8:17am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Sara Ramirez Books First Post-'Grey's Anatomy' Series Regular Role
Sara Ramirez is putting Shondaland in her rear-view mirror.
A year and a half after exiting ABC's Shonda Rhimes-created Grey's Anatomy, Ramirez has booked her return to television. The actress and activist has joined the cast of CBS' fourth-year drama Madam Secretary, the network announced Tuesday.
Ramirez will make her debut in the episode airing Sunday, Nov. 19, at 10 p.m.
The actress will play Kat Sandoval, a brilliant political strategist, legendary in D.C. for her talent and for abruptly dropping out of politics until Elizabeth (Tea Leoni) manages to coax her back to the State Department.
"We're very excited that Sara is joining the cast," series creator/executive producer Barbara Hall said. "She brings a fresh perspective and a fun, energetic quality to the State Department staff."
Added executive producer Lori McCreary: "We are thrilled to have Sara join the Madam Secretary state department team. From the moment she walked on set with her talent, intellect and spirit, she became part of the family!"
The role is Ramirez's first post-Shondaland part and comes after she spent 10 years playing fan-favorite Dr. Callie Torres, who was part of a groundbreaking gay couple. The singer-actress also won a Tony Award for Broadway's Spamalot, and plays the voice of Queen Miranda on the animated series Sofia the First as well as Mama Calaca in Vampirina.
Ramirez exited Grey's in the season 12 finale more than a year and a half ago. In her exit statement, the actress noted that she was taking some time off. In February of this year, Ramirez criticized her former network for a joke featured on The Real O'Neals that compared bisexuals to having "webbed toes" or "money problems." The openly bisexual actress tweeted: "As someone who worked 4 them 4 10 years+, am truly disheartened & disappointed quite frankly. I will invest my brand where I'm respected." That flap would seem to eliminate any potential return to Grey's Anatomy, which is now in its 14th season on ABC. Also complicating any potential return is the fact that both Madam Secretary and Grey's are produced by different studios (CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios, respectively).
For Madam Secretary, the casting comes days after series regular Bebe Neuwirth announced her departure from the drama after a four-season run.
Ramirez is repped by Untitled.