Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in Grey's Anatomy
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We have exciting news to report! We finally know when Meredith Grey is returning to Grey’s Anatomy season 19 after her exit in the mid-season premiere. Keep reading to find out exactly when Meredith will be gracing our TV screens again.

Grey’s Anatomy, ABC’s longest-running medical drama, focuses on the lives of surgical interns, residents and attendings at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Seattle, Washington. Since the show premiered in 2005, it’s earned more than 38 Primetime Emmy nominations (including two for Outstanding Drama Series) after almost two decades on the air. Meredith Grey is played by actress Ellen Pompeo, who started as a surgical intern in the very first season. Her mother is famed surgeon Ellis Grey, the former Chief of General Surgery at Grey Sloan. She marries renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), who dies in season 11, and the couple had three children together. Pompeo has also appeared in the Grey’s firefighter-centered spin-off, Station 19.

In a January 2018 interview with our sister publication, The Hollywood Reporter, Pompeo said that she first heard about the show when her former agent CAA’s Rick Kurtzman brought her the script for Grey’s Anatomy. “I was like, ‘I’m not going to be stuck on a medical show for five years,’” she recalled telling him at the time. “Are you out of your f-ing mind? I’m an actress.’” Nineteen years later, after many cast members left (or were notably killed off), Pompeo continued with the iconic role and was the highest-paid actress in a primetime drama. In 2022, she announced that she is leaving Grey’s Anatomy and will be taking on a reduced role in season 19 (read more about Pompeo’s decision to leave, below).

When is Ellen Pompeo coming back as Meredith Grey in season 19 of Grey’s Anatomy? We’ve got all the details behind the actress’ awaited return to Grey Sloan.

Why is Ellen Pompeo leaving Grey’s Anatomy?

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in Grey's Anatomy

Why is Ellen Pompeo leaving Grey’s Anatomy? Pompeo is exiting the popular medical drama to star in an untitled Hulu limited series. The show is about a couple who adopts a child that they believe is an eight-year-old girl, but later suspect that she’s hiding her true identity from them, Variety first reported in August 2022. Variety also confirmed that Pompeo would take a reduced onscreen role for season 19, appearing in just eight episodes.

Pompeo officially announced that she was leaving Grey’s Anatomy in an Instagram post in November 2022. “I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons!” she wrote in the post. “Through it all….none of it …would have been possible without the best fans in the world.” See the entire post, below:


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So, how did producers decide to write off Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy? In the season 19 mid-season finale, which aired on February 23, 2023, Meredith prepares for her family to move to Boston. In the previous episode, we learn that Meredith accepted a job with the Catherine Fox Foundation run by Grey Sloan’s former Chief of Plastic Surgery Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams). Her coworkers at the hospital throw Meredith a farewell party, and then she was off to Boston to start her new life. Pompeo revealed to Entertainment Tonight in February 2023 that “I’ll Follow the Sun” wouldn’t be her last episode of Grey’s Anatomy. “For the record, it’s not really my final,” she told the site. “It’s a little bit of a trick they’re playing on people. It is my final episode for a while.”

When is Ellen Pompeo returning to Grey’s Anatomy?

Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey) with the cast of Grey's Anatomy

When is Ellen Pompeo returning to Grey’s Anatomy? Ellen Pompeo will come back to Grey’s Anatomy for Season 19’s two-hour finale on Thursday, May 18, 2023, according to Deadline. We first learned that Pompeo would be back for the season 19 finale from The Hollywood Reporter, who reported that it would be the actress’ final episode. The publication also said that Pompeo will remain as an executive producer on the series and will continue to voice Meredith’s narrations that usually play at the start of each episode.

As Meredith exits the series, Grey’s Anatomy welcomed a fresh round of interns, including Jules Millin (Adelaide Kane), Benson Kwan (Harry Shum Jr.), Mika Yasuda (Midori Francis), Simone Griffith (Alexis Floyd) and Lucas Adams (Niko Tehro). Kate Walsh also returned as Dr. Addison Montgomery in season 19 (although her character’s fate is unknown after she was hit by a car in season 9, episode 11). The other two remaining cast members from season 1 include Chandra Wilson (who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey) and James Pickens Jr. (who plays Dr. Richard Weber).

On March 24, 2023, Variety confirmed that Grey’s Anatomy was renewed for a 20th season by ABC and that Meg Marinis, who has been an executive producer on the medical drama since 2016, will take over as the series’ new showrunner. The previous showrunner, Krista Vernoff, stepped down from the role in January 2023.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Check out the real-life partners of your favorite Grey’s Anatomy stars in the gallery below.