Grey’s Anatomy will be saying goodbye to Jesse Williams and his character, Dr. Jackson Avery, according to Variety. Williams is slated to make his final appearance on ABC’s long-running hospital drama on May 20, in an episode titled “Tradition.”
Williams has played Dr. Jackson Avery for twelve seasons, initially joining Grey’s Anatomy in season six as a recurring character. Last night’s episode, “Look Up Child,” focused on Jackson and laid the groundwork for his departure, according to Variety. The episode brought back former Grey’s Anatomy cast member Sarah Drew (Cruel Summer) as Dr. April Kepner, Jackson’s ex-wife and mother of his daughter, Harriet.
Drew is one of many former cast members to have returned in the show’s seventeenth season, including Chyler Leigh (Lexie Grey, Supergirl), Eric Dane (Mark Sloan, Euphoria) and Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd, Enchanted).
“Jesse Williams is an extraordinary artist and activist,” said Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff via Variety. “Watching his evolution these past 11 years both on screen and off has been a true gift. Jesse brings so much heart, such depth of care, and so much intelligence to his work. We will miss Jesse terribly and we will miss Jackson Avery — played to perfection for so many years.”
Williams shared a statement via Variety: “I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda, the network, studio, fellow cast mates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen and Debbie. As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds. The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends.”
In addition to his residency on Grey’s Anatomy, Williams has appeared in TV shows like Station 19 and Little Fires Everywhere. He executive produced the 2016 documentary film Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement and served as a producer of the film Two Distant Strangers, which recently took home the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.