Washington was fired from the series in 2007 following a brawl with his fellow cast members, in which he strangled Patrick Dempsey and called co-star T.R. Knight a "faggot."
Over the past couple years, several outlets (including Gawker) have chronicled Washington's Hollywood rehabilitation, as he's recently landed a few lead roles in small film projects, and a principal casting in The CW's upcoming ensemble series, The 100, premiering in March. Last year, Washington starred as "Beltway sniper" John Allen Muhammad in the indie, true-to-headlines drama Blue Caprice, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013. Later this year, he'll star alongside Mo'Nique in director Patrik-Ian Polk's fifth feature film, Blackbird, about a high school choir boy's struggling with his sexuality, family, and faith.
Grey's wonder woman showrunner Shonda Rhimes was notoriously hesitant to fire Washington back in 2007, even after the violent hostilities on set. Addressing Washington's imminent return to the show on Thursday, she stressed that Washington's character, Preston Burke, is vital to the resolution of departing mainstay Cristina Yang's storyline.
Actor T.R. Knight, who came out as gay following his altercation with Washington, left Grey's Anatomy in 2009. Patrick Dempsey is still a principal member of the show's cast.