Isaiah Washington, absent from Grey's Anatomy since the end of season 3, made a controversial return to the ABC hit Thursday night, two episodes before the season will end with Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) exiting the show.
Killing off a main character in a television show is a risky move: You're upending the show's world (and putting a coworker out of a job) in the hope that the shake-up will lead to something greater down the line. And guess what? Despite the ministrations of fans, who claim that they will never watch their favorite show without [insert character name here], it often works!
Below, 13 shows that did the same thing The Good Wife did Sunday night, and not only survived, but thrived.
A former Grey’s Anatomy star makes a comeback in Blue Caprice, but even Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer can’t get The Family together. What to see and what to skip this weeked at the movies:
Laura Prepon has flown the coop.
Orange is the New Black, the Netflix original series that takes place in a women's prison, will lose one of its central characters, inmate Alex, played by Laura Prepon, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
While Prepon, 33, will no longer be a series regular, she still will return for season 2 in order to tie up any loose ends in her storyline. There also remains the possibility of a comeback in the future, says the trade publication.
"Our season is still developing and nothing is confirmed," a Netflix rep said in a statement. Season 2 of the series is currently in production.
She's hanging up her scrubs for good.
Next season will be the last for Grey's Anatomy star Sandra Oh, after what will be 10 seasons on the hit ABC medical drama.
"It's been a great privilege to play the character of Cristina Yang on GA, and I am both sad and excited to see where this, her final season will take her," Oh, 42, said in a statement, EW.com reports.
"It was an emotional and deeply creative decision for me and I feel fully supported by Shonda [Rhimes, the show's creator and executive producer,] and the writers," her statement continued.
Sara Ramirez has a lot to smile about these days.
"I have a very romantic outlook on life right now. I'm really happy and I'm focusing on the light and the love all around," the newlywed Grey's Anatomy star tells Latina in its December/January issue.
Ramirez, 37, tied the knot in a beachfront ceremony on Independence Day this year with business analyst Ryan Debolt.
"We had a very intimate ceremony with friends and family and there was so much love in that space, I can't even tell you," the actress says, reflecting on her special day.
The doctor is in ... love.
Grey's Anatomy hunk Jesse Williams, who plays brash surgeon Jackson Avery on the hit ABC drama, tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend, real estate broker Aryn Drake-Lee, in Los Angeles on Saturday, a source confirms to PEOPLE.
The couple exchanged vows in a romantic, elegant, evening ceremony in front of close family and friends.
"Jesse was beaming with joy throughout the entire ceremony," said a guest at the wedding. "It was the perfect night with lots of smiling, laughing and emotion. You could feel the love they have for each other. They're madly in love!"
Eric Dane is hanging up his scrubs.
The actor announced Thursday that he will not be returning to ABC's Grey's Anatomy, telling TVLine in a statement, "I am extremely grateful to everyone at Grey's, ABC and Shondaland for the experience and memories I have had over the course of this run. It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes."
The actor, who plays Dr. Mark Sloan (aka "McSteamy") on the drama, did not come to the decision to leave the show lightly, says show creator Rhimes.
The Avengers, move over.
Patrick Dempsey played a real-life action hero last week, when, using a crowbar, a fire extinguisher and quick timing, the Grey's Anatomy star pulled a teenage boy to safety after his car flipped over near Dempsey's Malibu, Calif., home.
"I was scared for my life. I was upside down," driver Weston Masset, 17, told ABC News after he lost control of his Mustang, which rolled over three times, trapping and leaving him barely conscious. (Watch the interview here.)
After rescuing Masset, Dempsey, a father himself, called paramedics and stayed by the teen's side along with his wife Jillian and three neighbors as Masset was airlifted to the hospital. He was treated for a concussion and an eye injury and is expected to make a full recovery.