Dr. Preston Burke

This Thursday, Isaiah Washington will return to reprise his original role as surgeon Dr. Preston Burke on ABC's Shonda Rhimes medical drama Grey's Anatomy, 7 years after he was dropped from the show, after on-set controversies involving his Grey's co-stars T.R. Knight and Patrick Dempsey.

It's not a permanent return, however. Washinton will be guest-starring as his former character in an episode of the drama series. His return comes timed as the show preps to say goodbye to Sandra Oh's character, Cristina, who was engaged to marry Washington's Burke, prior to his exit.

Fans of the series will remember that, in Dr. Burke's final episode, he was a no-show for his wedding to Cristina. 

In a statement about Washington's return, showrunner Shonda Rhimes said:

"It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should. Burke is vital to that journey - he gives her story that full-circle moment we need to properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang.” 

Surely that episode will likely be a ratings hit for ABC when it airs this Thursday.

Ahead of that broadcast, watch a preview of the episode, plus a clip below: