In the Nov. 10 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith Grey made one of the biggest moves of her life (or at the very least, one of the biggest moves she’s made in 19 seasons of the show) when she officially announced her resignation as Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. It’s official: Meredith is leaving Seattle, marking the end of an era on Grey’s. But with the character’s exit, fans are left wondering if Ellen Pompeo is leaving the series for good. Here’s everything you need to know about Pompeo’s possible exit from Grey’s Anatomy.
With Meredith’s move to Boston to conduct Alzheimer’s disease research and enroll her daughter Zola in a new school, she’ll be leaving Seattle, where the vast majority of Grey’s takes place. It’s all the perfect setup for a reduced episode count for Pompeo, which she previously announced in August 2022. Deadline revealed that Pompeo would only appear in eight episodes of Grey’s Season 19, leaving room for her to star in and executive produce a new limited series on Hulu. Pompeo already appeared in the first six episodes of Grey’s Season 19, and the promo for the Grey’s winter premiere shows Meredith getting a big farewell celebration. So with that math, fans can expect to see Pompeo in only one additional episode in Season 19, which will likely be the Season 19 finale.
But even though Pompeo’s onscreen presence will be diminished, she won’t be entirely missing from the rest of Grey’s Season 19. She’ll continue to executive produce the series and provide voiceover narration at the beginning and end of each episode. After all, the show is still called *Grey’s* Anatomy, and it wouldn’t be the same without a little wisdom from Mer in each episode.
The real question comes when fans look to the future of Grey’s and whether or not Pompeo will be a part of it. While her commitment to the series for the rest of Season 19 is planned out, there’s still mystery surrounding any possible future seasons. Grey’s hasn’t officially been picked up for Season 20 yet, but if the show does return for a historic 20th season, it’s unclear what Pompeo’s role would be. It’s difficult to imagine Grey’s Anatomy without Pompeo at all, but there’s always a chance she’s preparing for a total exit.
Season 19 of Grey’s Anatomy continues Thursday, Feb. 23, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.