Every Grey’s Anatomy Character Returns, Ranked


Even by Grey’s Anatomy standards, the return of Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) in the Season 17 premiere was a real shock. Of course, McDreamy didn’t do much more than smile and say hello (and his follow-up cameo in last week’s “My Happy Ending” was no longer involved), but considering the last time fans have seen him, he was taken out of life support after a car accident, his reappearance is always welcome – even if that means that once again, Meredith is within a medical complication of his disappearance.

Since it is Grey’s Anatomy, however, and Gray’s incumbent Ellen Pompeo is happy to continue cashing her $ 20 million paycheck, don’t expect the world’s most unlucky Dartmouth graduate to kick so early. What we’ll get, instead, is a highlight of a COVID-19 plot with several examples of a passed out Meredith dreaming of seeing Derek on a beach – and, according to promos from the December 3 episode, the return. of at least one other person from his past. Whoever it is (Ellis? George? Lexie? Joe the Bartender?), They will be the last in a long line of important figures who have reappeared after years away from the Gray Sloan Memorial. Since some of these feedbacks were much more welcome than others, we decided to rank them all. And no, we don’t count characters like Ellis Gray who have returned multiple times over the years, or characters who only reappeared through old imagery, like everyone else in that Day of the Dead episode where Mer saw the ghosts halfway through the series. start of casting. Forward!

“Final” episode: “Fear (of the Unknown)” of season 10 (May 15, 2014)
Return Episode: “Roar” from Season 13 (October 27, 2016)

After being fired by Richard for her less than stellar surgical skills, resident Leah Murphy spent some time wallowing in her depression before starting to work at another hospital. Eventually, she decided to reapply Gray Sloan in hopes of working under the guidance of Cardio Maggie. It was an awkward return, and it didn’t last long; the character only stayed a few episodes before disappearing without fanfare, onscreen or off.

“Final” Episode: “A Hard Day’s Night” from Season 1 (March 27, 2005)
Return episode: “My Next Life” from Season 12 (March 3, 2016)

A decade (in Grey’s time) after competing teenager Katie Bryce was treated for an aneurysm by Meredith and Derek on the show’s pilot, she returned to the show with another aneurysm – this time, to be operated on by the other Dr. Shepherd, Derek’s sister, Amelia. Everything went well, and Katie reminding Mer how much of a “shipwreck” she was as an intern was quite fun. All in all, a perfectly pleasant, if not particularly remarkable, return.

“Final” Episode: “Let the Angels Commit” from Season 3 (November 2, 2006)
Return Episode: “Good Shepherd” Season 15 (April 11, 2019)

Besides Amelia, Nancy is the only other of Derek’s sisters we’ve met more than once. After entering Seattle Grace Grey’s the first few days to spark a reign of terror that earned her the title “McBitchy,” she returned to the show to inspire Amelia to reunite with her family. Fingers crossed, we see this drama-loving icon one day again, and for a longer period.

“Final” episode: “I always have the impression that someone is watching me” from season 6 (October 1, 2009)
Return Episode: “Bad Reputation” Season 14 (April 26, 2018)

Oh, nurse Olivia. She slept with Alex, gave George syphilis, and even got caught up in Izzie’s LVAD mess before being discharged from the hospital during the Mercy West merger. She always deserved better, which made her return in Season 14 a delight. Watch her call Alex to be the one who spread the STD and warn Jo about her fiancé’s old cheating habit and Evil Spawn’s attitude? Even better.

“Final” episode: “Sympathy for the Devil” from season 5 (January 15, 2009)
Return Episode: “Good Shepherd” Season 15 (April 11, 2019)

Derek’s mother (the formidable Tyne Daly) only appeared on Grey’s twice, but both times were a doozy. In the first, she bullied Meredith into wearing her a high ponytail and made a list of terrified Lexie on her sex history. In the second, she mended her strained relationship with her daughter Amelia while gently mocking but deserved to poke fun at the doctor’s constantly messy life. Carolyn Shepherd forever.

“Final” episode: “Flight” of season 8 (May 17, 2012)
Return Episode: “Break Down the House” from Season 14 (September 28, 2017)

It’s hard to remember now that we can’t go on for five minutes Grey’s without Teddy causing chaos, but there was a long time the Doctor was MIA on the show. After leaving Seattle to take a military job in Germany, she returned several years later to work in the hospital again, have a baby, and experience serious issues separating her personal life from her work. Three seasons later, not much has changed.

“Final” Episode: “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” from Season 7 (February 10, 2011)
Return Episode: “The Winner Takes It All” Season 15 (January 31, 2019)

Meredith’s father Thatcher has returned several times over the years, but there was a solid gap between his last appearance in Season 7, when he had kidney stone surgery, and his real last appearance in season 15, when he died. The man was still a complicated character – an angry drunkard who suffered more than his fair share of loss – and his departure was fitting. Mer and Thatcher both had the opportunity to have their say, healing some, if not all, of their lifelong wounds.

“Final” episode: “My Next Life” from season 12 (March 3, 2016)
Return episode: “My Shot” from Season 16 (November 14, 2019)

Katie Bryce’s first comeback Grey’s was purely entertaining, but her second time was actually quite emotional. When Meredith went to the medical board to keep her license, several of her former patients returned to speak on her behalf, including Katie, who spoke about how Meredith managed to diagnose her aneurysm and save her life on the very first day. in Seattle Grace. It was a beautiful loop moment for Grey’s fans, and a powerful act of support for the beleaguered doctor.

“Final” Episode: “Losing My Religion” from Season 2 (May 15, 2006)
Return Episode: “Some Kind of Miracle” Season 3 (February 22, 2007)

Yeah, he’s only been gone a year, and yeah, he’s a dog, but bear with me, okay? Doc was a very good boy who got caught in a classic Grey’s love quadrangle and tolerated Meredith even though she passed it back and forth between owners every two weeks. It was devastating when he died of cancer, so when he appeared in the post-drowning vision and after Mer died as a healthy, happy puppy, who didn’t clap?

Episode “Final”: “Haven’t we got almost everything?” From Season 3 (May 17, 2007)
Return Episode: “We Never Get Back Together” from Season 10 (May 1, 2014)

When “Cardio God” Burke left the show in Season 3, it was for good reason; ABC chose not to renew Isaiah Washington’s contract after allegedly using a homophobic slur on set, then repeated it at the Golden Globes a few months later. And while the character’s sudden absence resulted in one of Sandra Oh’s best acting moments, Grey’s no doubt felt different without Burke, who had both mentored and loved Oh’s Cristina Yang. So when it came time to say goodbye to Cristina herself seven years later, it was only fitting that Burke was there to send her – and he did so with a wonderful Swiss lab, 49 3D printers and a real recognition of Cristina. talent that the doctor (and Grey’s fans) had been waiting for almost a decade to see.

“Final” episode: “How to save a life” from season 11 (April 23, 2015)
Return Episode: “The Center Won’t Hold” Season 17 (November 12, 2020)

Yeah, all he’s done so far is stand on a beach, yell at Meredith, and be pretty. But it’s Derek Shepherd! he is McDreamy! Mer’s true love is back – at least for a few episodes – and it’s the best thing ever Grey’s fan could never hope.


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