Shonda Rhimes Discusses Firing of Isaiah Washington, Reflects On Season 3

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Shonda Rhimes, Grey's Anatomy Creator
Shonda Rhimes has finally broken her silence.

Ever since Grey's Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington was released from the series two weeks ago, the world surrounding TV's top drama has been in a state of and upheaval.

But Rhimes, in an interview with Access Hollywood Thursday (June 14), as reported by Entertainment Weekly, says she is happy with how Isaiah Washington's character's story ended.

"I feel like we wrote the show in a way that really completes the story of Preston Burke, and that is a really strong thing," she said.

Burke broke off his wedding to Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and skipped out in the May 17 season finale of Grey's Anatomy.

The show will not recast the role with a new actor.

"I've said it before, I and I will say it again," Shonda Rhimes said. "I don't believe in replacing one actor with another. I think a replacement is a little bit odd in terms of somebody who has been on the show for three years."

The decision not to bring Washington back next season was the culmination of months of speculation after an ugly incident last fall, when the actor was accused of referring to co-star T.R. Knight by a gay slur in an on-set disagreement with castmate Patrick Dempsey.

Washington then reignited the turmoil when he dubiously repeated the slur in front of reporters backstage at the Golden Globes in January.

The embattled actor spoke publicly about his being let go for the first time earlier this week when he talked to

"I'm saddened by the outcome," he said. "I did everything the producers and the network asked me to do. I came back under great duress and stress, and thought I was doing the job I was hired to do. I thought that was going to speak for my future at Grey's, but apparently that wasn't the same vision that the network and studio had for me."

Despite the controversy over Washington's remarks - and over the star being dismissed, Shonda Rhimes told Access Hollwood that she viewed Season 3 as a positive one for the show.

"We won the Golden Globe this year," Rhimes stated. "I think the show took itself to new heights this year, I think we explored different things for women this year, I think we have had amazing guest casts this year. I think it's been a sweet, sweet year for us."

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


This is unbelievable people accusing others of hate and they are the first to write hateful comments on forums. So sad.


you know what sarah. first of all burke was not written out "beautifully" and second of all people make mistakes sometimes, how do you know it was so filled with hate. people call other people names all of the time and they regret it and they usually get a second chance. what the fuck else did they want him to do. and the next season won't "POP" because it's fucking going to be the same shit all over again, except this time without burke and i think i speak for a lot of die hard grey's fans when i say i'm sick of it and i don't think i'll watch next season because all of this shit is just stupid. they couldn't just get over it, god, it was a name calling, he should've gotten punished and then that's it get over it.


p.s. You can't just take back HATE. Washington made some HATEFUL comments. He dug his own bed and now he has to lie in it. If he really believed in his career, he never would have discriminated OUTLOUD. Everyone has a right to their opinions, and I would imagine that he was raised in a family that used "hate" to describe gay and lesbian people. Most people don't just show up one day and discriminate. But, when you're on TV and you're a role model, it's a different story. I'm glad that the show took a stand and fired him. And they wrote him out beautifully, in typical Burke fashion.....arrogance. It worked for me!


I like the way that she ended the Christina-Burke relationship. There was never a fit for them. It was always about Christina changing for Burke. Screw that! Christina shouldn't have to change and Burke should never have wanted her to. I'm glad that they got rid of him. How does he push her and push her to do everything he wants and then dump her at the wedding? He's an ass! A very arrogant, handsome, and not to mention talented one, but people GET OVER IT! It's just a story and Burke is no longer. I can't wait to see how Christina responds next season. That will be very interesting. And come one! MERDER...they always have some drama......that's what makes it a drama. Stop complaining and hold on to your pants. I'm sure next seasion will POP, as Dr. Bailey liikes to say. I'm interested to see how Dr. Bailey responds to NOT being in charge of the interns. That will be fun! And watching Callie lead Izzie? Can't wait!


Hey Vicky, arent you the distructive type, seriously will you please shup the heck up if you dont have anything positive to say? and since u are no longer a grey fan, leave the rest of us in peace and depart with your troubles to another show.SAFE JOURNEY!!!!


vicky, are you here again?
Shut up! You should stop to bash Meredith and Derek. They are the lead couple! IW is a moron and ABC is great!


i agree with all the above. Season 3 sucked. It was a far cry from 1 and 2. The reason i liked the show was because it wasnt all heavy hospital drama. It had comedy and sex and very interesting and unusual cases and great characters. season 3 was downright depressing and the last few eps were very disappointing and unbelievable. I can t but that after what derek and mer went through suddenly they 're both not so into each other. i dont get how their love suddenly fizzled out. and am mad as hell that they let I. Washington go! what in the world were they thinking! even if he was difficult on the set, the fact that he did everything they asked means he really wanted to stay and if they had seriously warned him not to pull any stunts again i think he would behave. they should have given him another chance. Honestly i think the show's doomed and if it werent for Sandra Oh's character i wouldn t even want to tune in to season 4 anymore. She s the only interesting character there. addison was but they took her out too and put her in a very CORNY show that had her oggling this teeny bopper surfer guy, after she's had Mark Sloan and Derek, why would she (or we) even look at that gross guy??? if sandra oh leaves then there's really nothing left.


Talking about pushing fans away.... I am one of them Season 3 was disappointing. I won't be getting up early on Friday mornings to see the reviews and download (I know I shouldn't but I also buy the DVD's) the episodes. I've said this many times before once success goes to someone's head is the end of their good sense. There is no passion in GA anymore they will never find back the great moments we had between Mer/Der so I'll be one of many lost fans. I still have CSI to watch perhaps I'll start watching Dr. House who knows.


I just want to say that I think Grey's is going downhill. It's not a steep hill at this point. But I'm just not as excited as I used to be...other shows have taken that spot. This has nothing to do with Burke leaving, I just think that Shonda is kind of pushing her fans away. And unfortunately, Grey's Anatomy is not what it used to be.


Yea I'm a little behind, didn't realize Isiah got fired intill today. But learning this makes completely rethink the ending of Grey's Anatomy. They pretty much knew they were going to fire him and it completely questions Shonda's so called "logic" in letting the show end that way. I'm not sure I can watch next season.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

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)

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.