Debbie Allen Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen is checking in to Grey's Anatomy to play Jackson's mom, a show rep tells

The Fame alum will play Catherine Avery in the fifth episode of the new season. Her arrival will shed some light on Jackson's family background, according to Entertainment Weekly, which first reported the news.

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Allen should feel right at home on the Grey's set — she's directed three episodes in the past year.The eighth season of Grey's Anatomy premieres Thursday, Sept. 22 at 9/8c on ABC.