Despite Emotional Send-Off, Ellen Pompeo Returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 21 for at Least 7 Episodes

Ellen Pompeo will be in the upcoming season of “Grey’s Anatomy” more than fans might have imagined.

Pompeo will appear on at least seven of the upcoming season’s 18 episodes, Variety has confirmed. The news comes after her character Meredith Grey was given an emotional send-off in Season 19, and despite appearing in 10 episodes in Season 20, her presence in future episodes was uncertain.

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Variety‘s Kate Aurthur paid tribute to both Meredith and Pompeo in a story written about the send-off episode.

“Ellen Pompeo could forge chemistry with anyone,” she wrote. “Along with its lexicon-changing writing and intricate yet rowdy plotting by Shonda Rhimes, what’s made ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ a phenomenon was watching Meredith just live her life. She was a character network television never seen before: a brilliant woman whose life had been marred by tragedy (an Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother, an entirely absent father), yet who wasn’t going to let her dark and twisty past get in her way. Meredith had a lot of fun; she saved a lot of lives; she had a lot of sex.”

Pompeo also spoke as part of last year’s “Actors on Actors” series about Meredith’s lack of a stable love life.

“When you stay on a show and with a character that long…for me, I really need to make sense of things and I really need to see evolution and growth,” Pompeo said. “And with network television specifically, there has to be some consistency for the audience. The audience wants familiarity. The writers get stuck in the consistency of something, and it’s harder, which I always would argue against and say, ‘We have such an incredible fan base. They’re so loyal. They’ll literally come along with us no matter what we do.’ I think it’s okay for Meredith to stop making bad decisions.”

Deadline first reported the news.

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