'Grey's Anatomy' Season 20 could feature Meredith Grey despite Ellen Pompeo's exit in Season 19.

Arizona & Meredith Return In The Grey's Season 20 Trailer

Guess who's scrubbing back in!?

by Ani Bundel
Originally Published: 
ABC/Liliane Lathan

The last couple of seasons of Grey’s Anatomy have gone down to the wire before being confirmed by Shondaland and ABC. Ever since the series broke ER’s record as the longest-running primetime medical drama, the same questions have come up every year: Will this finally be the show’s last run? And how much longer will star Ellen Pompeo continue as the titular Meredith Grey? With the latter question now answered, fans wondered whether Grey’s Anatomy Season 20 would actually happen, but sure enough, ABC picked up a landmark 20th season of Grey’s, ensuring the show would go on even without its main character.

Warning: Spoilers for Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 follow. Not long before Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 debuted, the bomb dropped that Pompeo would only be in a few episodes of the season as the actor takes on other projects. Combined with the premiere that felt like a soft reboot pilot featuring a new cast of interns, viewers wondered if the show was gearing up for a full Pompeo departure.

Then the series burned her house down. And Meredith said her last farewell to Grey Sloan. Or at least, what fans thought was her last farewell.

With Meredith now moving to the East Coast and severing ties with Grey Sloan Memorial, the show lost its anchor midway through Season 19. However, Pompeo hinted her exit from the series as Meredith Grey may not be final, and now fans have confirmation she’ll be back for at least a couple episodes in the new season.

Here’s what is known so far.

Meredith Will Be Back


ABC announced Grey’s would be back for Season 20 on March 24. The news came with a shake-up, as executive producer Meg Marinis will take over as showrunner from Krista Vernoff. Vernoff announced she would be exiting the series at the end of the season earlier in 2023.

Of course, the biggest question is whether Pompeo will return as Meredith Grey. Despite her character’s exit in Season 19, Pompeo is remaining part of the show as an executive producer, and will continue to provide voice-over narration for the new episodes.

And although Pompeo won’t be seen much in Season 20, she will bring Meredith back for at least a couple appearances. Debbie Allen, who plays Dr. Catherine Fox and is also an EP on the medical drama, confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that Meredith will appear in at least two Season 20 episodes. “She’s in the first episode, and she’s in the one I’m gonna direct,” Allen confirmed.

A bit later, People confirmed Pompeo will be in at least four of the new episodes.

Another Fan-Fave Is Also Returning


That same People report about Pompeo’s four appearances also provided another exciting update: Jessica Capshaw will be returning as Dr. Arizona Robbins for one episode in the new season.

This will mark Capshaw’s return to the series after six years away, having left the show at the end of Season 14 in 2018. Arizona’s storyline ended with her moving to New York to be with the love of her life Callie Torres and their daughter Sofia.

You’ll See Lots Of Familiar Faces

ABC/Nino Muñoz

Pompeo’s exit may take up all the headlines, but two other actors on the series have also been with the show since the series debut in 2005: James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber and Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey. And they will keep on keeping on for Season 20.

As for the rest of the extensive Grey’s Anatomy cast, many of whom return for cameos or guest spots in several episodes at a time, it’s hard to know which of the old crew will be back for Season 20. Season 19 has featured everyone from the long-awaited return of Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery to the recently-exited Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery.

However, the current ensemble roster will for sure be back. That includes Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt, Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Amelia Shepherd, Camilla Luddington as Dr. Jo Wilson, Kelly McCreary as Dr. Maggie Pierce, Kim Raver as Dr. Teddy Altman, Jake Borelli as Dr. Levi Schmitt, Chris Carmack as Dr. Atticus “Link” Lincoln, and Anthony Hill as Dr. Winston Ndugu.


The newbie roster of characters who joined this season are also returning, as the show shifts to focus on this new generation. They include Alexis Floyd as Dr. Simone Griffith, Harry Shum Jr. as Dr. Blue Kwan, Adelaide Kane as Dr. Jules Millin, Midori Francis as Dr. Mika Yasuda, and Niko Terho as Dr. Lucas Adams.

The Trailer Teases So Much Drama


A couple weeks before the premiere, ABC dropped the full-length trailer for Season 20. The video teases a ton of romantic and professional tension between the interns, but the real stars are the two fan-faves making their comebacks. Both Meredith and Arizona pop up in the new clips. Arizona’s appearance marks the first time she’s been on Grey’s in six years.

It’s Premiering Soon

The 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes slightly delayed the season, but once they concluded, ABC confirmed Season 20 will premiere on Thursday, March 14.

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