Kim Cattrall and Other TV Stars Who Returned to the Hit Shows They Left

Aftter famously turning down the chance to play Samantha Jones in a third movie, Kim Cattrall reprised her iconic role in And Just Like That's season two finale.

By Tierney Bricker Aug 27, 2023 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Kim Cattrall Spotted in AJLT Ahead of Season 2 Cameo!

After Kim Cattrall's shocking cameo in the And Just Like That season two finale, we couldn't help but wonder: What other major TV stars have returned to the shows that made them famous?

Given Cattrall's infamous decision not to reprise her iconic Sex and the City character Samantha Jones for a third movie or the first season of its Max spinoff, fans weren't expecting to see the 67-year-old back in the Big Apple. And yet, Samantha had a small but pivotal role in the Aug. 24 episode, despite not interacting with Sarah Jessica Parker or any of her other former co-stars. 

Samantha made her grand return via a phone conversation with Carrie, calling her old friend to let her know she wouldn't be able to make her flight from London to New York City to attend "the Last Supper," a.k.a. the final party Carrie was throwing in her apartment.

Despite not being able to attend the event, Samantha still wanted to pay her respects, asking Carrie to put her on speaker phone. "Thank you for everything," Samantha said, "you f--king fabulous, fabulous flat."

Hey, we'll take what we can get.

All the Iconic Sex and the City Items Sarah Jessica Parker Has Reworn on And Just Like That

After Cattrall's ahem, big, return on And Just Like That, we're looking back on other actors who reprised their iconic roles after famously exiting their shows:

Kim Cattrall, And Just Like That

Samantha Jones reporting for duty.

After famously choosing not to reprise her iconic Sex and the City role for the series' Max revival, Kim Cattrall staged a surprising return in And Just Like That's season two finale. But she technically didn't reunite on-screen with any of her former co-stars.

During the Aug. 24 episode, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) gets a call from Samantha as she's in the middle of getting ready for the "Last Supper" party that will be held at her apartment as a final hoorah before her move. While the PR maven ultimately wasn't able to catch a flight from London to attend, she wanted to pay respect to the infamous abode.

"Thank you for everything," Samantha said, "you f--king fabulous, fabulous flat."

Nina Dobrev, The Vampire Diaries

Nina Dobrev stunned fans of the CW supernatural drama when she revealed that she'd be leaving the series at the end of season six. The show trucked along for two more seasons before deciding to sign off for good, but not before the actress returned as heroine Elena Gilbert, awakened in the series finale from her eternal slumber to give Damon (Ian Somerhalder) the happy ending they deserved.

Patrick Dempsey, Grey's Anatomy

In the last 30 seconds of its season 17 premiere, Grey's Anatomy shocked its fanbase with the return of Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd. Yes, he was still dead, reuniting with Ellen Pompeo's Meredith in her beach-based hallucination, but even in a dream sequence, it was the first time Dempsey has returned to the show since McDreamy's death in 2015.

"Most of the actors didn't know," showrunner Krista Vernoff tweeted after the episode aired in 2020. "Some of the writers didn't know. Most of the good folks at the studio & network didn't know. It's so fun watching it all unfold."

Isaiah Washington, Grey's Anatomy

Despite the bad blood surrounding his departure from the ABC hit after season three, Isaiah Washington returned as Dr. Preston Burke to help send off Sandra Oh's Cristina Yang at the end of season 10. Now a head of a privately owned cardiothoracic research hospital in Zurich, Burke lured the woman he left at the altar there under the guise of delivering a speech on her research. However, he soon revealed he hoped she'd take over the hospital so he could move with his family to Italy. 

Chad Michael Murray, One Tree Hill

Chad Michael Murray and his co-star Hilarie Burton both exited the CW series after season six, and the star admitted he initially had no intentions of ever returning to OTH.

But CMM delighted fans when he reprised the role of Lucas Scott in the ninth and final season

"I've been busy with different discoveries in my own life and it never really dawned on me," Murray told in 2012. "Then the opportunity came, and I knew how important it was to these fans who are everything to the show—and that was it."

Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead

Fan-favorite pair Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira made a brief-yet-welcome unexpected appearance in the AMC zombie hit's series finale in 2022. 

"From the first pitch about the end of the season, I put my wish list out to the universe and AMC and all the producers, and said that the show was not complete without bringing back Rick and Michonne in some way," showrunner Angela Kang told TV Line. "I know that that's not entirely up to me, there's a lot of stuff that needs to be worked out, but that was my wish. And then it took many, many, many months for it to actually come together."

Steve Carell, The Office

The beloved NBC comedy trudged along for two rocky Michael Scott-free seasons following Steve Carell's exit in season seven, but the newly minted movie star didn't let the series sign off for good without one last appearance, popping up at Dwight's (Rainn Wilson) wedding to Angela (Angela Kinsey) as the surprise best man. It was a sweet treat that allowed fans a taste of the show's former glory before saying goodbye for good.

Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Before we could say goodbye to Alicia Florrick as The Good Wife prepared to sign off after seven seasons, Josh Charles returned in the series finale as the dearly departed Will Gardner in one of Alicia's dreams, giving us the joy of witnessing the actor's incredible chemistry with Julianna Marguiles one last time.

George Clooney, ER

Despite parting ways with the series midway through season five after becoming a big-time movie star, George Clooney returned as Dr. Doug Ross with a surprise cameo in Julianna Marguiles' swan song a season later as Nurse Carol Hathaway followed her true love to Seattle. The pair would later return to the NBC medical drama in the show's 15th and final season for a cameo before the show signed off for good.

Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jennifer Morrison, Once Upon a Time

Though all three OG stars of ABC's fairy tale fantasy had departed at the end of season six, they made sure to return for one last adventure in the seventh and final season finale, with Ginnifer Goodwin's Snow and Josh Dallas' Charming joining the rebooted season's heroes to save the day. Meanwhile, Jennifer Morrison's Emma Swan made a last-minute cameo just as Regina (Lana Parrilla) was being crowned the newly united realm's elected queen.