Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

[REDACTED] becomes latest long-time star to depart Grey's Anatomy

Don’t worry, it’s not Phylicia Rashad.
Don’t worry, it’s not Phylicia Rashad.
Photo: ABC/Christopher Willard

Given that it’s now well into its fifth presidential term on the air, it’s no surprise that Grey’s Anatomy has weathered its fair share of long-term cast departures over the years. (The show’s Wikipedia chart depicting the tenure of its 33-and-counting regular cast members looks more complicated than the medical charts they spend their days toting around.) And now, we can add Jesse Williams’ name to the roster of those who’ve departed for the Sandra Oh You Don’t Work Here Anymore Memorial Wing of Grey Sloan Hospital, with news breaking earlier this evening that Williams’ final episode will air on May 20.

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Williams—who will always, deep in our hearts, be the off-putting android man from bizarre “playable movie” Detroit: Become Human—has spent 11 seasons on the show, playing plastic surgeon Jackson Avery. Introduced in the show’s sixth season, alongside an “Invasion” of new characters (a mere 106 episodes into Grey’s run, when the world was still fresh and new), Avery quickly became a regular part of the medical drama’s ever-expanding ensemble. That includes a running romance with fellow medical human April Kepner, played by Sarah Drew, who returned to the series in its most recent episode to help set Williams up for his departure. (THR’s piece on him leaving actually goes into the plot beats of said departure in pretty close detail, in case the suspense is killing you.)

In announcing his departure, Williams gave a pretty standard “thank you for keeping me on television for a literal decade” statement:

I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda [Rhimes], the network, studio, fellow cast mates, our incredible crew, Krista [Vernoff], Ellen [Pompeo] and Debbie [Allen]. As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds. The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends.