The surprises keep on coming for Grey's Anatomy fans!
During Thursday's episode of the ABC medical drama, T.R. Knight made a shocking return while appearing in a dream sequence with Ellen Pompeo's character Meredith Grey as she continued to battle the novel coronavirus.
Knight's character, George O’Malley, was the first of the five original interns to leave the show in 2009. George died in the season 5 finale after sacrificing himself to save a woman from being hit by a bus.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly at the time, Knight, 47, said he had a gradual “breakdown of communication” between himself and executive producer Shonda Rhimes.
"My five-year experience proved to me that I could not trust any answer that was given [about George]," he said. "And with respect, I’m going to leave it at that."
Despite the departure, Knight and Pompeo, 51, have remained close friends throughout the years. In March, the duo caught up and gave fans a glimpse of their friendship.
“Old friends are the BEST friends @t.r.knight,” she wrote on Instagram alongside the photo. “But like we aren’t old … we’ve just known each other for a very long time yes yes that’s it…”
Knight headed to Broadway after his time on Grey’s Anatomy, and is now starring in HBO Max's miniseries, The Flight Attendant.
During last week's episode, Meredith continued to go in and out of consciousness and found herself returning to the same beach dream sequence where she reunited with her late husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), who died in an April 2015 episode.
“Wonderful and completely surprising things are absolutely possible,” executive producers Andy Reaser and Meg Marinis told PEOPLE last month of cast returns.
Following the end of the show's season 17 premiere, showrunner Krista Vernoff spoke out about how the Grey's Anatomy team went to great lengths to keep Dempsey's surprise return under wraps.
"I have to say that it was an epic feat, the keeping of this secret," Vernoff recently told Deadline. "I didn’t send cuts to the studio and network that included that last scene. I didn’t have writers’ assistants in the writers’ room for the last couple of months. There were writers who didn’t know we were doing this on that staff. Most of the actors didn’t know we were doing this. The crew didn’t know we were doing this when they showed up on the day."
Vernoff explained that she even wrote the scene as Meredith envisioning a reunion with her mother Ellis Grey (played by Kate Burton) instead of Derek so no one in early stages of production would know.
"I put the name 'Ellis Grey' in the script that we read at the table, and I had Meredith say 'Mom' at the table, so we got there on the day and no one had been told what was happening," said Vernoff. "… I was like a crazy person with this secret. And Ellen and I were texting at all hours of the night, like: 'Who knows,' 'I think this person!' "
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.
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