Shonda Rhimes on Sara Ramirez's Grey's Anatomy Departure: 'I Had a Different Plan' for Callie

Grey's Anatomy Recap

Callie’s move to New York City on Grey’s Anatomy wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a permanent one.

At the close of last Thursday’s season finale, Arizona presented her ex-wife with a new custody arrangement and plane tickets so Callie could follow girlfriend Penny to the Big Apple. But star Sara Ramirez’s final scene as a series regular after 10 seasons of playing Dr. Callie Torres wasn’t originally crafted with the intention of being her swan song.

Series creator Shonda Rhimes told the audience at Vulture Festival in New York City on Sunday that she “found out [about Ramirez’ decision] maybe three days before” the actress tweeted the news of her departure from the ABC drama — at which point the doc’s ending was already in the can.

Callie’s exit “was interesting. It was different because it wasn’t a big, planned thing,” Rhimes explained. “I had a different plan going and when Sara came and said, ‘I really need to take this break,’ I was sort of lucky that we had shot the end of the season with her going to New York.”

After last week’s finale, Ramirez released the following statement: “I’m deeply grateful to have spent the last 10 years with my family at Grey’s Anatomy and ABC, but for now, I’m taking some welcome time off. [Series creator] Shonda [Rhimes has] been so incredible to work for, and we will definitely continue our conversations. I send my love to Ellen [Pompeo], the rest of the cast and crew, and I look forward to always being a part of the Shondaland family!”

Rhimes, meanwhile, issued her own statement, saying, “Dr. Callie Torres came into our lives dancing it out in her underwear almost a decade ago, and I could not be happier or more proud of her journey. Sara Ramirez’s performance inspired me as well as millions of fans each week. We wish her the best on her well-deserved time off. I will miss Callie tremendously but am excited for what the future holds for Sara. She will always have a home at Shondaland.”