Is 'Grey's Anatomy' Sending Katherine Heigl A Message?

02/03/2012 04:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 03, 2012

The Feb. 2 installment of "Grey's Anatomy" -- the "If/Then" alternate reality episode -- welcomed back a few familiar faces and dearly departed friends, but it also gave the giant middle finger to a few others.

In an episode where anything was possible (Meredith wearing pink! Addison pregnant!), the only thing scoffed at more than George O'Malley (a.k.a. "007" license to kill) was "crazy" Izzie, their old pal who lost her job for sleeping with a patient and stealing a heart for him. Sound familiar?

When I visited the "Grey's Anatomy" set recently while they filmed their upcoming "Private Practice" crossover, Ellen Pompeo was very frank about who, if anyone, she'd welcome back to the show with open arms. And even with Katherine Heigl's constant media pleas lately to return to the show, her name never came up.

If you could have any one character back on the show, alive or dead, who would you like to return?
"Well, I have to say, I do love Kate Burton. She's a tremendous actress, and any minute I get to work with her is fun. I love having Kate. I was so sad when our relationship on the show ended -- when she died and I couldn't have her anymore -- because I thought that was such an interesting dynamic, and it's so fun to play. So I was glad to have a second crack at that."

Yes, it could be that Pompeo name-dropped the one woman who did come back for that very special episode -- Kate Burton as Meredith's mom Ellis Grey -- because it was fresh on her brain. Or it could be that the cast of "Grey's" is sending Heigl a message: You had your chance. Thanks, but no thanks.

What do you think: Should they let Heigl return to wrap up Izzie's story once and for all?