For 19 seasons now, Grey’s Anatomy has served as one of the most successful and popular television series, not only in the medical subgenre of television but on cable television as a whole. The heart-stopping drama series has consisted of a variety of memorable characters over the years, including the core intern group from the first few seasons, which consisted of Meredith Grey, Izzie Stevens, Alex Karev, Cristina Yang, and George O’Malley.
Introduced in season one, George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) was the sweet, naive intern at Seattle Grace Hospital who initially harbored an intense crush on Meredith Grey. Right from the get-go, George established himself as a fan favorite and quickly became one of the most beloved characters on the show for the first five seasons.
Sadly, much like Derek Shepherd in season 11, George O’Malley eventually became a figure of the past in Shondaland, and here’s a breakdown of exactly how and when it happened.
What episode does George O’Malley die in?
George O’Malley unfortunately suffered a tragic fate in Season 6, Episode 1 “Good Mourning.”
In the show’s fifth season, George decides to join the army to become a trauma surgeon, hoping to help people after he experiences Dr. Owen Hunt’s trauma first-hand. George eventually reveals his decision to Chief Webber, and George enlists himself in the military.
While on his way home to spend time with his family before officially joining, George encounters a woman who is about to be hit by a bus. Immediately, George jumps in front of the bus to save the woman’s life, but he suffers gruesome injuries that alter his face.
In the season five finale “Now or Never,” a “John Doe” arrives at Seattle Grace, who is eventually revealed to be George. Meredith is the first person to realize that the John Doe is George after he uses his fingers to spell out “007” in her palm, which was a known nickname given to him early on in the show, inspired by James Bond’s License to Kill.
In the season six premiere episode, it is revealed that George has succumbed to his brutal injuries and died. The entire hospital staff tries to mourn the devastating loss, particularly Izzie Stevens, George’s former lover and best friend who is dealing with an undiagnosed brain tumor.
How George O’Malley is remembered by fans and Grey’s Anatomy
Although Grey’s Anatomy viewers have been dealt character exit after character exit, George’s death is regarded as one of the most devastating blows. Seeing him as the underdog for so long made many sympathize with his character and see him as someone they are rooting for.
While he made mistakes, George was objectively one of the best characters on the show. He was there for his friends in multiple situations, including helping Bailey during childbirth and walking Izzie down the aisle. Even though his death was heartbreaking, it made sense that he died saving the life of someone else and being the good person viewers had come to know him as.
Although George’s character was killed off, the show found a way to reunite the audience with him years later.
In Season 17, Episode 4 “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, George showed up in Meredith’s dream while she was battling a COVID-19 diagnosis. This served as a meaningful moment for long-time Grey’s Anatomy fans, as it showed that Meredith still is connected with the people she has lost.