There are only a handful of shows willing to retire or ax main characters as easily as Grey's Anatomy has done for the past 14 years. The show has become infamous for this, as viewers are constantly left to wonder which member of the beloved fictional staff will be lucky enough to make it through any given season. By this point, lead actors stepping away from the series has become quite a common occurrence. Now, we have another character departure to prove that saying "goodbye" won't get any easier any time soon.
It's Time To Say Goodbye To Nathan Riggs
#GreysAnatomy Season 14, Episode 5, "Danger Zone," focused entirely on Megan Hunt and her relationship with Dr. Nathan Riggs (played by actor Martin Henderson). After they both found out they had cheated on each other, the couple decided to give their love another shot, and they moved to Malibu. Why Malibu? Because when Megan was kidnapped (and presumed dead) during her time in the army, she swore that if she made it out alive, she would spend the rest of her life in Malibu.
Megan made good on her promise and Riggs followed her, ready to start a new life together. The episode seemed to tease a promising future for the two characters, and indeed the lovebirds are meant to have a beautiful life together, but fans won't get to be a part of it. As it turns out, "Danger Zone" was Henderson's last episode on Grey's Anatomy as a series regular, as confirmed by Entertainment Weekly and the actor himself on his Instagram.
Shortly after the announcement, Henderson took to Instagram to share the news with his followers, and had nothing but great things to say about the series:
"And it's goodnight from Dr Riggs! Just want to say a huge thank you to all the fans and say how grateful I am for all the support and well wishes. It's been a blast entertaining you for the last couple of years and to be a part of a show with so much love around it. You guys are awesome!! Love to all."
I'm not crying... you're crying. Grey's Anatomy creator and executive producer, #ShondaRhimes, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Riggs' departure, and expressed her happiness at what they were able to do with the character, and assured fans that she was excited to work with Henderson in the future:
"I loved that we were able to give Riggs a happy ending worthy of his character and talent. As for Martin, this is not an ending for our relationship. He has been part of the Shondaland family since the pilot of 'Inside the Box' and he will always be family. I can’t wait to find a new project to work with him on in the future."
Riggs was a beloved character, and this news took many of us by surprise. In response to Riggs' departure, a large number of fans took to social media to share their disappointment. There were a lot of feels about saying "goodbye" to a great doctor and Meredith Grey's former flame.
This Is Only One More Entry In A Long Line Of Departures
I wasn't exaggerating when I said Grey's Anatomy had a streak for saying goodbye to its leading actors. In fact, things have gotten to a point where it feels like a different character leaves every season. To give you a few examples, everyone's favorite heartthrob, Eric Dane's Mark Sloan, departed the series in Season 9 when he was taken off life support after a terrible plane crash.
There wasn't much breathing room for fans to cope with that demise, because only two seasons later, Sandra Oh's Cristina Yang stepped away from the Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital to take an important medical position in Switzerland. Shortly after that, #PatrickDempsey's Derek Shepherd. The charming doctor passed away in the Season 11 finale, after Dempsey decided he wanted to leave the show to pursue other career opportunities.
Most recently, #JasonGeorge, a.k.a Dr. Benjamin Warren, signed on for the Grey's Anatomy upcoming firefighters spinoff, which meant saying goodbye to the main show. To be quite honest, I'm just counting the hours to see who else leaves the series in the near future...
Granted, Riggs was given a happy ending, which is a lucky break when compared to his co-workers' characters, but it still hurts he won't be in the hospital saving lives and making our weeks more entertaining. At least we can take comfort in the fact that he's happy.
How do you feel about Martin Henderson exiting Grey's Anatomy? Which of the show's departures listed here hit you the hardest? Let me know in the comments!
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]