Isaiah Washington Will Not Be Returning to Grey's Anatomy

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The speculation is over: After a controversial season, Isaiah Washington will not be returning to Grey's Anatomy, his rep and ABC Television Studio have confirmed.

No More Dr. Burke
Howard Bragman, Washington's publicist, says Washington's option was not renewed, and released this statement from the actor: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more."

The quote is a reference to the 1976 film Network, but we doubt the actor was joking around. We also can't imagine what he means, however.

The cast was notified Thursday night of the final decision, which, says a source close to the situation, was a long time coming. In the end, the source says, Washington's behavior made him a liability.

As Grey's Anatomy followers know, rumors ran rampant following the season finale â€" during which Washington's character, Dr. Preston Burke, broke up with his fiancée, Christina Yang (Sandra Oh), and moved out of their apartment â€" that Washington would not be returning.

The actor first came under fire last fall after getting into an altercation with Patrick Dempsey, during which he allegedly referred to castmate T.R. Knight with a homophobic slur.

Washington later apologized, checked into rehab, met with gay leaders and recently released a PSA decrying the use of hate speech.

What do you think of the decision to let Washington walk? Visit our

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


this is really ridiculous! IW is a great actor and there are alot of people who loves BANG. this is unfair. seriously.


Comments: Hmmm Great post. I totally agree. Hats off to Steve.Body who so eloquently sums up my thoughts as well.


: I hope the TR Knight's return condition was not based on Shonda's decision to fire IW. This is called backmail! IW and Kate Walsh are both leaving the show after a terrible season. THey are good actors!! You're taking a big risk. The chemistry between the original team was great in S1&2. This wedding story that You invented between Burke &Christina in S3 was so silly. When I think Sara Ramirez who was supposed to go is staying and that you hire Chyler Leigh, I don't think the show will be what it was in S1&2 . Shonda, yeah! you burned it all down and S4 won't be build on new beginnings but on future departures!!!
E Pompeo, perhaps, & P Demsey , for sure, will quit the show.


personally i'm glad he's gone. as a character, burke wasn't that exciting. his whole part on the show was with cristina and now thats over. i would like to see them meet again for closure cus he kinda just ran off. but o well.
as an actor, you shouldn't make mistakes as big as the ones he has. and twice! he doesn't even seem like he cares. he's too cocky and thinks he can say and do w/e he wants. well sorry but you can't.
and even if he stayed or left, i'd still watch the show. it doesn't matter. cus people saying they are true fans and then not watching it means you are not true fans. you need to give it a shot. you'll proably like it.


I am re-posting here one reader's comment (from the Seattle PI's "TV Gal" blog) because I think he sums up my thoughts so well: >>Posted by steve.body at 6/8/07 2:04 p.m: Maybe Isaiah Washington quoted Howard Beale because it most succinctly summed up what someone in his situation would have to feel after what he's been put through over his idiotic remark. You're offended by it? So was I. BUT, the conventional wisdom is that we, the almighty public, are not after blood. We want people to admit their mistakes, learn from them, be publicly contrite, and set an example with their subsequent behavior. If that's actually the case - and we're all not just some glorified lynch mob - Isaiah Washington did EXACTLY what we all SAY we want a person like him to do: publicly and openly show contrition, attempt to make sincere amends, and not just try to weasel out of it, ala the entire Bush administration. The consequences of his thoughtless remark should have been that he was put through the wringer, forced to grovel, and then be allowed, encouraged even, to keep doing that until everyone's agreed that he's changed his stripes and earned back our trust. We seem to take the idea of stripping a person's entire livelhood, reputation, and self-esteem mighty lightly these days. What's the freakin' incentive for anyone to be introspective, remorseful, and publicly contrite - with all the stress and humiliation that entails - when the eventual outcome is going to be the same no matter what? As with Don Imus, we demanded certain conditions under which we could tolerate the offender's presence in our public eye, got them, and then banished them anyway. And Washington did far more, with more sincerity, than Imus did. Here's the net result, and you can get all huffy and dismiss this if you want to but it CAN and very well may come back to bite you in the fanny later on: We're voluntarily surrendering our freedom of speech. We're not making words illegal, exactly - Lord knows that's been tried and didn't work - but we're raising the verbal standard to such a shrilly restrictive level that anyone can transgress without even realizing that what they're doing is bad. I was born and rasied in the mountains of Virginia and recently referred to myself in a newspaper column as a "hillbilly." It's a term I've used thousands of times on myself, knowing that it's both true and untrue, and have had fun with. An editor called me and told me that the paper couldn't print the word because it's on a list of words that constitute "hate speech." Freedom of speech, as Aaron Sorkin so eloquently pointed out in "The American President," isn't easy. It's standing and listening to your opponent advocate, at the top of his lungs, that which you would spend a lifetime opposing. Speech is only truly free when we're free to speak. Consequences for the thoughtless slur? Absolutely, and real enough to sting. But let's be honest with ourselves: Do we want contrition and a sincere apology and a person with a new appreciation of the power of words? Or do we just want disgrace and humiliation and an opportunity to wallow in our self-righteousness? Can't have both.
Or lose the freedom to even make the choice.
_____ Well said, Steve!


Yes we do, we have the right to blame ABC and Shonda Rhimes for leading us to believe that he would be back. They haven't made things better, things will get worst.


Sorry DixieGirl, i was just utterly shocked to read any post and went straight to writing a comment. But i read it now, and i guess if IW really is more of a 'liability' because of his 'history of disruptive behaviour' and that it would actually jeapordise GA's success, termination is the only solution. But i still think the puzzel is not complete with IW off the picture.


The entire cast was willing to move on after the first incident the only one who couldn't let it go was IW. When the reporter asked about the fight at the Golden Globes TR responed by saying "What fight?" IW however took over the mic and then repeated and lied about his offence. Some people can choose to live in their dream world if you want. But the truth is IW brought this on himself. Neither him or his fans have the right to blame anyone else for his mistakes. Many actors who has worked with him in the past has talked about his bad behavior. There is no way the gay slur was his first or last incident witht he Grey's cast. I'll miss Burke's relationship with Cristina but other than that I say good riddance.


Amen, BB.


Ssuzanne, both Isaiah and Patrick Dempsey said the whole choke rumor was not true. Both said they got in each other's faces, but that it was all words and over in minutes. Amanda, if I had a nickle for every tiime that argument has been used since October I would be able to retire. If you are not Black, you have no idea how often the N word is used without any reprecussions at all. It is only a word. Either word. It does not define the person. I hope TR gets over his shame at being gay so that a word, any word, will not have such a negative impact on him that he will feel the compelling need to destroy another man's career over it. Hafsa, Shonda may make it work for some of the fans without Isaiah, but I will not be among them. This is the worst case of over reacting and media hype in the history of Hollywood. This all smacks of interest groups that control public opinion and personally, I would like to make up my own mind rather than having it force fed to me. Ted Casablanca and Michael Ausiello are two online reporters (I believe both gay men) who have beat Isaiah to death with this for the past 8 months. Kathryn, he was fired for the f word not the rumors of choking that both people involved claim were not true. It should have been handled on the set. TR Knight is the one who created the media circus over this and yet he was rehired. I don't believe I am an idiot, but I got interested in the show because Isaiah Washington was on it. I got hooked on it because of the Burke and Cristina storyline, and I have no interest in watching it without him. I will not be back in the fall. Jaime, Isaiah didn't deny using the f word. He denied calling TR the f word and by TR's own admission, he over heard Isaiah referring to him by that word when he was arguing with Patrick Dempsey. He did not call TR the word. It was not a lie, it was misunderstood and misquoted by unscrupulous people in the media who wanted to change his meaning and crucify him for using the word in his denial. It is amazing how quick we are to believe the worst in people just because it makes good copy. This says one thing to me. Hateful, unforgiving people who cannot accept a sincere apology and move on have won. That is sad. Even after the horrible ending to the wedding, I continued to have hope that Burke and Cristina would find their way back together in season three. Shonda made it clear that they both loved each other even though the wedding did not happen. I was not alone in that hope. Many, many fans of Burketina were wishing the same thing. Now, all I can say is that I hope the loyal fans of Grey's Anatomy enjoy season three. I personally cannot stand the incestuousness that is Gizzie. To me their entire sexual relationship is creepy, although I enjoyed their friendship. Enjoy the continual up and down of the Mer/Der relationship. I like both of them but get tired of the ups and downs that don't give you a chance to breath in between. I hope they have some of the promised fun times in Season 3. Hopefully Alex will finally find a love interest, Sloan will figure out why his character is even on the show, and Bailey and Weber will be more than the token Blacks on Shonda's interracial cast. I am disgusted with all of it. I have never been much of a television watcher, so the past two and 1/2 years have been an aberration as I was drawn into Sunday and then Thursday nights with the doctors of Seattle Grace. Life will get back to normal now. I am sad. I am disappointed. I will survive and I will continue to be a fan of the fantastic Isaiah Washington.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.


Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)