Washington's Dr. Preston Burke packed his bags on the season
finale of Grey's Anatomy, but that doesn't mean
the actor is being dumped by the show, his publicist said
''We fully expect
to be back in the fall,'' spokesman Howard Bragman
said. ''The deal's not done, but we have no reason to
believe he won't be putting on the scrubs.''
A furor over
Washington's use of an antigay slur had provoked speculation
that his job might be in jeopardy. He said the word
backstage at the Golden Globe Awards in January while
denying he'd used it previously against cast mate T.R.
seemed to open the door for the departure of
Washington's character. Burke was on the verge of marrying
Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), but her doubts at first
delayed and then derailed their splashy wedding.
''I'm up there
waiting for you to come down the aisle and I know you
don't want to come,'' Burke told a shocked Cristina. ''If I
loved you, I wouldn't be up there waiting for you. I
would be letting you go.''
Then he did just
that. Later, Cristina found that Burke had cleared his
favorite possessions out of their apartment.
comment Friday on Washington's status.
But a source
close to the production, speaking on condition of anonymity
because she was not authorized to comment publicly, said the
finale doesn't indicate that Washington is a goner
''A lot of
character story lines were left in question. It's a
cliffhanger finale,'' the source said. ''T.R's character
looks like he could be going.... It doesn't
necessarily mean anything.''
character, Dr. George O'Malley, was the only intern to fail
the end-of-year exam, and he was seen in the finale
cleaning out his locker after deciding against
repeating his intern stint.
spend the summer working, his publicist said, not
worrying about the show. The actor leaves next week to
continue his charity work in Sierra Leone, which a DNA
test showed to be his ancestral home.
started a nonprofit foundation last year to improve the
lives of people in the West African nation, plans to deliver
mosquito netting and check on a school he helped
He'll also spend
part of his summer break working on an independent film,
The Least of These, Bragman said. Washington
expects to be back at work on Grey's Anatomy
when production resumes in August, he said.
a public service announcement on behalf of the Gay and
Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Gay, Lesbian,
and Straight Education Network after the flap. The
spot is in post-production, a GLAAD spokesman said
Friday. (Lynn Elber, AP)