'Grey's Anatomy' shocker: Isaiah Washington returning!

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Image Credit: FRANK OCKENFELS/ABC

Dr. Burke is checking back in to Grey’s Anatomy.

EW has learned that Isaiah Washington is set to reprise his role as the heart surgeon/former flame of Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) in an episode airing in May. This marks Washington’s first appearance on the ABC medical drama since season 3, when his character left Cristina at the altar and the actor was let go from the series.

Creator Shonda Rhimes said in a statement that the character’s return is an integral part of providing closure to Cristina Yang, whose portrayer Oh is set to leave the series at the end of this season.  “It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should,” Rhimes 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.”

Since leaving Grey’s Anatomy, Washington has appeared in bit parts on TV shows like Single Ladies and Law & Order: LA and will next appear in the CW’s 100, premiering this month.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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