Isaiah Washington is back on 'Greys Anatomy' as Preston Burke, but why did he ever leave?
Isaiah Washington made his return to 'Grey’s Anatomy' last night, seven years after he was axed from the show amid a storm of controversy. A on set incident involving co-star T.R. Knight saw Isaiah’s Grey’s run come to an end and Dr Preston Burke gone from Seattle Grace. So now he’s back, what exactly happened all that time ago.
Isaiah Washington has returned to Grey's Anatomy
Isaiah Washington joined the 'Grey’s Anatomy' cast in 2005 for the series first season. He played Dr Preston Burke, a gifted and brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon. For his portrayal of Burke Washington earned two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award. Whilst Burke was a focal point of the show’s early seasons, his most memorable story line was his romance with intern Cristina Yang, played by Sandra Oh. Yang was the determined intern who had a thing for “cardio-gods” and her and Burke’s romance became one of the show’s main talking points. When Burke proposed to Yang, it looked as if Cristina, who had always shunned emotion to focus on her career, was going to get her happy ending. Little did viewers know, a backstage scandal was about to erupt that would change the course of Grey’s Anatomy and the upcoming wedding of the two major characters.
In October 2006 rumours spread that Washington had used a homophobic slur on the 'Grey’s' set allegedly aimed at co star T.R. Knight. Knight subsequently came out as gay and Washington issued an apology for the incident via People magazine. The story reported was that Washington had been in an argument with co-star Patrick Dempsey over Knight being late on set. When things got heated he used the slur but Knight was not present at the time. After his apology all could have been o.k. and the controversy seemed to have died down, that was until the January Golden Globes.
Sandra Oh plays Cristina Yang
On the red carpet, when asked about the incident Isaiah seemed to play it for laughs saying, "I love gay. I wanted to be gay, please let me be gay." After he made light of the incident he then said, in a separate Globes interview, that he had never used the slur against Knight. Knight later rebutted his claims telling Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show that “everybody heard him.” The negative publicity was too much for ABC and they subsequently decided not to renew Washington’s contract. He would later say the network had “fired the wrong guy”.
As for Preston Burke, he ended up leaving Seattle on the day of his wedding, feeling he’d tried too hard to change Cristina. Cristina was left an emotional wreck who eventually would have to be cut out of her wedding dress as Burke was cut out of 'Grey’s Anatomy'.
Preston Burke is back on 'Greys Anatomy'
Now the show is sadly saying goodbye to Sandra Oh and really now is the right time for Isaiah Washington to return. In the past years he has managed to rebuild his reputation thanks to Public Service Announcements and a GLAAD endorsement. Though some might raise an eyebrow at Burke’s return, he provides the closure that Cristina’s story needs before her departure. However you feel about Washington. Burke is back, but sadly it means we're saying farewell Cristina.