Grey’s Anatomy has been a reliable hit for ABC for nearly two decades. The medical drama centers on Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), tracking her career from intern to the chief of general surgery. And although the show has undergone a lot of changes over its extensive run, a very familiar face will return in season 19 as Kate Walsh confirms her return as Addison Montgomery.
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 19 debuts on October 6, 2022
When Grey’s Anatomy debuted in 2005, it did so as a midseason replacement. Of the nine original cast members in that first season, only three remain ongoing staples of the show. Pompeo has played Meredith Grey – the show’s titular character – throughout its run, of course. And Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. have remained in place as Miranda Bailey and Richard Webber, respectively, from season 1 all the way through to season 19.
Other original cast members have stopped by from time to time, however. Patrick Dempsey, who played Derek Shepherd (aka McDreamy) came back following his character’s season. Likewise, T.R. Knight returned as George O’Malley in season 17. But former stars Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, and Justin Chambers never reappeared after leaving the show in seasons 10, 6, and 16. So for many reasons, Walsh is a special case.
Kate Walsh has a long history with the popular ABC series
Walsh first played Addison Montgomery in Grey’s Anatomy Season 1, appearing as a guest star in the finale. The actor was bumped up to the main cast midway through season 2. However, she then left the series, appearing in just a handful of episodes in seasons 4 through 8. The reason wasn’t that Walsh was tired of the character. Rather, she had taken Addison over to Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice, which had a successful six-season run from 2007 to 2013.
After nearly a decade away, Walsh returned to the show for season 18 as a recurring special guest star. And as she recently confirmed on Twitter, she’s set to bring Addison back in a similar capacity for season 19. With the show embracing more of a focus on its ensemble cast, it makes sense why Walsh has been called back to play the iconic character for another round of episodes.
When will ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ end?
So few shows make it on the air as long as Grey’s Anatomy has. And with the series nearing a potential milestone 20th season, some fans might be wondering how much longer it might continue. The answer might very well lie in a 2017 interview, in which Pompeo addressed that very question.
“Shonda [Rhimes] and I have both said that whenI’m ready to stop, we’re going to stop the show,” Pompeo told Variety. “The story is about Meredith Grey’s journey and when I’m done, the show will end. … I think the fans will let us know when it’s time to stop the show.”
Thus far, fans seem to be on board. So it’s anyone’s guess when Pompeo, Rhimes, and company will be ready to close out Meredith Grey’s story once and for all. Until then, it seems Walsh is content to revel in her fan-favorite character for a while longer.