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Isaiah Washington back to 'Grey's Anatomy' -- for one episode

Isaiah Washington, who played Dr. Preston Burke on

Isaiah Washington, who played Dr. Preston Burke on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," caught bad publicity in 2007 after a homophobic slur against co-star T.R. Knight. Washington's meltdown cost him his role on the show. Credit: Getty Images

Isaiah Washington, one of the core actors on one of the core ABC series of the past decade -- "Grey's Anatomy" -- is returning to the show he was fired from. For one episode only. (Yes, a sweeps episode, to air in May.)

A surprise? A largish one certainly, given his exit -- a particularly ugly one.  Per a statement, first reported in EW, show creator 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.”

Yang, of course, is played by Sandra Oh, and Burke was Preston Burke, her lover. Oh is leaving at the end of this season.

The backstory, which you kinda must remember: He used a homophobic slur against T.R. Knight, reported someplace (probably TMZ). There was a huge fuss, and Knight -- who played Dr. George O'Malley -- subsequently came out; then, at a Golden Globes press conference, Washington denied he ever used the slur, then promptly used the slur ...

And that was that. A strange, sad end for a talented actor who has struggled to find work ever since.  

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