‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Reveals Major Character Will Return: ‘You Asked, We Listened’

by Suzanne Halliburton

With Ellen Pompeo taking on a reduced role, Grey’s Anatomy is turning to some of its old-school characters to fill the void for season 19.

So say hello, again, to Kate Walsh’s Dr. Addison Montgomery. Grey’s Anatomy brought back Addison for a three-episode arc last season. And she’s back again this year, Variety reported Wednesday. Her first episode back should be sometime in late October. Grey’s Anatomy kicks off its 19th season on Oct. 6 on ABC. Walsh also confirmed the news on her Instagram page.

If you’re familiar with your Grey’s Anatomy history, you know Walsh first appeared as Dr. Montgomery in the season one finale. Here’s her backstory. She’s rich and brilliant. Addison met her future husband, Dr. Derek Shepherd, in med school. And Derek caught her sleeping with his best friend, Dr. Mark Sloan. That’s why a devastated Derek sold his practice in New York and moved across the country, settling in at Seattle Grace.

Patrick Dempsey portrayed Derek, or McDreamy. And Grey’s Anatomy used the relationship between Derek and Meredith to sell its romantic storyline, which often was intertwined with the extraordinary medical plots. The presence of Addison added another dimension. It also gave the show another character, when Sloan, aka McSteamy, became a character.

Kate Walsh first returned to Grey’s Anatomy last season. (Eric McCandless/ABC)

But McDreamy and McSteamy are dead. Addison isn’t, so she’s free to do recurring story lines. Walsh left Grey’s Anatomy in 2007 to star in Private Practice, a spinoff of the original. Last year was the first time Grey’s Anatomy fans saw her back in Seattle.

“Completely surreal,” Walsh said last October in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. The subject was her return to the show.

“Like, there’s no way to even articulate it. I knew it would be odd but it was so emotional, and so big and yeah, beyond, because when’s the last time you’ve ever gone back to a job that you started 18 years ago that you left 10 years ago? You know what I’m saying? There’s no infrastructure. There’s no construct for it because even if you say, ‘Oh, it’s kind of like going home to your parents,’ and you’re like, ‘Wait, this is my room? OK, yeah, that’s right, I have an airplane bed.'”

Walsh said the show producers had discussed a return before she finally said yes. “It’s such an iconic show, it was such an important show for me in my life, in my career and so [executive producer/showrunner] Krista [Vernoff] and I had been talking and trying to find a time where it was the right time for Grey’s and storylines and scheduling and all of that. And I thought, you know what? This is the right time.”

Ellen Pompeo (middle) will only appear in eight episodes this season. (ABC)

And season 19 also must be another right time. Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey is scheduled to appear in only eight episodes. That’s because Pompeo is starring in and producing another show for Hulu. However, she’ll still narrate each episode, so fans can feel her presence, even though they can’t see her.

But Grey’s Anatomy is always about doctors, primarily how the interns and residents interact with the veterans. The show will introduce a new group of characters played by Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Midori Francis, Alexis Floyd and Niko Terho.