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‘Grey’s Anatomy’ alum T.R. Knight returns for weepy reunion

First it was McDreamy, and now it’s George O’Malley. 

Season 17 of “Grey’s Anatomy” keeps resurrecting dearly departed characters, thanks to Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) having COVID-induced dream sequences on a beach. 

So far, she’s reunited with her dead husband, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey, 54, who shocked audiences with his return). Now, Thursday’s episode has brought back T.R. Knight’s George, who died in Season 5 (way back in 2009) when he leaped in front of a bus to save a woman’s life. 

In the latest emotional episode — and dream sequence — Meredith and George discuss his death while they’re on the beach, and she tells him, “You changed my life.”

“Even though we filmed this in the middle of October, I’m still trying to put into words how profound the experience was for me,” Knight, 47, told Deadline about his return to the long-running medical drama. 

“Meredith is having this vision, for lack of a better word, of who George would be. George is a very complicated person, and that’s what made him such an amazing pleasure to play, but Meredith is seeing the best of George: She’s seeing his humor, his kindness, his generosity, and in this brief moment that you get to see him, it’s such a great way to remember him.”

James Pickens Jr., Ellen Pompeo, T.R. Knight and Chandra Wilson hit the beach in "Grey's Anatomy."
James Pickens Jr., Ellen Pompeo, T.R. Knight and Chandra Wilson hit the beach in “Grey’s Anatomy.”
ABC

According to showrunner Krista Vernoff, she actually got the idea to bring back Knight before Dempsey. It was Pompeo who suggested Dempsey as well. 

“George was my first idea,” Vernoff told Deadline. “The imagining came to me of Meredith walking with her feet in the water with George. That was the first image that came to me . . . When I called Ellen and said, ‘I have this idea to have you having these dreams on the beach, and I want to get someone amazing, like T.R.,’ Ellen was like, ‘Yes, get T.R., and also Patrick.’ That was the evolution of that. Ellen and T.R. are close, and George and T.R. were both always favorites of mine, and so he was my first idea of, as a fan, who do I want to see again?

“I wanted to see George, so that’s where it started,” she said.

“Grey’s Anatomy” is currently airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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