Washington, who played the role of surgeon Dr. Preston Burke on the medical series, was axed from the show following controversy surrounding him allegedly calling co-star T.R. Knight a homophobic slur. The 50-year-old actor denied the accusation backstage in the press room at the Golden Globes Awards, where he used the offensive word again on a microphone in front of the media.
“Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes said it was imperative to have Washington return to help finalize the storyline of Dr. Cristina Yang played by actress Sandra Oh, who is departing the series after this season.
“It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should. 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,” explained Rhimes.
Washington’s Dr. Burke was slated to marry Dr. Yang seven years ago, but no-showed at their wedding.
Following being fired by ABC, Washington had a role on the short-lived “Bionic Woman” series and then struggled to land a role as prominent as his part on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
In recent years, the Houston-bred thespian has starred in independent films like “The Undershepherd,” “Blue Caprice,” and “Área Q,” and joined the cast of The CW post-apocalyptic series, “The 100.”