Spoilers for tonight’s “Grey’s Anatomy” season finale below.
“Grey’s Anatomy” said goodbye to another one of its own on Thursday’s Season 13 finale, as Jerrika Hinton (Stephanie Edwards) exited the long-running ABC medical drama.
Hinton, who played Stephanie for five seasons, thanked the show’s fans in an Instagram post after the episode aired. During the finale, Stephanie survived last week’s explosion but decided to quit her job at Grey Sloan in an effort to live her life to the fullest.
“I am eternally thankful for five seasons of #GreysAnatomy and a graceful departure that underscores the courage it takes to choose yourself,” Hinton wrote. “That Stephanie literally walks through fire to reach freedom — her freedom — inspires me. It also makes me curious: What does freedom look like for you, dear viewer? After all, it’s not only the heroics that make her brave, it’s her finally seeing (and seeking) a better path. #onlyfreakingsuperheroes #takeyourpastandfindyourpath.”
She continued, “You fans and viewers are some of the most devoted folks I’ve ever met. Thank you for your endless energy. Bosslady Shonda [Rhimes], Queen Debbie [Allen], and entire the Grey’s Anatomy cast and crew forever remain in my heart. The #Shondaland family is a mighty, winding forest. I look forward to seeing you all in another clearing.”
“Grey’s” creator Shonda Rhimes posted a message to Twitter to wish Hinton well.
“Actors evolve differently, and when an actor like Jerrika comes to me and says she wants to try something new creatively, I like to honor that,” Rhimes wrote. “Jerrika has shared so much of herself with Stephanie, and I am incredibly proud of the journey we’ve taken together. While I’m sad to see Stephanie leave Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, I am excited to see what’s next for Jerrika.”
Earlier this year, the actress landed a role on Alan Ball’s upcoming HBO family drama. She starred in ABC’s 2016 comedy pilot “Toast,” executive produced by Rhimes, but it did not get picked up to series.
“Grey’s” has parted ways with a number of key characters over the years, including Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez), who was written out of the series in last year’s Season 12 finale as the orthopedic surgeon moved to New York with her girlfriend and daughter. Other cast members who have left the show include Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd), T.R. Knight (George O’Malley), Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) and Katherine Heigl (Izzie Stevens).