Isaiah Washington wasn't joking when - in response to being axed from Grey's Anatomy yesterday - he issued the Network-inspired statement: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore."
In an exclusive interview, the actor's spokesperson, Howard Bragman, told TV Guide that "Isaiah really is angry."
"If they wanted to fire him," Bragman asks, "why didn't they fire him when [the incident] happened? Why did they say, 'Here's what you need to do if you want to come backâ€¦ ' and then, when he did everything that was asked of him, he still gets fired. Why do you treat somebody like that?
"If you made a mistake, you acknowledged the mistake, you went into counseling, you met with the groups, you did the PSA, you did everything that was asked of you, and then they still kick you in the gut? How would you feel?"
While Bragman says there was no formal agreement with ABC that if Washington did X, Y and Z he could keep his job, "there was a discussion and it was agreed upon that this is what needs to be done to come back, and he did everything...And, in fact, we were the ones that pushed for the PSA."
Although Bragman won't rule out Washington taking possible legal action against ABC, he adds, "It would be premature to speculate. We have time to discuss that."
(A rep for ABC studios declined to comment on a potential lawsuit, but a studio executive with knowledge of the TV biz says producers have the legal right to not pick up an actor's option â€" with or without cause.)
Might Washington, who is currently shooting the independent movie The Least of These in Los Angeles, make a brief return to Grey's to tie up Burke's loose ends? "That would be a question for ABC," Bragman says. "I certainly can't imagine they would tell him they're not renewing his contract and then ask him to come back and clean things up."