Grey's Anatomy fans mourn as another major character exits the show

The midseason premiere certainly delivered on the drama

Say it ain't so, Grey's Anatomy! Another star of the long-running medical drama discharged themselves from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital on Thursday's night midseason premiere.

MORE: Ellen Pompeo's future of Grey's Anatomy revealed after admitting she wants show to end

The nail-biting episode saw Dr Cormac Hayes, played by actor Richard Flood, hand in his notice to Miranda Bailey after deciding to return to Ireland with his kids. His difficult decision came after he and his colleagues, Owen and Teddy, found themselves on the brink of death - and a literal cliff - after getting caught up in a car accident. After urging the other two to get out of the car, Owen sacrificed himself and tumbled down the cliff face along with the car.

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WATCH: Are you enjoying season 18 of Grey's Anatomy?

As viewers saw, Owen fortunately survived. However, the whole ordeal caused Cormac to have a bit of an ethical dilemma as he weighed up his options: reporting Owen as a danger, risk losing his medical license as an accessory, or - as he eventually settled upon - walking away from Grey Sloan for good.

MORE: Where are the stars who left Grey's Anatomy now?

MORE: Grey's Anatomy boss opens up about how she plans to end show

According to Deadline, sources have confirmed that Richard's final appearance will be in next week's episode, titled Living in a House Divided.

The 39-year-old actor joined the cast of the long-running ABC drama in season 16 as a recurring character and was promoted to series regular at the beginning of the current season. He was initially meant to be a potential love interest for Ellen Pompeo's Meredith. However, that storyline, like so many others, was interrupted by the pandemic and never really took off.

Richard Flood, who plays Dr Cormac Hayes, has decided to leave the show

Fans were naturally upset to see Cormac leave and wasted no time in expressing their disappointment. Posting on Reddit, one wrote: "ARE THEY SERIOUSLY WRITING HAYES OFF??? THEY KEEP WRITING OFF ALL OF THE GOOD CHARACTERS AND THERE'S ONLY LIKE TWO OF THEM."

Another added: "I'm so annoyed that he's leaving. He was a much more interesting love interest for Mer, and I was enjoying seeing him making friends with Owen and Miranda," followed by a sad face emoji while a third said: "I was so shocked at this plot twist. Did not see it coming at all."

MORE: Grey's Anatomy boss shares regret over major character exit

Meanwhile, fan favourite Jackson Avery, played by Jesse Williams, could soon be making a comeback. Talking to ET Online recently, the actor who bowed out last year after 12 seasons said he would "consider" revisiting the medical drama for its final run whenever that may be.

"I'd consider it. He still exists in the world of the show. So, yeah, it's totally a possibility," he said.

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