SPOILER WARNING: Plot and ending details for Grey’s Anatomy follow

Grey Sloan Memorial just lost two of its top doctors. 

On the May 20th episode, doctors Tom Koracick and Jackson Avery joined the Catherine Fox Foundation in Boston.

This meant that Grey's Anatomy officially bid farewell to Jesse Williams and Greg Germann.

Williams, who starred as Avery, a recurring cast member in season 6became a member of the main cast in season 7. 

According to StyleCaster, Williams stepped away for new job opportunities. He is preparing for his Broadway debut in the revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out and is also starring in Amazon’s upcoming movie, Marked Man. 

Meanwhile, Germann, who joined the series as a recurring character in season 14, was promoted to a regular at the start of season 16.

Koracick’s exit comes in the wake of a tough battle with COVID. However, Germann is expected to reprise his role as a guest star in the future.

Stars Who've Left Grey’s Anatomy

Currently, in its 17th season, the medical drama is still going strong, but not all the doctors have stuck around. Only three of the show’s original stars, Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr., still save lives.

Justin Chambers, who starred as Alex Karev, was introduced in the series premiere as a surgical intern at Seattle Grace Hospital. For 16 seasons, audiences saw Karev rise to a resident and later become a pediatric surgical fellow.

Chambers wanted to diversify his acting roles and career choices and hence left the show. 

Canadian actress Sandra Oh quickly became a fan favorite playing Cristina Yang, who, like Chambers, premiered as a surgical intern and rose through the ranks to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.

In season 10, Oh’s character moved to Switzerland for a better career prospect. Oh, left the show as she felt that she had accomplished everything she wanted to with her character. 

But it was the departure of Patrick Dempsey, who starred as Dr. Derek Shepherd, that left fans devastated. After 11 seasons, Dempsey exited the show when his character was killed in a car crash. However, he returned briefly in a dream motif. 

Reasons for Cast Changes 

Over the years, the Grey’s Anatomy casts list has changed a lot. The series debuted in 2005, and with over 17 seasons, it is fair to assume, nobody stays forever. Even creator Shonda Rhimes left the show in 2017, and Krista Vernoff took over the reins. 

In an interview with Us Weekly, Vernoff revealed that fans didn't understand the reason for a character's departure. It was more often than not a behind-the-scenes issue. 

She admitted that she had been overwhelmed in the past while responding to the outcries of fans. 

There are stories you wish you could have told differently, but they were derailed by a behind-the-scenes issue. 

Vernoff then cited Katherine Heigl’s sudden exit during mid-season 6 as an example. She revealed that Heigl had been invited back for an episode that gave a proper conclusion for her character and Chamber’s relationship.

But a day before filming, the actress refused to come on set.

Another example would be when Isaiah Washington, who played Dr. Preston Burke, was fired in 2007 after using a homophobic slur during an on-set altercation with co-star Patrick Dempsey.

It seems a lot happens behind the scenes that fans are unaware of, causing constant changes in the cast list.