It's official! Ellen Pompeo has left Grey's Anatomy.
Pompeo has played the titular character, Meredith Grey, since 2005. And ever since the show made its premiere, the show has gone been renewed for 19 seasons and over 400 episodes. The actress started out her role in the show as an intern before progressing into a surgical resident, attending surgeon, and now the chief of surgery. She has also had her fair share of romances after her husband, Derek Shepherd (played by Patrick Dempsey), died in a car accident in Grey's Anatomy Season 11.
More importantly, we've seen Meredith go through so many challenges in her career. Throughout the 19 seasons of the show, the character has been beaten up by a patient, almost drowned, was in a plane crash, and even put her had in a patient's body with a bomb inside it. So it was only natural that Pompeo's portrayal comes to an end, at least in Grey's Anatomy.
Is Meredith Grey Dead?
But unlike the previous Grey's Anatomy characters who left the show, showrunner Krista Vernoff did not kill Pompeo's role. This gives it room for a future guest comeback, perhaps with other previous characters like Cristina Yang (played by Sandra Oh), Alex Karev (played by Justin Chambers), and others. By not killing off Meredith, it gives room for her character to return in potential seasons.
So how did Meredith leave the show? It was actually for a very boring reason. In Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 7 entitled I'll Follow the Sun, Meredith says goodbye to her colleagues at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. The character moves to Boston with her three children to help with Zola's (played by Aniela Gumbs) education. It turns out that her eldest daughter with her late husband, Derek, needs a more intense education for her genius mind.
Apart from saying her farewell to the cast in the episode, Meredith professes her love to fellow surgeon Nick Marsh (played by Scott Speedman).
Why Did Ellen Pompeo Leave Grey’s Anatomy?
In November 2022, Pompeo hinted her farewell on her Instagram account.
"I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons! Through it all….none of it …would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!!
I love you madly and appreciate you right back. This isn’t your first time on the rollercoaster… you know the show must go on and I’ll definitely be back to visit. With a lot of love and immense gratitude XoE 🙏🏼❤️"
A month later, the actress appeared on an episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, where she revealed her reason for leaving the medical drama.
"I’m 53. My brain is like scrambled eggs. I gotta do something new or I’m literally gonna turn into like, you can’t do the New York Times crossword puzzle every single day. I mean, 19 years, that’s more than people keep their kids in their house, like people keep their kids in their house until they’re 18 and then they send them off to college. So this is like me like going away to college."
"I have a lot that I’m doing. I have three kids and so I take care of them, and it’s really important for me to be around for them and be more present for them. I’m gonna do a limited series for Hulu in the spring, which is a very cool, kind of crazy true story."
Like her character on the show, Pompeo has three kids with her husband, Chris Ivery.
Even though Ellen Pompeo will no longer be seen in future episodes of Grey's Anatomy, she will still be the narrator throughout the rest of the season. Not only that, Pompeo will continue to be an executive producer of the show.
Will Grey’s Anatomy Have Another Season Without Meredith Grey?
As of this writing, there hasn't been an official announcement whether Grey's Anatomy will have another season after Season 19. And considering its lead actress, Ellen Pompeo, left the show in Season 19, many are worried about the show's fate. After all, Pompeo is the Grey behind the show's title.
Even though the fate of the show has not yet been confirmed, many can't help but notice that her absence as a show regular won't really be hard to miss. Through the years, the show has focused on the private lives of the other characters, which is likely to continue even with Pompeo's departure. But there's one big question that remains: who will be narrating the show if it returns for a 20th season?
To recall, Meredith Grey has been the voiceover of the show ever since it began in 2005. And throughout the 400+ episodes, almost every episode has started and ended with Grey's narration. Only a handful of instances took place where other characters served as the episode's narrator.
With Meredith's absence from the show, who will be taking over as the voiceover of each episode? Taking out the narration bit of the show seems to be out of the question since it has been an integral part of Grey's Anatomy. If the showrunner and producers decide to take this bit away, Grey's Anatomy Season 20 could be the first season that will not have any narration.
Thankfully, Screenrant seems to have a solution to this. The publication suggests that instead of having just one actor/actress become the new narrator, the show should let different characters do the voiceovers.
But again, nothing has been announced. We still don't know whether the show will return for a 20th season.
Who Are the Grey’s Anatomy Original Cast Still on the Show
If Grey's Anatomy gets renewed for a 20th season, we'll get to see some of the new and original cast members from the first season return to reprise their iconic roles. Here is a list of the original Grey's Anatomy characters who are still on the show:
- Chandra Wilson (as Dr. Miranda Bailey)
- James Pickens Jr. (as Dr. Richard Webber)
- Kevin McKidd (as Dr. Owen Hunt)
- Catherine Scorsone (as Dr. Amelia Shepherd)
- Camilla Luddington (as Dr. Jo Wilson)
- Kelly McCreary (as Dr. Maggie Pierce)
- Kate Walsh (as Dr. Addison Montgomery)
- Jesse Williams (as Dr. Jackson Avery)
Joining them are the new interns from this season: Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Niko Terho, Alexis Floyd, and Midori Frances.
If you missed the episode with Meredith Grey leaving Seattle, you can watch the teaser here:
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