Greys’s Anatomy star, Patrick Dempsey, will be leaving the show after playing lead character, Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd for 11 seasons in this popular ABC drama. Over the past few weeks, rumors had been circulating about Dempsey’s plans to leave the show. Lending some credence to these rumors was the fact that during this past season, due to storyline changes, his character had taken a job in Washington D.C., which reduced his amount of appearances on the the popular TV show. In addition, Dempsey was also interviewed this past November by the Portland Press Herald about his future plans where he mentioned his plans that he would exit Grey’s Anatomy “very soon.” Spoiler alert below for fans who have not yet seen the April 23 episode, How to Save a Life.
Confirming the rumors that star actor Dempsey would be leaving after 11 seasons, however, was the Grey’s Anatomy episode on Thursday April 23, where Shepherd was sent to the hospital after being hit by a car. In that episode, Shepherd had been driving and stopped his car to provide aid to four people who had been injured in a two-car accident. Medics arrived shortly after he had stabilized the injured parties, in order to get them to a nearby hospital. Shortly after, Shepherd’s own car was hit, causing him severe head trauma, while sending him to the very same hospital to which his patients had been taken.
In the hospital, Shepherd was unable to speak, but his thoughts were conveyed Grey’s Anatomy viewers as he was being treated by a veteran neurosurgeon. However, the doctor had failed to properly diagnose the trauma, and as a result, the star of the show became comatose. Shepherd’s wife, Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), was then called over, where she was faced with the painful and difficult decision of whether to turn off the life-support system. After making the decision to end his life in this tear-jerking moment, she then turned to the other doctors, lambasting them for failing to save her husband’s life.
Before this plot-twisting episode aired this past Thursday, Entertainment Weekly, in an article, leaked the information confirming Dempsey’s departure from the series. ABC today decided to postpone the upcoming April 30 episode of the creator Shonda Rhimes’ other series Scandal to provide a two-hour slot for Grey’s Anatomy, which will probably serve as a tearful farewell to its longtime lead character. In a statement, ABC announced that Dempsey will be pursuing other interests, wishing him the best of luck and lamenting that his character will be greatly missed, while at the same time, commending the Rhimes’ creativity for providing for her devoted viewers a character who connected with them so well.
Rhimes, herself, stated that she was equally as shocked about the outcome as her show’s fans. In an interview, she expressed that she would have never thought she would be saying goodbye to her “McDreamy.” She described Dempsey’s character as an example of what all young women should expect in a modern-day relationship, and that Meredith will now have to adjust to life as a single mother of two. Grey’s Anatomy will air its season finale on May 14, and with 11.6 viewers this season, it is highly likely that the series will be around for a 12th season. For Rhimes, though, star actor Dempsey’s leaving after 11 seasons, will set Grey’s Anatomy in a new road towards uncharted territory.
By Bill Ades