How to save a life has never been more exciting, dramatic or love wrought than inside the corridors of Seattle Grace Hospital or is it Seattle Grace Mercy West? Oh, that’s right, it’s Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. The medical drama series is still going strong after 15 years despite the exoduses of beloved characters and the addition of brand-new ones.

As a tribute to the 16th season (the show’s already been renewed for season 17) we look back at iconic characters who’ve worked at Grey’s and how they’ve moved on in the story but will never leave our hearts.

So, if you’re catching up on past seasons of the long-standing medical drama on Showmax, or you’re stuck into the latest season, note that there are spoilers ahead.

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Dr Izzie Stevens

Has it really been a decade? Mer’s great friend Dr Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) left us 10 years ago in January 2010. In real-life the actress just wanted out, but in the story, when she and her then-husband Alex (Justin Chambers) were having marital problems, she left Seattle to start over somewhere new.


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Dr George O’Malley

Shortly after another one of Mer’s closest friend’s Dr George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) left for the army, we saw him arrive at the hospital as a disfigured patient who succumbed to his injuries after saving a woman from being hit by a bus. We cried ugly tears for his death.


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Dr Mark Sloan and Dr Lexie Grey

As with multiple Grey’s exits, we were never ready for McSteamy to leave. The beloved Dr Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) was one of the people who was in the fiery plane crash at the end of season 8 – which he survived – only to pass away at the beginning of season 9. To make matters even worse, Dr Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), Meredith’s half-sister also died from the injuries she sustained in the plane crash. We cried right along with Meredith when she learned about her sister’s death.


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Dr Addison Montgomery

Remember Dr Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh)? And how she stirred up the drama between Meredith and Derek? She left Seattle for California in 2007 to go join the Oceanside Wellness Group with her new chapter which was the spin-off series, Private Practice.


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Dr Derek Shepherd

The real big love of Meredith’s life – hence their couple name “MerDer” – was Dr Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) or as he was known McDreamy. After 11 seasons viewers were confronted with a nightmare when McDreamy stopped at a car accident to help the victims only to be involved in an unexpected car crash himself which tragically left him brain-dead. There’s really no point in explaining how distraught we all were … but we felt this death just as much as Meredith did.


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Dr Callie Torres and Dr Arizona Robbins

Dr Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez), who used to be the one half of Calzona, left in 2016 for New York after a custody battle with Arizona after their break-up. Dr Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) said goodbye towards the end of season 14, heading to New York as well. After several years she decided to spread her wings to go and open a clinic focused on women’s health with her former mentor Nicole (Geena Davis).


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Dr Christina Yang

She’s been Mer’s “person” and she’s been ours and we wouldn’t be surprised if the caustic Dr Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) one day returns before the series wraps up. Meredith’s best friend left for Switzerland in 2014 after a decade at the hospital, to go and head up the Klausman Institute for Medical Research in Zurich. She’s still in Mer’s life and in the latest season, Christina sends her a new “McWidow” in the form of the Irish surgeon Dr Cormac Hayes (Richard Flood).


A stalwart departs in season 16

In a surprising announcement early January, producers of Grey’s Anatomy season 16 announced one of the original cast-members had departed the long-standing medical drama. Who will it be? Watch Grey’s Anatomy on Mondays on M-Net (101) with double-bill episodes starting at 19:00.

Add Showmax to your DStv bill to binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy seasons 1 to 15.

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