burke infamously left Yang at the altar, triggering one of the series’ most iconic scenes in which Yang tearfully demands her maid of honor, Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), help remove her wedding dress. Washington’s impending return strategically coincides with Oh’s last episode, giving longtime viewers reason to speculate the characters are reuniting.

Oh is one of Grey’s core cast members and its most decorated, having accrued a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for her work, along with five Primetime Emmy nominations. Although the news of her exit spawned immediate buzz regarding the show’s potential for an eleventh season, co-stars Patrick Dempsey and Pompeo both signed two-year contract extensions in January. ABC, however, has yet to issue a formal renewal.

Will Grey’s Anatomy be the same without Sandra Oh? Does Burke (or Isaiah Washington, for that matter) deserve a second chance? Don’t miss tonight’s episode, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” to discover Cristina’s fate.

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

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