First pictures of Isaiah Washington's return to Grey's Anatomy

Cardio surgeon Preston Burke will return to the hospital drama as his jilted fiancé Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) bids farewell this season

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First pictures of Isaiah Washington's return to Grey's Anatomy
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It's been seven years since Preston Burke strolled the corridors of the Grey Sloan Memorial hospital (back then it was called Seattle Grace). In the intervening years there have been shootings, plane crashes and a near-death experience for just about every doctor who passes through those doors. Why he'd want to put his life in such peril by returning is beyond us, but as we ready ourselves for Cristina Yang's departure (sob) Burke is set to make a one-episode appearance to "give her story that full circle moment", according to showrunner Shonda Rhimes. 

With her departure date inching ever closer, Washington has been on the Grey's Anatomy set filming his scenes and tweeting out photos to tease his fans. 

His return to the drama may come as a surprise to some, given the circumstances of his abrupt departure back in 2007 when he he allegedly used a gay slur against co-star TR Knight during an argument with Patrick Dempsey.

But it looks like he's been given a friendly welcome back on set with one of the show's stars, Ellen Pompeo (who plays Meredith Grey), sharing a picture of her and Washington on her Instagram account: 

Rhimes is yet to announce details of exactly how Burke will reappear in the storyline, but given the dramatic nature of his departure - leaving his wife-to-be Cristina at the altar - we imagine plenty of fireworks will ensue...