Rolling Out

Shonda Rhimes talks killing off popular ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ character

Photo credit: ABC
Photo credit: ABC

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t viewed last night’s “Grey’s Anatomy” episode and don’t know who died, don’t read any further.

Despite the fact that the biggest plot twist of “Grey’s Anatomy” was revealed just minutes prior to the airing of the jaw-dropping episode last night (by Entertainment Weekly to its subscribers), that didn’t stop us from tuning in. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) played the hero to several victims of a car crash he witnessed only to end up getting broadsided by a semi as he was leaving the scene. To make matters worse, it was a medical error, not his injuries, that took his life.

As a matter of fact, the doctors working on him weren’t properly trained for trauma, missing the biggest injury to his brain. A simple mistake, with deadly consequences. “I’m going to die because these people aren’t properly trained,” Shepherd said in a voice-over.

But why Shonda Rhimes? “Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character — for Meredith, for me and for the fans,” Rhimes says in a statement to E! News. “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.’ ”

“It’s been a remarkable ride,” Dempsey tells TVLine. “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.”

Thankfully for fans of McDreamy, although Dempsey will no longer get hearts racing at Grey Sloan Memorial, ABC promises he’s moving on to better things. “After 11 seasons on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ Patrick Dempsey is moving on to pursue other interests,” ABC says in a statement to E! News. “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.”

While the Twitterverse aired out their disbelief and heartbreak, we’re confident you haven’t seen the last of Dempsey. After all, the opportunities are endless. What project would you like to see him conquer next? Sound off in the comment section below.

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