T.R. Knight as Dr. George O’Malley
T.R. Knight played another intern at the start of Grey’s Anatomy, George O’Malley. Just like the rest of the original characters, he quickly became beloved by viewers and we were invested in his storyline right off the bat. His awkwardness and kind heart made him easy to root for and fans always loved his friendship with Meredith Grey. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to the character when he was killed after a bus accident.
The Emmy nominee decided to leave the show after the fifth season, citing dissatisfaction with his character’s storyline. He explained Entertainment Weekly: “There are a lot of people who would like to be in my position. But in the end, I need to be fulfilled in my work.” There were also reports of tension on set, particularly with actor Isaiah Washington who was fired for using homophobic slurs against Knight.
Knight briefly returned to Grey’s Anatomy for season 17.
Isaiah Washington as Dr. Preston Burke
As mentioned, actor Isaiah Washington was fired from Grey’s Anatomy in 2007 for using homophobic slurs on multiple occasions. Fans of the show were incredibly disheartened to hear of his behavior, especially considering the fact that Dr. Preston Burke had been a staple of the show. He was first introduced in the second season and memorably formed a romantic relationship with Dr. Cristina Yang.
Grey‘s was able to write off Preston Burke by having him leave Seattle after his and Cristina’s failed wedding.
Washington apologized for his homophobic behavior after being axed from the medical drama, in part saying: “I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I’ve asked for help.”