EXCLUSIVE: Grey Sloan Memorial will be losing both of Ellis Grey’s daughters this season. Kelly McCreary, who has played Maggie Pierce, Meredith Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo) half-sister and head of the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgery since the end of Season 10, is departing ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy after nine years. Her last episode as a series regular will air April 13. Like Pompeo, who is set to return for the Season 19 finale after Meredith’s big Feb. 23 sendoff, Maggie also will pop in to visit the doctors of Grey Sloan later this season, following her April 13 farewell.
“After nine seasons, I am saying goodbye to Maggie Pierce and her Grey Sloan family,” said McCreary who thanked Grey’s Anatomy creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes, executive producer/showrunner Krista Vernoff, and ABC for the opportunity to be a part of the “legendary television institution” that the long-running medical drama is. “Playing Maggie Pierce has been one of the true joys of my life, and I leave with profound gratitude for every step of this journey. I am excited for this next chapter, and what the future holds.” (You can read McCreary’s farewell message in full below and take a look at her character through the years.)
Like was the case with Pompeo, whose Meredith Grey left Seattle in the midseason premiere, Pierce’s Grey’s exit also has been carefully planned. I hear she approached the producers ahead of time about her desire to leave and pursue other opportunities, which led to Maggie’s Season 19 arc being crafted as the character’s final chapter at Grey Sloan, building toward her upcoming exit. That final storyline has revolved largely around Maggie and Winston’s deepening marital problems.
“Kelly McCreary is a writer’s dream come true; brilliant, nuanced, thoughtful, and kind,” Vernoff said. “We will deeply miss her and her beautifully crafted Dr. Maggie Pierce.”
Known for her perfectionism and drive to be in control, Maggie was introduced in the penultimate episode of Season 10. In a finale bombshell, it was revealed an episode later that Maggie was the biological daughter of Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) and Meredith’s late mother, Ellis Grey (Kate Burton).
McCreary returned in Season 11, starting off as a recurring and quickly getting promoted to a series regular. She has been a member of the core cast ever since, only taking a short break at the start of Season 18 in the fall of 2021 when she gave birth to her first child with director Pete Chatmon, whom she had met on the set of Grey’s Anatomy.
There has been a lot of heartbreak for Maggie through the years. She was with her mom as she lost her cancer battle, and she also met a cousin who later died on her operating table.
Maggie went through several relationships, most notably with DeLuca and Jackson, until she met Winston, one of her residents at Tufts who followed her to Seattle. They married during Grey’s Covid-themed Season 17, holding two weddings, a smaller one in Meredith’s back yard and a larger one on the beach.
The first signs of trouble for Maggie and Winston came in the Season 18 finale when she questioned whether the two did not marry too quickly without getting to know each other well. He quickly erased her doubts with an emotional speech about their love for each other.
However, Winston’s well-intentioned idea to change specialties and leave cardio in order to protect their marriage soon created a new rift. They have been arguing ever since and famously fought in the attic of Meredith’s house as it got hit by lightning, starting a fire. Even as they pulled off a professional “miracle” by performing successfully a first-of-its-kind risky partial heart transplant surgery on a newborn baby, Winston and Maggie continued to drift apart, which led to her moving in with Amelia and seeking advice from her dad.
At the end of last week’s episode, Maggie tearfully asked Richard how he and Catherine knew that what they were going through “was just a rough patch and it wasn’t something more… malignant.” While Richard was reassuring, the way his words were intertwined with Meredith’s end-of-episode voiceover made the exchange ominous. The scene culminated with Richard saying, “Whatever’s going on, you and Winston have so much love between you that whatever it is, you work through it, I know you will,” followed by Meredith’s line, “Sometimes, despite our schooling and centuries of medical advancement, the disease wins.”
Kelly McCreary on leaving Grey’s Anatomy:
After nine seasons, I am saying goodbye to Maggie Pierce and her Grey Sloan family. It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of such a legendary television institution as Grey’s Anatomy. I will always be grateful to Shonda Rhimes, Krista Vernoff, and ABC for the opportunity, and to the incredible fans for their passionate support. To spend nine years exploring a character inside and out, while reaching a global audience with impactful stories, is a rare gift. It has afforded me an opportunity to collaborate with, learn from, and be inspired by countless brilliant artists both in front of and behind the camera. Playing Maggie Pierce has been one of the true joys of my life and I leave with profound gratitude for every step of this journey. I am excited for this next chapter, and what the future holds.
Photo gallery of McCreary’s Grey’s Anatomy journey as Maggie Pierce: