Ellen Pompeo
Source: Getty Images

After 17 Years It Looks Like Ellen Pompeo Could Be Leaving 'Grey's Anatomy'

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Apr. 8 2022, Published 3:44 p.m. ET

Actress Ellen Pompeo, who plays the titular Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy, has played this part since 2005. There have been plenty of near-death experiences for Meredith that would give Ellen a way out, but she always manages to bounce back.

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However, the show recently took Meredith in a direction that might finally give Ellen an exit strategy. Is Ellen Pompeo leaving Grey's Anatomy and would we have to start calling it simply Anatomy?

Ellen Pompeo on 'Grey's Anatomy'
Source: ABC

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey

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Is Ellen Pompeo leaving 'Grey's Anatomy'?

It looks like Ellen Pompeo is sticking around Grey's Anatomy for at least one more season. In January 2022, TV Line reported that ABC announced Ellen and showrunner Krista Vernoff "inked new deals with studio ABC Signature, clearing the way for the long-running medical drama to carry on for at least one more season."

Prior to solidifying her contract for another year, fans were convinced Season 18 would be Ellen's last. In an interview with Insider, Ellen revealed she's been "trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end." This sentiment didn't seem to come from a lack of interest in the show or her character but rather a legitimate question regarding what more they could possibly do at this point. Everyone's response: "Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars."

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Behind the scenes of 'Grey's Anatomy'
Source: ABC

(L-R) Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman), Jordan Wright (Greg Tarzan Davis), Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo)

TV Line also noted that despite being on air for almost two decades, the show remains incredibly popular, which could make it hard to walk away from. Also, series creator Shonda Rhimes is not quite done telling Meredith's story. "I couldn’t be more excited that we get to keep telling the stories of Meredith, Bailey, Richard, and all of the other doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial for another season," she said.

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OK, but is Meredith moving to Minnesota?

While Ellen Pompeo is sticking around Grey's Anatomy, her character might be leaving Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for a new job in Minnesota. Season 18 brought Meredith to Minneapolis, where she is heading up The Grey Center. She was initially brought in by Dr. David Hamilton (Peter Gallagher), who tasked Meredith and her team with finding a cure for Parkinson's. Gosh, that sounds pretty easy.

Groundbreaking surgery based on incredible research was performed on David, and it looks like he may have been cured. If not completely cured, his symptoms have certainly become manageable. This led David to ask Meredith if she would like to work for him permanently. He then handed her what we assume is an upsettingly enormous check.

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Meredith Grey gets a big fat check
Source: ABC

(L-R) Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman), David Hamilton (Peter Gallagher)

Of course, work isn't the only thing that brings Meredith to Minnesota. She is also dating Dr. Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman), whom she met during Season 14 when he was in Seattle picking up an organ, as you do. Nick is a transplant surgeon and while he was at Grey Sloan, he collapsed due to his own complications from a kidney transplant.

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In what can only be described as some real Florence Nightingale s--t, Meredith saved Nick's life. The heavy flirting didn't go anywhere, but their connection was rekindled when Meredith and Nick ran into each other at the hospital in Minnesota where he works.

In Episode 15, "Put It to The Test," Grey Sloan Memorial's residency program is being evaluated. As with all things Grey's, there is always a larger overarching theme. In this case, while the program is being dissected, Meredith is looking at her own life and what she really wants.

When Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) finds out Meredith was offered a job, she loses it on Meredith and even brings Derek into the freakout. There were a lot of low blows.

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What comes out in the confrontation between them is the idea that Meredith was taught at Grey Sloan and went through their residency program, so she will never be thought of as more than a resident. Her decision to take the job in Minnesota is born from a desire to start over and be seen as the brilliant doctor she is now, not the resident who once slept with her boss in his car.

Yes, Miranda really went there. For now, it looks like Meredith could be leaving Seattle.

Grey's Anatomy returns with an all-new episode Thursday, May 5 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.

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