- Only a handful of the characters set to appear in the next season of “Grey’s Anatomy” have been there since the beginning.
- Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo) has experienced a lot of changes in her career since she first walked into Seattle Grace Hospital.
- Warning: There are spoilers for “Grey’s Anatomy” ahead.
There have been 15 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy,” but not every character from episode one has made it through to now.
The show’s original intern class has only two characters left on the show, and only four of the pilot characters are set to appear in season 16.
There have been tragic character deaths, devastating departures, exciting spin-offs, and more that’s pulled people away from the series over the years.
Here’s how the cast has changed from their first season to their most recent.
Meredith Grey went from an inexperienced intern to the head of general surgery, but she was fired at the end of season 15 for committing insurance fraud.
First seen: Season one, episode one. Her first scene was waking up after a one night stand with Derek, unaware that he was actually her boss.
Last seen: Set to return as a series regular in season 16, Meredith Grey’s fate is up in the air after being fired from the hospital for committing insurance fraud and allowing her boyfriend, Andrew DeLuca, to take the fall.
Cristina Yang left Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital to work in Switzerland.
First seen: Season one, episode one. Yang started as a dedicated intern, determined to outshine her peers.
Last seen: Season 10, episode 24. In the finale of season 10, Cristina Yang left Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for the Klausman Institute for Medical Research in Zurich, Switzerland. Meredith and Cristina danced it out one last time before she departed.
Bonus: A woman was seen holding Meredith’s hand during Derek’s funeral in season 11. Although it was hard to tell, Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt) told TVLine it was Cristina Yang.
Izzie Stevens left Seattle, and Alex Karev, behind after being fired from the hospital.
First seen: Season one, episode one. After growing up in a trailer park with her mother, Izzie Stevens went on to pay for medical school by modelling. She enters “Grey’s Anatomy” as an intern alongside Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Alex Karev, and George O’Malley.
Last seen: Season six, episode 12. Stevens was fired by Richard Webber during the merger between Seattle Grace and Mercy West. She left her life in Seattle behind after being told to leave by Alex Karev.
Alex Karev’s fate is up in the air after being fired from the hospital in the final episode of season 15.
First seen: Season one, episode one. Karev was one of the original interns and a well-known flirt.
Last seen: Karev will return as a series regular in season 16. At the end of season 15, he was fired alongside Richard Webber and Meredith Grey for attempting to cover up Meredith’s insurance fraud. In the final episode, Karev also learned the truth behind his wife Jo’s depression.
George O’Malley died a tragic death.
First seen: Season one, episode one. He appeared as a kind-hearted intern who eventually performed his first solo surgery in an elevator.
Last seen: Season five, episode 24. O’Malley died after jumping in front of a bus to save a woman’s life. No one knew O’Malley was the patient until he traced “007” on Meredith’s hand.
Bonus: He made a brief appearance in a Dia de los Muertos-inspired episode during season 15.
Miranda Bailey went from surgical resident to chief of surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
First seen: Season one, episode one. Dr. Miranda Bailey is responsible for taking the new class of interns under her wing.
Last seen: Bailey will return as a series regular on season 16. In the final episode of season 15, she fired Webber, Grey, and Karev.
Dr. Richard Webber has gone from being chief of surgery to being fired from the hospital.
First seen: Season one, episode one. Dr. Richard Webber is the chief of surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital.
Last seen: Webber remains a series regular, but he’s heading into season 16 without a job after being fired by Dr. Bailey for attempting to help cover up Meredith Grey’s insurance fraud.
Preston Burke made a guest appearance years after his original departure.
First seen: Season one, episode one. He was the head of cardio when Meredith Grey and the rest of her intern class started at Seattle Grace Hospital.
Last seen: Season 10, episode 22. Although Isaiah Washington left the show at the end of season three, his character made another appearance in season 10 when he asked Dr. Cristina Yang to take over his research hospital in Switzerland.
Dr. Derek Shepherd died after a tragic car accident.
First seen: Season one, episode one. Dr. Shepherd had a one night stand with Meredith Grey after meeting her in Joe’s Bar. It was later revealed that he would be her boss.
Last seen: Season 11, episode 25. Derek is hit by a truck after stopping to help car crash victims on his way to the airport. His final scene is a flashback of him leaving Meredith a sweet voicemail.
Bonus: Derek made a brief appearance as Meredith Grey walked down the hospital halls during a Dia de los Muertos-inspired episode in season 15.
Dr. Addison Montgomery (formerly Montgomery-Shepherd) left for her own spinoff called “Private Practice.”
First seen: Season one, episode nine. Dr. Montgomery-Sheperd visited Seattle Grace where it was revealed that she was still married to Derek.
Last seen: Season eight, episode 13. Addison appeared in Meredith Grey’s dream of an alternate reality.
Dr. Mark Sloan was one of the victims of the devastating plane crash.
First seen: Season two, episode 18. Dr. Mark Sloan visited Seattle Grace Hospital in an effort to bring Addison back to New York. Dr. Sloan eventually stayed in Seattle and became the head of plastic surgery.
Last seen: Season nine, episode two. Mark Sloan was one of the doctors killed in a plane crash, along with the love of his life Lexie Grey.
Dr. Callie Torres moved on to New York.
First seen: Season two, episode 19. Callie Torres was an orthopaedic surgery resident who was first introduced after helping George O’Malley with a dislocated shoulder.
Last seen: Season 12, episode 24. Dr. Arizona Robbins allowed Torres to take their daughter Sofia and move to New York City.
Dr. Ellis Grey made a guest appearance during the show’s 500th episode.
First seen: Season one, episode one. Dr. Ellis Grey was introduced as Meredith’s mother and a Harper Avery Award-winning doctor. Ellis was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home.
Last seen: Season 14, episode seven. Dr. Meredith Grey has a vision of her mother clapping after she wins her own Harper Avery Award.
Adele Webber died with her husband, Dr. Richard Webber, by her side.
First seen: Season two, episode two. Adele Webber is the wife of Dr. Richard Webber, who was the current chief of surgery at Seattle Grace Hosptial.
Last seen: Season nine, episode 10. Adele Webber died of a heart attack after a battle with Alzheimer’s.
Although he died, Denny Duquette appeared to other characters in their dreams or visions.
First seen: Season two, episode 13. Denny Duquette was a long-time patient of Dr. Preston Burke. He flirted with Izzie Stevens after showing up to Seattle Grace Hospital for a potential heart transplant.
Last seen: Season five, episode 23. Denny Duquette died in the final episode of the second season. However, his last appearance on the show was when he appeared to Izzie Stevens in a dream.
Dr. Erica Hahn left abruptly after a messy split with Callie Torres.
First seen: Season two, episode 25. Dr. Erica Hahn was fighting for a donor heart for a patient at the same time Dr. Preston Burke showed up to receive the organ for Denny Duquette.
Last seen: Season five, episode seven. Dr. Hahn decided that working alongside her ex-girlfriend Callie Torres was too much for her.
Lexie Grey suffered a terrible death in the plane crash.
First seen: Season three, episode 24. In her earliest appearance, Lexie Grey hits on Derek Shepherd in Joe’s Bar, unaware that he was her half-sister Meredith’s great love. She quickly befriends George O’Malley during his last year as an intern.
Last seen: Season eight, episode 24. Lexie Grey died after suffering traumatic injuries from a plane crash. She died holding on to Mark Sloan’s hand as he talked about their future.
Owen Hunt now has the family he’s always wanted.
First seen: Season five, episode one. Owen Hunt was an Army trauma surgeon before he joined the staff at Seattle Grace Hospital. Viewers were first introduced to his character when he performed an emergency tracheotomy with a pen.
Last seen: Owen Hunt will return as a series regular in season 16. At the end of the previous season, he welcomed a child with Teddy Altman.
Dr. Arizona Robbins left Seattle behind to be with her daughter in New York.
First seen: Season five, episode 11. Dr. Arizona Robbins started off as a surgical fellow working for Seattle Grace’s pediatric surgery department. She was promoted to the head of the department after Dr. Jordan Kenley died of a heart attack.
Last seen: Season 14, episode 24. Following a number of failed romances, Dr. Robbins left Seattle and moved to New York to make her daughter Sofia happy.
Once again, Teddy Altman finds herself caught in a tricky romance with Owen Hunt.
First seen: Season six, episode nine. Dr. Teddy Altman worked closely with Owen hunt during their time in the Army. Hunt convinced Altman to come to Seattle, where she became the new attending cardiothoracic surgeon.
Last seen: Teddy Altman left Seattle to work in Germany for a brief period of time. She will return as a series regular in season 16. At the end of the previous season, she welcomed a child with Owen Hunt.
April Kepner found herself caught up in a difficult love triangle before leaving Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital to help the underprivileged in need of medical care.
First seen: Season six, episode five. April Kepner was among the new group of interns who were welcomed to Seattle Grace when the hospital merged with Mercy West.
Last seen: Season 14, episode 24. Kepner found herself caught up in a love triangle between Dr. Jackson Avery and paramedic Matthew Taylor. In the end, she married Matthew in a spur-of-the-moment ceremony.
Stephanie Edwards left medicine behind to explore the world after suffering severe burns during a fire at the hospital.
First seen: Season nine, episode one. Stephanie Edwards started as an intern shortly after the plane crash that claimed the lives of Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey.
Last seen: Season 13, episode 24. Edwards suffered severe burns after a fire in the hospital. During her final appearance, she thanked Dr. Richard Webber for teaching her but told him it was time for her to move on and see more than the inside of a hospital.
Still a series regular, Jackson Avery was last seen disappearing into a thick fog.
First seen: Season six, episode five. Jackson Avery joined the staff at Seattle Grace Hospital following the merger with Mercy West.
Last seen: Avery will return as a series regular in season 16. The season 15 cliffhanger saw Jackson disappearing into the thick fog covering Seattle.
Ben Warren was an attending anesthesiologist before switching to a career in surgery, and later trading it all in to be a firefighter.
First seen: Season six, episode 13. Ben Warren started off as an anesthesiologist.
Last seen: Jason Winston George left “Grey’s Anatomy” for its spinoff “Station 19,” but his character Ben Warren still makes appearances at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
Amelia Shepherd’s difficult past has come back to haunt her throughout her time in Seattle.
First seen: Amelia Shepherd was on “Private Practice” before becoming a recurring character on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She first appeared in episode three of season seven after running away from her fiancé James.
Last seen: Amelia Shepherd will return as a series regular in season 16. She’s left her life with Owen Hunt behind but admits she still needs time to sort things out before diving into anything serious with the new head of orthopaedic surgery, Link.
Jo Wilson finally married Alex Karev but she now finds herself battling depression after finding out the truth about her past.
First seen: Season nine, episode one. Jo Wilson started as an intern alongside Stephanie Edwards shortly after the plane crash.
Last seen: Expected to return as a series regular in season 16, Jo Karev (formerly Wilson) will continue to cope with her difficult past. She was last seen seeking out professional help for her depression, which was triggered by the discovery that her birth mother, who abandoned her, was sexually assaulted.
As a boss of the hospital and a friend of the staff members, Catherine Fox (formerly Avery) is constantly being placed in the middle of sticky situations.
First seen: Season eight, episode five. Catherine Avery first came to Seattle to perform a penile transplant. She is also the head of the Harper Avery Foundation.
Last seen: Catherine Fox (formerly Avery) is still a recurring character on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She is now living with cancer and was last seen standing alongside Dr. Bailey as she fired Meredith Grey, Alex Karev, and Richard Webber in the final episode of season 15.
Maggie Pierce has found herself in a number of tricky relationships since arriving at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
First seen: Season 10, episode 24. Dr. Maggie Pierce was brought on as the new head of cardiothoracic surgery. It is later revealed that she is the child of Richard Webber and Ellis Grey.
Last seen: Dr. Maggie Pierce will return in season 16. She is last seen sitting in the car as Jackson Avery disappears into the fog covering Seattle.
Andrew DeLuca has gone from being a bumbling intern to a skilled surgical resident in a romantic relationship with Meredith Grey.
First seen: Season 11, episode 24. DeLuca came across a tunnel collapse on his way to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for the first day of his internship. He was mistaken for an attending after arriving in an ambulance with one of the patients.
Last seen: DeLuca’s love for Meredith Grey may have left his future hanging in the balance. He was last seen taking the fall for her after she committed insurance fraud in an effort to help a patient. DeLuca is now in jail and risks losing his medical licence.
Dr. Nathan Riggs got off to a shaky start when he arrived in Seattle.
First seen: Season 12, episode 6. April Kepner brought Nathan Riggs to Seattle to assist with a patient after meeting him in Jordan. Owen Hunt is not happy when he discovers Riggs is at his hospital.
Last seen: Season 14, episode 5. Shortly after starting a relationship with Meredith Grey, Riggs is reunited with his long-lost love Megan, who is also Owen Hunt’s sister. The two ended up moving to Malibu with Megan’s son, Farouk.
Despite being a newer member of the staff, Tom Koracick has already made quite the impression at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
First seen: Season 14, episode 3. Amelia Shepherd brings in her former mentor, Dr. Koracick, to operate on her after discovering that she has a brain tumour.
Last seen: Dr. Koracick will return in season 16 as part of the main cast. He was last seen building a crib for Teddy Altman and Owen Hunt’s baby.
- Read more:
- THEN AND NOW: The original cast of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
- 22 shows to watch if you’re already caught up on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
- 17 notable ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ character deaths, ranked from least to most tragic
- 7 of the most devastating breakups on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
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