Patrick Dempsey Leaving Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. Derek Shepherd [SPOILER]
Patrick Dempsey is leaving “Grey’s Anatomy.” His character Dr. Derek Shepherd was killed off on Thursday’s episode, with the shocking plot twist getting revealed just hours before the episode aired.
As Gossip Cop reported, Dempsey’s exit was rumored earlier this week, at which point sources close to the star would not comment to us about his decreased presence during the current 11th season, or his future on the show. In fact, all we were told was that an allegation of “diva behavior” on set couldn’t be further from the truth. Now, despite having a year left on his contract, Dempsey will not be a part of the hit series’ upcoming 12th season.
Dempsey’s exit was well-planned in advance, with the new issue of Entertainment Weekly featuring an extensive interview with the star about his departure. In fact, that is how the news broke before the episode was actually broadcast. Occasionally, subscribers receive the new issues, usually delivered on Fridays, a day early, and one recipient, angry at getting spoiled, posted on Instagram a picture of the spread about the stunning development. With the headline “The Doctor Is… Out,” the article says Dempsey opens up “about checking out of ‘Grey’s’… for good.”
In response to the leak, Entertainment Weekly issued a statement saying, “We are surprised that an EW subscriber may have received their issue a day earlier than planned. We always try our best to bring readers exclusive news first. We would like to apologize to fans of the show that learned the news ahead of time.” ABC has not commented on the debacle, but announced a scheduling change earlier Thursday, revealing a a two-hour episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” will air next week, with the season finale still set for May 14.
Thursday’s pivotal Derek-centric episode, called “How To Save A Life,” focused on the character witnessing a two-car accident and stopping short just before crashing into the wreckage. Dempsey’s alter ego, naturally, rushed to help the victims, with a child wondering if she was dead. Derek promised the little girl she wasn’t because she still had a pulse, and vowed to a teenaged victim that he would not let her die. Emergency crews eventually came to transport the injured to the hospital, at which point Derek got in his car to drive away… only to be hit by an oncoming truck.
Derek himself was then transported to a local hospital as a “John Doe” with blunt force head trauma. Derek could not communicate with the medical team, but instead narrated the treatment in his head, mentally pleading with the doctors to do a CT scan of his head instead of rushing him into surgery on his stomach. “I’m going to die because these doctors weren’t properly trained,” he told himself. His instincts, sadly, were right, and when he began crashing, the on-call trauma neurosurgeon took more than an hour to show up instead of the expected twenty minutes.
“It’s too late,” Patrick continued in his head. “You’re too late.” The episode then cut to police arriving at the home of his wife Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), before she was brought to the hospital, where the doctors apologized for her “loss.” It was revealed that Derek was “dead, but not really dead,” as he laid brain damaged and intubated. Meredith demanded the papers to sign to take him off life support, and as the process began, “Chasing Cars” started playing, a key song from very early on in the series. The episode then flashed back to moments from their relationship. A crying Meredith then told her husband, “It’s okay. You go. We’ll be fine.” With that, the life support was removed, and Derek died immediately thereafter. The preview for next week’s double episode shows Meredith telling her co-workers that Derek is dead, and preparing for his funeral.
Dempsey, of course, is not the first major star to leave the drama. Katherine Heigl, Isaiah Washington, T.R. Knight, Eric Dane, Chyler Leigh, Kim Raver, and most recently, Sandra Oh, have all departed, though not all by choice. Dempsey’s exit, however, is especially shocking, given both that he re-upped his contract, along with other cast members, for a new two-year deal last year that would expire at the end of the 2015-2016 season, and because he and co-star Pompeo have long been considered the focal point of the show, romantically and otherwise. That said, Pompeo is expected to remain with the show for the duration of her contact.
In a statement, Shonda Rhimes, who wrote tonight’s episode, her first since season 8, says, “Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character — for Meredith, for me and for the fans. I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our ‘McDreamy.’ Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example — happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true — of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning.”
In its own statement, ABC says, “After 11 seasons on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ Patrick Dempsey is moving on to pursue other interests. Dr. Derek Shepherd is an iconic character and we’ve been proud to be the home of ‘McDreamy’ and the ‘Mer/Der’ love story. The devotion of ‘Grey’s’ fans throughout the years has been a testament to the creative mind of Shonda Rhimes and Dempsey’s talent. ‘McDreamy’ will be greatly missed and we wish Patrick the very best in his future endeavors.”
And Dempsey tells TVLine, “It’s been a remarkable ride. The worldwide impact has been extraordinary. It is incredible how devoted and passionate the fans are, and I will forever be grateful and humbled by the experience.” Gossip Cop reached out to a rep for Dempsey for comment, but did not immediately hear back. We will have updates.