Isaiah Washington will return as a former co-star exits the show. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Is eight years long enough to live down calling someone a homophobic slur? Isaiah Washington will find out in May, when he returns to "Grey's Anatomy."
Washington was one of the original cast members in medical drama "Grey's Anatomy," starring as Dr. Preston Burke for three years. According to the Hollywood Reporter, he'll return in May as part of Sandra Oh's exit arc from the show - Washington played a love interest for Oh's character, Cristina Yang. It's the first time Washington will return to the long-running show since 2006, when he was fired for choking co-star Patrick Dempsey and telling him, "I'm not your little f----t like [co-star] T.R. [Knight]."
After news of the incident leaked, Washington was fired. T.R. Knight subsequently came out as gay on "Ellen."
In subsequent years Washington has worked hard to rehabilitate his image: He's a public supporter of gay marriage, and his upcoming film "Blackbird" is the story of a man coming out in a small Southern town.
In a statement, showrunner Shonda Rhimes explained why she believed the return of the controversial actor was necessary. "It's important to me that Cristina's journey unfolds exactly as it should," she said. "Burke is vital to that journey - he gives her story that full-circle moment we need to properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang."