Meredith Grey is saying goodbye — for now.
“Grey’s Anatomy” will be off for a three-month break, returning Thursday, Feb. 23 to kick start the second half of season 19, and when it does, the doctors at Grey Sloan will be seeing off Meredith (and Ellen Pompeo) as she relocates to Boston for her new job at the Catherine Fox Foundation and to enroll her daughter, Zola, at an academy for gifted children.
In the new promo for the winter premiere, released Thursday evening after the fall finale, a glowing Meredith walks the halls of Grey Sloan on her last day as she prepares to leave Seattle behind.
“It’s been a lot,” Meredith says, as it flashes back to the devastating fire that tore through the home she once shared with her late husband, Derek. “A fire. Moving.”
Of course, she gets a send-off worthy of her legacy, even though Meredith herself comments that the surprise send-off — while “very thoughtful” — is “ridiculous.” But Owen (Kevin McKidd), Teddy (Kim Raver), Webber (James Pickens Jr.), Maggie (Kelly McCreary) and others want her to have her moment to shine. She’s earned it, after all.
“For god’s sakes Grey, will you just let us toast you?” Owen says, offering her a glass of champagne.
Though Meredith is moving away from the Pacific Northwest and beginning a new chapter on the East Coast, this won’t be the last time viewers will see the character.
While Pompeo appears in eight episodes this season, the winter premiere marks her seventh appearance, meaning the actress and executive producer will return to “Grey”s at least one more time before season 19 is over. As previously reported, she’ll continue on as an executive producer and provide narration for all remaining episodes this season, and the door remains open for her character to visit the docs at Grey Sloan in Seattle in the future. If season 20 is greenlit, however, it is unclear in what capacity Pompeo will be involved, both off or on screen.
Back in September, Pompeo opened up to ET about her decision to step away from “Grey”s and take on a new Hulu drama about orphans.
“It’s still ‘Grey”s, she’s still there in spirit and that’s the house that Grey built, so she’s always there,” Pompeo said at the time. “She just has to step away for a little bit to do a Hulu show. It’s a great company to work for and I’m really, really lucky that they’ve given me the opportunity to do both, and so I had to take it.”
A few months earlier, Pompeo hinted at a “Grey”s reinvention as she looked ahead to her future, possibly beyond the show.
“Trying to reinvent the show and continually trying to reinvent the show is the challenge at this point, and listen, the show speaks to a lot of people, and the young people love the show,” she told ET in May. “It’s inspired so many generations of healthcare workers, so, I think for the young people, it’s a really good piece of content and we’re going to try to keep it going for the young people, not necessarily with me, but keep it going beyond me.”
“Grey’s Anatomy” returns Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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