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Ellen Pompeo Says Goodbye to Grey's Anatomy in Emotional ABC Promo

After 19 seasons, Dr. Meredith Grey is leaving Seattle for good.
  • It's the end of an era for Grey's Anatomy. Longtime star Ellen Pompeo will say goodbye to the show that defined her career when Grey's returns from hiatus on Thursday, February 23, ABC confirmed during a presentation at the Television Critics Association 2023 Winter Press Tour.

    In the episode, titled "I'll Follow the Sun," the doctors celebrate Meredith's last day at Grey Sloan Memorial with a goodbye surprise, but Nick (Scott Speedman) uses her departure as an opportunity to confront her about the future of their relationship. The previous episode, "Thunderstruck," revealed that Meredith is leaving Seattle to pursue a job in Boston with former coworker Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams).

    In a fitting send-off, "I'll Follow the Sun" is written by showrunner Krista Vernoff and directed by Pompeo's co-star Debbie Allen.

    On Wednesday, ABC released a new promo celebrating Pompeo's 18-year tenure on Grey's Anatomy. The promo overlays Meredith's signature voiceover with major moments from the show, including her first visit to the operating room as an intern, her friendship with Christina (Sandra Oh), and her marriage to Derek (Patrick Dempsey). "This is where I learned to be a doctor," she says. "This is the place where I found my family, the place where I fell in love."

    But as difficult as leaving Seattle may be, Meredith is excited for what's ahead. "Sometimes, change is good," she says in the promo, which is scored to (what else?) a slowed-down version of "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. "Sometimes, change is everything."

    While the February 23 midseason premiere marks Pompeo's final episode as a regular cast member, she is expected to return for the Grey's Anatomy Season 19 finale in May. Pompeo will also remain on board as an executive producer and the show's voiceover narrator for the rest of the season.

    Pompeo's Meredith Grey has been a central figure in Grey's Anatomy since the show premiered in 2005. As of Season 19, she was one of three remaining original cast members, joined only by Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr.

    Grey's Anatomy returns Thursday, February 23 at 9:00 PM ET on ABC. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Grey's Anatomy, ABC, Ellen Pompeo, Television Critics Association 2023 Winter Press Tour