Isaiah Washington

In this Jan. 15, 2014 file photo, cast member Isaiah Washington participates in “The 100” panel at the CBS Winter TCA Press Tour, at the Langham Huntington, in Pasadena, Calif.(Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — ABC says Isaiah Washington will return to “Grey’s Anatomy” for a guest appearance in May, seven years after he was fired from the medical drama.

Washington exited the series in 2007 after an on-set clash the year before, in which an anti-gay epithet was directed at another cast member at the time, T.R. Knight.

Washington’s return as Dr. Preston Burke coincides with the announced departure of series star Sandra Oh at the season’s end in May. Her character, Dr. Cristina Yang, was engaged to Washington’s Burke at one point in the long-running drama.


Sandra Oh (AP Photo/File)

The creator of “Grey’s Anatomy“, Shonda Rhimes, said that bringing Washington back was integral for the “full-circle moment we need to properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang.”

She also said that it was important to her that “Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should, Burke is vital to that journey.”

The date of Washington’s episode was not announced.

During the controversy involving him, Washington also used the epithet backstage at the 2007 Golden Globe awards. He publicly apologized and tried to make amends by meeting with gay-rights organizations.

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