It's the end of an era for Grey's Anatomy as we bid farewell to Dr. Cristina Yang at 8 p.m. today on ABC.
Yang, played by Sandra Oh, is the latest main character to leave (or be killed off) on the series that debuted as a midseason replacement in 2005.
Others who have come and gone include Eric Dane (Dr. Mark Sloan) and Chyler Leigh (Dr. Lexie Grey) whose characters died as a result of a plane crash; Kim Raver's Dr. Teddy Altman was written out at the end of Season 8; original star T.R. Knight's George O'Malley was hit by a bus in 2009; and Katherine Heigl (Dr. Izzie Stevens) left in 2010 to pursue a film career.
(Heigl returns to network TV this fall in the NBC political drama State of Affairs.)
Isaiah Washington, who played Dr. Preston Burke, was fired in 2007, but returned at the end of this season to help wrap up Cristina's story line.
Series creator Shonda Rhimes says, "Cristina's departure is both heartbreaking but also completely fitting for the character -- and I hope for fans as well."
I've been a guilty-pleasure fan of the hospital soap opera from the beginning and got to interview the cast on the set during a TV critics press tour. Oh was fielding questions in the hospital's locker room with co-star Ellen Pompeo. The show was a hit, and the driven and prickly Cristina was one of the reasons why.
Here's part of what I wrote about the visit in The TV Column on July 20, 2006.
"It was a fascinating dabble into TV make believe. We were able to just wander around 'Seattle Grace Hospital' and visit with cast members in each room. After five minutes I forgot I wasn't in a real hospital.
"It was the second day of production on the new season, so many of the cast were still in their scrubs -- outfits, I've learned, that are tailored to fit the cast and not just hang there like Hefty bags.
"Impressions: Everyone looks younger up close and personal, especially T.R. Knight, who plays George. He was hanging out at the admissions desk with Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres). He's 33 but looks no older than 21.
"Ellen Pompeo (Meredith) is 5-foot-7, but also a mere slip of a thing -- all knees and elbows, sleepy blue-gray eyes and freckles on her nose.
"Are you a Pompeo fan? Have you written her a letter? Chances are she didn't get to read it.
"'I don't see the fan mail,' Pompeo said. 'ABC does something with it. I don't know. They [ABC] keep asking me to come back to work every day, so I'm assuming that somebody likes the show.'
"It was Sandra Oh's (Cristina) 35th birthday and the Korean-Canadian looked as if she enjoyed it even though surrounded by a half dozen arms holding mini tape recorders under her nose.
"There were birthday cupcakes in her honor."
Well, Oh is 42 these days and after 10 seasons, she feels it's finally time to check out of the hospital, now known as Grey Sloan Memorial.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Oh says, "Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go. It's such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well."
As much as the series has been about the romance and marriage of Meredith and Derek (Patrick Dempsey), it's been about the friendship and bonding between Meredith and Cristina. Series fans are going to miss that dynamic.
• Big Bang Theory. Season 7 ends at 7 p.m. today on CBS with "big moves and cliffhangers," including Leonard and Penny discussing living together without Sheldon.
• Elementary. Season 2 wraps up at 9 p.m. today on CBS with Joan re-evaluating her partnership with Sherlock.
• The Vampire Diaries folds Season 5 at 7 p.m. today; Reign ends its first season at 8 on The CW.
Note: The CW has cancelled The Carrie Diaries, Star-Crossed and The Tomorrow People.
• Grimm. Season 3 ends at 8 p.m. Friday on NBC with what promises to be "the biggest episode ever shot."
• It's magic. The Carbonaro Effect, featuring comic-magician Michael Carbonaro's tricks and pranks, debuts on truTV at 9 p.m. today.
• Walters' farewell. Barbara Walters says goodbye to daily TV with her final appearance as co-host of ABC's The View at 10 a.m. Friday.
The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:
Weekend on 05/15/2014
Print Headline: Sandra Oh bids adieu to cast of Grey’s Anatomy