Meredith has met many different doctors throughout Grey’s Anatomy, including Erica Hahn, a cardiothoracic surgeon and a longtime rival to Preston Burke. Hahn made her debut in season 2 and left three seasons later.
Erica Hahn is best remembered for being one of the few gay characters on Grey’s Anatomy. She and Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) became lovers, but Callie was confused about her sexuality and their relationship ultimately didn’t work out.
Hahn left Grey’s Anatomy quite abruptly in season 5. The most common reasons for an actor’s departure from a series are their contracts, wanting to explore other projects, or being fired, but in this case, it was all because of ABC.
Smith shared that news of her departure from Grey’s Anatomy came all of a sudden, and she was told that “they could no longer write for the character.” This was not Rhimes’s decision, but ABC’s, they weren’t comfortable with the direction of the Hahn / Callie relationship.
Rhimes responded, “He wasn’t fired for playing a lesbian” and that the character’s sexuality was not an issue. Rhimes explained that they wanted to “play” Sara Ramirez’s magic and didn’t feel like it would last with Smith on Grey’s Anatomy.
This was neither the first nor the last controversy on Grey’s Anatomy, especially when it comes to sexuality. Grey’s Anatomy is known for the drama of its stories, but also for not being the best at handling the departure of its characters.