The new oral history book How To Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy will give fans a much desired look into the iconic hospital-drama. Katherine Heigl, 42, who played Dr. Izzie Stevens on the series, spilled her feelings about T.R. Knight’s 2009 departure from the series in an excerpt from the book, shared by E! News on Tuesday September 21.
T.R. made his debut on Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. George O’Malley in 2005. Since leaving the show, T.R. has only returned for two episodes: one in 2020 and another in 2021. In the book’s excerpt, the 48-year-old actor noted that, as he was losing screen time in the show’s fourth and fifth seasons, he felt like the writing was on the wall, as he faced issues with where his character was going. “There just comes a time when it’s so clear that moving on is the best decision,” he explained. “My five-year experience proved to me that I could not trust any answer that was given [about George]… I never made any demands, like, ‘You do this, or else.’ I was always very respectful. In any sort of creative process, there are going to be disagreements.
Despite T.R. thinking that making his exit was for the best, Katherine showed that she thought it was a little too soon for him to go. “I didn’t think it was the right decision. I felt like some of the problems could be worked through or looked at differently or tolerated, because it [was] a good job on so many levels,” she said.
Katherine wasn’t the only one who felt like it was too soon. Shonda Rhimes, who created and was head writer for Grey’s Anatomy, also said she wanted to take George’s plot lines further. “I wasn’t done telling stories for him. We used to joke that George would be the last person wheeled out of the hospital as chief of surgery. I looked in his face and he was really sure,” she said. Grey’s Anatomy returns on September 30 for its 18th season.