Grey’s Anatomy season 19 is set to be released on Netflix on Saturday, June 17, and in this season, we, unfortunately, see the exit of fan-favorite character Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). But you most likely saw this character’s departure coming if you faithfully watch the popular medical drama series. We discuss how Meredith leaves the show and why the actress behind the iconic character decided to exit below.
While Grey’s Anatomy follows the personal and professional lives of a group of doctors at the fictional Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, the show has been led by main character Meredith Grey since the very first season. She started as an intern, became a surgical resident, then became an attending surgeon before finally taking over as Chief of General Surgery from Bailey in the season 18 finale.
But she had been considering leaving Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for a fresh start in Minnesota before accepting the Chief of General Surgery position. Although she ultimately decides to stay in Seattle at the end of the eighteenth season, something happens in Grey’s Anatomy season 19 that makes Meredith rethink her decision. So, how does Meredith Grey leave in the nineteenth season, and in what episode?
Spoilers from Grey’s Anatomy season 19 ahead!
What episode of Grey’s Anatomy season 19 does Meredith leave?
If you want to skip over all of the other episodes of Grey’s Anatomy season 19 to the episode where Meredith leaves, you need to cut to episode 7, titled “I’ll Follow the Sun.” But overall, she appears in eight episodes of the season, with the season 19 finale being the last time we’ll see her on the show in a while.
What happens in Grey’s Anatomy season 19 episode 7? (How did Meredith leave?)
Basically, Meredith decides to leave Seattle behind to move to Boston with her three kids, Zola, Derek, and Ellis, after she finds a good STEM school for a highly intelligent Zola to attend and after she accepts a new job opportunity working with former colleague Jackson Avery on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
It all begins when Zola starts having panic attacks at school. Meredith soon realizes that Zola is having difficulty at school because she’s exceptionally gifted. So, she travels to Boston to find an appropriate school for her.
While there, Meredith also meets with Jackson and she expresses her desire to cure Alzheimer’s. Jackson tells Meredith that there are all kinds of resources for her in Boston if she comes to work with him at his hospital. But although this seems like a great opportunity, Meredith doesn’t say yes right away. It’s not until Meredith finds out that Zola loves the STEM school in Boston that she decides to accept the job offer and make the big move.
Meredith does her last surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital and, unfortunately, loses her patient. Her patient was an author. However, the patient leaves behind a thumb drive with her last draft on it, so Meredith makes it her mission to get her patient’s last work published when she moves to Boston.
Later, a surprise goodbye party is thrown for Meredith where she says her goodbyes to everyone except Nick, who is noticeably absent. Remember, their relationship had been rocky after Meredith told Nick that she loved him earlier in the season but he didn’t say it back.
Then, Meredith heads to the airport, gets on a plane with her kids, and travels to Boston. Nick calls Meredith while she’s on the plane and tells her he loves her, but Meredith tells him that she can’t hear him clearly and promises to call him back once they land in Boston. This leaves the fate of their relationship up in the air.
Why did Ellen Pompeo leave Grey’s Anatomy?
Ellen Pompeo appeared on The Drew Barrymore Show back in December 2022 and shared why she decided to exit the medical drama series after 19 seasons.
Here’s what Ellen said about departing Grey’s Anatomy.
"“I feel super happy, but listen, the show has been incredible to me and I’ve loved a lot of the experience. Listen, it’s just, I gotta mix it up a little bit. I’m 53. My brain is like scrambled eggs. I gotta do something new or I’m literally gonna turn into like, you can’t do the New York Times crossword puzzle every single day. I mean, 19 years, that’s more than people keep their kids in their house, like people keep their kids in their house until they’re 18 and then they send them off to college. So this is like me like going away to college.”‘“I have a lot that I’m doing. I have three kids and so I take care of them, and it’s really important for me to be around for them and be more present for them. I’m gonna do a limited series for Hulu in the spring, which is a very cool, kind of crazy true story.”"
Don’t worry, though. Ellen said in an Instagram post that she’ll “definitely be back to visit.” So, we haven’t seen the last of Meredith Grey. And although we won’t see Meredith make an appearance on the show in a while, we’ll still hear her voice since she will continue narrating the show.
Grey’s Anatomy season 19 lands on Netflix on June 17.