Grey's Anatomy: Clearing Way For (Possible) Cast Departures?

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The contract talks between Grey’s Anatomy and Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers and others has become a hot topic of late, and TV Line has an interesting teaser along those lines.

Shonda Rhimes hinted last month that the season ends in a way that could accommodate any number of possible cast departures, as the original stars are all in the eighth and final season of their ABC deals.

Well, according to TV Line, a late April episode will follow the residents - Alex, Meredith, Jackson, April and Cristina - as they interview for fellowship positions at other hospitals around the United States.

Sunny Meredith

Those hospitals are apparently wooing the Seattle Grace quintet in anticipation of them passing their medical boards, and they're entertaining all of their options in their current hometown and beyond.

None of the actors has said much regarding their prospects of returning for Season 9, but this would make it awfully convenient for one or more of the aforementioned quintet to leave SG for good.

As for Patrick Dempsey, he has indicated he may very well come back if his schedule is freed up so that he may pursue other interests. So he (and others) could also appear on a limited number of episodes.

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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)

Arizona: Oh my God! I mean, I understand why you're into her. She's hot. Wait, she likes you?
Nathan: What? I mean, I'm going to try not to be offended at that.
Arizona: No, no, no. It's just that Derek was--Derek was epic for her. They were the great love story. I mean, that girl's heart beat for Derek Shepherd. It just...it never occurred to me that she would ever be with anyone else. He was perfect. He was everything. That man turned her world. It...I spooked you. Don't be spooked.