Why Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Was Killed Off In Season 11

Gray’s Anatomy has seen many character exits, however probably the most emotional departures was that of Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). However when does Derek die in Gray’s Anatomy, and why did it occur? Gray’s Anatomy follows Meredith Gray (Ellen Pompeo), who viewers have adopted from her days as an intern to changing into Head of Basic Surgical procedure. Audiences additionally witnessed many issues in her private life, together with her relationship with Derek Shepherd, with whom she ultimately constructed a household. Patrick Dempsey’s Derek was in Gray’s Anatomy for the reason that pilot, which is why Derek’s dying in season 11 was such a shock.


Meredith and Derek’s relationship wasn’t straightforward to comply with, however by Patrick Dempsey’s exit from Gray’s Anatomy they had been married with two children and one other due. Then the unthinkable occurred — Derek Shepherd died in Gray’s Anatomy season 11. Derek was provided a job in DC, and relocated part-time towards a backdrop of marital rigidity, ultimately realizing he was depressing with out his household. Simply when normalcy for Meredith and Derek tragedy within the type of a automotive accident on the way in which to handing in his resignation in DC. His accidents left deadly problems, and Meredith determined to take away him from life help, resulting in Derek’s season 11 dying. Derek’s departure was not straightforward for viewers of Gray’s Anatomy, who had been left questioning why Patrick Dempsey left after being a part of the sequence for a decade.

Associated: Gray’s Anatomy: Each Character Who Left The Present & Then Returned

Why Patrick Dempsey Left Gray’s Anatomy In Season 11

Derek dies in Gray’s Anatomy season 11, virtually 10 years after the pilot aired in 2005. He was a central character to each the present and Meredith Gray’s character arc, so it is comprehensible there have been many questions on why Derek was killed off. Such a dramatic second would not occur on a whim. The reply to why Derek Shepheard was in a automotive crash in Gray’s Anatomy comes all the way down to actor Patrick Dempsey. In 2014, Dempsey signed a two-year contract to stay on the sequence for its eleventh and twelfth seasons, that means his contract wasn’t over when Derek was written out of the present. Whereas it appeared like an abrupt departure, Patrick Dempsey had really been pondering of leaving the sequence for some time.

In an interview with Individuals in 2016, Dempsey shared it had been “lengthy sufficient” and it was time for him to maneuver on to different issues, including he “ought to have moved on a few years earlier” and that he “stayed a bit longer” than he ought to have. Dempsey then revealed that the principle cause for him to resolve to go away was that it was too time-consuming. Gray’s Anatomy’s work schedule did not permit him to spend time along with his household.

Dempsey went on to clarify he talked about Derek leaving the present with Shonda Rhimes, and it was clear to each that it was time to let Derek go, although he had no thought how his departure was going to be dealt with. Killing off characters appears to be the go-to answer for the staff behind Gray’s Anatomy, although Rhimes later justified Derek Shepherd’s dying by saying that leaving Meredith wouldn’t have been one thing he would do, and so every thing the sequence established about him would’ve been a lie. Nevertheless, there have been different causes behind his departure from the present.

What The Gray’s Anatomy Producers Mentioned About Patrick Dempsey Leaving

An image of Derek and Meredith looking at each other in Grey's Anatomy

Within the e-book Find out how to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Gray’s Anatomy, former government producers James D. Parriott and Jeannine Renshaw reveal that Derek’s dying in season 11 was, at the very least partly, on account of claims of Dempsey terrorizing the set of the present, allegedly complaining about how time-consuming all of it was. What’s extra, the producers recommend that the actor butted heads with Shonda Rhimes and Gray’s Anatomy main girl Ellen Pompeo.

Within the 2021 e-book (by way of LA Occasions), Parriott was quoted as explaining, “There have been [Human Resources] points… kind of terrorizing the set… He had this maintain on the set the place he knew he may cease manufacturing and scare individuals.” If Dempsey had complaints about scheduling or the way in which scenes had been shot, manufacturing needed to pause to listen to him out. Whereas that ought to be a typical follow on television and movie units, former government producers allege that Dempsey’s disruptions had been just because he felt like he was “executed” with the present at that time. Parriott additional defined that conferences with the community, studio, and actors had been held to debate Dempsey and that he “didn’t just like the inconvenience of coming in on daily basis and dealing.”

Dempsey’s actions precipitated rigidity with each Shonda Rhimes and Ellen Pompeo. Whereas Rhimes was busy attempting to ensure the present ran easily, Pompeo wished all of the actors to be handled pretty and expertise a good distribution of labor. Renshaw defined in interviews that made it into the e-book that Pompeo was annoyed with Dempsey and “would get offended that he wasn’t working as a lot.” There have been episodes wherein Pompeo had “twice as many scenes” as Dempsey and would turn into annoyed along with his complaints about being on set too lengthy.

Whereas Renshaw acknowledged the stress within the e-book, she additionally acknowledged that Dempsey would perceive that he typically wasn’t the particular person on set the longest when complaining concerning the lengthy hours. She stated there have been instances she would remind him, “Go searching you. These individuals have been right here since six-thirty a.m.” and “he would get it.” In the end, it was Shonda Rhimes who went to the community and requested to jot down out his character. Killing off Gray’s Anatomy‘s Derek Shepherd in season 11 wasn’t straightforward for the characters or the viewers, however Dempsey was lastly free to take as many tasks as he wished and spend time along with his household.

How Gray’s Anatomy Introduced Again Patrick Dempsey’s Derek

Derek smiling while standing on the beach in Grey's Anatomy

Though Derek formally died in Gray’s Anatomy season 11, the sequence introduced Patrick Dempsey again for a number of episodes of season 17 as a part of Meredith’s COVID-induced coma. This era of the present noticed Meredith reconnect with a number of deceased Gray’s characters on an ethereal seashore whereas her physique was in important situation. Derek’s return was probably the most poignant, because the episodes noticed him and Meredith get a fantasy wedding ceremony they by no means had in actual life.

The Gray’s Anatomy main girl survived her COVID-19 ordeal, nevertheless it was a touching solution to reconnect Meredith and Derek within the present, if just for a short while. Plus, the episode and its resolution to deliver again Patrick for one final bittersweet hurrah gave viewers at dwelling who had been residing via their very own COVID tales an additional dopamine hit of recognition throughout a recognizably troublesome interval. From Dempsey’s perspective, the return’s nature as a restricted dedication meant that he may present pleasure for followers of the present with out jeopardizing his post-Gray’s freedom.

What Returning To Gray’s Anatomy In Season 17 Was Like For Patrick Dempsey

An image of Meredith and Derek on the beach in Meredith's dream on Grey's Anatomy

Patrick Dempsey won’t have liked the lengthy hours of engaged on Gray’s Anatomy on daily basis, however he didn’t thoughts showing as a visitor star after Derek Shepherd’s dying in season 11. In truth, Dempsey stated he loved the expertise of filming on the seashore. He additionally loved having the ability to give followers slightly escapism in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and slightly closure for Meredith and Derek.

Following the airing of his season 17 episodes, Dempsey advised Selection that “It was a stupendous solution to shut it. The intention was to essentially give individuals some hope… the thought that we’d have angels hovering round us caring for us is an effective message to ship out in such a bleak world we’re residing in.” Whereas Gray’s Anatomy did see some criticism for that includes COVID-19 in its storylines in any respect, Dempsey believed the reunion of Meredith and Derek, and Meredith surviving, gave people who hope.

Dempsey spoke with the press at D23 expo in 2022 and stated he wouldn’t be stunned if Derek confirmed up once more in the way forward for Gray’s Anatomy. He advised the Hollywood Life, “Who is aware of? With this present, you realize, it’s wonderful that it’s gone on so long as it has.” He even acknowledged the fan principle that Derek’s dying had been faked, saying, “They’ll determine some solution to deliver him again,” which feels like he wouldn’t thoughts returning for an additional visitor spot or two.

Associated: All 3 Gray’s Anatomy Spin-Offs Defined (& How They Join)

What Patrick Dempsey Did After Gray’s Anatomy

Patrick Dempsey as Robert Philip in medieval garb in Disenchanted

Now that the query of which season Derek dies has been answered, what has Patrick Dempsey been as much as since leaving Gray’s Anatomy in season 11? Dempsey technically left Gray’s Anatomy in 2015, save for his temporary reappearance in 2020, and since then he is been as much as lots. Straight after Gray’s Anatomy, Dempsey appeared alongside Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth in the 2016 film Bridget Jones’ Child. He additionally appeared within the miniseries The Fact About The Harry Quebert Affair shortly after.

As for different characteristic movies, he additionally reprised his position of Robert Philip within the Disney sequel Disenchanted. His subsequent characteristic movie might be Ferrari, wherein he’ll painting Piero Taruffi. Patrick Dempsey may also be seen on the small display in a predominant position within the TV present Devils, the place he performs Dominic Morgan. Dempsey appears to be thriving after his lengthy stint on Gray’s Anatomy, and his profession will not decelerate any time quickly.

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