Another one bites the dust: Ellen Pompeo is leaving her iconic role as Dr. Meredith Grey on ABC’s hit TV drama Grey’s Anatomy after an epic 19-season run. The character—known for popularizing the expression “you’re my person” and being “dark and twisty” (a code for depressed)—made an indelible mark on television, helping to catapult show creator Shonda Rhimes into TV infamy.
“I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons! Through it all….none of it …would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!!” Pompeo posted to Instagram on Thursday afternoon. “I love you madly and appreciate you right back. This isn’t your first time on the rollercoaster… you know the show must go on and I’ll definitely be back to visit. With a lot of love and immense gratitude XoE.”
Pompeo has appeared in more than 400 episodes of the hit show, but some of her most iconic moments came almost a decade ago. Who can forget Meredith falling (jumping...) into Elliott Bay and kinda deciding that maybe she didn’t want to be alive? Remember when McDreamy died, and Meredith just peaced out for six months?? The goddamn hospital shooter whom Meredith begged to shoot her instead of McDreamy? Kyle Chandler’s bomb squad appearance?! Remember when Ellis Grey was brought into her hospital ranting and raving because of her severe dementia, and Meredith froze? WHO CAN FORGET THE FUCKING PLANE CRASH THAT KILLED HER SISTER??
Pompeo’s Meredith Grey gave network television the best Twisted Sister we could ever have hoped for. I’m relieved they’re not killing off the character (at least according to the episode teaser), but it’s certainly the end of an era. Now, there are really only two OGs left in the cast: Chandra Wilson’s Dr. Miranda Bailey and James Pickens Jr.’s Dr. Richard Webber. But they were always teachers—the show was at its best when it was following residents and young doctors making their way through the toughest years of the medical profession.
I once attended a talk with Rhimes at Vulture Fest in May 2016, where Rhimes said that she and Pompeo had a deal: If one of them wanted to walk away, so would the other. As I mourn the ending of Meredith Grey, I’m also left prematurely mourning a show that I’ve watched for a full two-thirds of my life. You could say I might be a little dark and twisty for a while.