You probably have heard by now, but ABC Networks has confirmed that actor Isaiah Washington, who plays Dr Preston Burke on the hit TV show Grey's Anatomy, has been let go. He will probably not be reappearing, even for brief cameos.
This means that, to all ends and purposes, Dr Preston Burke is gone. For good.
This may sound shallow, but this loss comes as a great blow to me. To me, Preston Burke was more than just a fictional character on a TV show. To me, he was an inspiration. His exacting standards, devotion to his art, professionalism, and compassion for his patients embodied, to me, the perfect surgeon. When he revealed to Cristina that the secret to his genius was not being the smartest in med school, but being the hardest-working, he inspired hundreds of thousands of medical students and viewers across the globe. Indeed, I imagined surgeons like Sid Schwab of Surgeonsblog, Harvard surgeon and writer Atul Gawande, and HospitalPhoenix to be like him. Tough. Exacting. Precise. Obsessive. But also filled with compassion and genuine concern for both his patients and his students.
I know Isaiah Washington the actor may not be the wisest of men when it comes to keeping his mouth shut. And I detest discrimination of any sort. But Preston Burke the character was an integral part of the drama, storyline, and cultural diversity of Grey's Anatomy. And he was a hero of mine. He inspired me to keep going, to keep looking higher, and to make myself better. In an imperfect world, he showed me, and crowds of fans worldwide, that there was nothing wrong with striving for perfection.
He will be missed.