Ellen Pompeo to Appear in at Least 4 Episodes of “Grey's Anatomy” Season 20

Jessica Capshaw, who plays pediatric surgeon Dr. Arizona Robbins, will also return for one episode in the upcoming season of the hit medical drama

Liliane Lathan/ABC via Getty Ellen Pompeo on
Liliane Lathan/ABC via Getty Ellen Pompeo on 'Grey's Anatomy'

Ellen Pompeo will be spending more time with the doctors from Grey Sloan Memorial.

PEOPLE has learned Pompeo, who stars as Dr. Meredith Grey on the ABC hit series, will appear in four episodes of the show’s upcoming 20th season, while Jessica Capshaw will reprise her role of beloved pediatric surgeon Dr. Arizona Robbins in one episode.

Meredith’s return was first teased in PEOPLE’s exclusive first look at the forthcoming season of the medical drama, which debuted in December.

<p>Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images</p> Ellen Pompeo at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Peacock Theater on January 15, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images

Ellen Pompeo at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Peacock Theater on January 15, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Related: The Most Dramatic Grey's Anatomy Departures

The actress, 54, already had a scaled-back role in season 19 but will remain as an executive producer on the series moving forward, in addition to providing the opening and closing voiceover for each episode

In an installment of Variety's Actors on Actors series in June, Pompeo opened up to her former Grey’s costar Katherine Heigl about the future of her character.

“I will be making some appearances hopefully next year, if I can find some time,” she said at the time. “It’s not a complete goodbye. And I think we’ve got an interesting story to tell."

Related: Chandra Wilson Calls Grey's Anatomy Emmys Reunion 'Comfort Food-Like': 'It Was Like Riding a Bike' (Exclusive)

Last month, Pompeo reunited with Heigl and fellow alum Justin Chambers as well as her current Grey’s Anatomy costars Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. on stage at the 2023 Emmy Awards.

As for Capshaw, 47, her return was announced at ABC’s Television Critics Association's winter 2024 press tour on Saturday. Her Grey’s Anatomy character was last seen in 2018 at the end of season 14 when she moved to New York City to be with her ex-wife, Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez), and their daughter Sofia.

Capshaw's seemingly sudden exit, which coincided with Sarah Drew's, confused fans and came with little explanation.

“It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters,” Grey’s creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes said at the time. “Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV. I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performances and for inspiring women around the globe.”

<p>Bob D'Amico/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> Jessica Capshaw as Dr. Arizona Robbins on "Grey's Anatomy"

Bob D'Amico/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Jessica Capshaw as Dr. Arizona Robbins on "Grey's Anatomy"

Related: Ellen Pompeo Has 'Immense Gratitude' for 'Grey's Anatomy' Fans as Meredith Grey Readies to Leave Seattle

“For the past 10 years, I have had the rare privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins, but also being madly in love with playing her. Arizona Robbins is kind, intelligent, funny, insightful, bold, playful, fierce and really good at her job,” Capshaw tweeted in March 2018. "She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented in a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever."

She concluded: "I am grateful that I have gotten to bring her to life and for the life that she has brought to me. I am sad to see her go, but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and our imaginations."

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Season 20 of Grey's Anatomy premieres March 14 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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