Grey’s Anatomy has been known to shock fans with interesting medical cases and surprising character exits. But no major character death was as shocking as the exit of Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) in the latest episode, “How to Save a Life.”
After fans recovered from the episode, it should have only taken a moment to realize that Dr. Shepherd’s death may have been a long time coming. After all, there were plenty of signs that Dempsey was ready to move on after being on the hit ABC drama for 11 seasons.
Dempsey’s character had been absent lately on the show. Derek took a job in Washington back in November, which took him off screens, and only recently came back home after Meredith caught him (kind of) cheating on her with a research assistant. The pair worked things out and everything was starting to look good, but then Derek came up missing after he failed to show up at a meeting in Washington.
To add further credence to the rumors that he was leaving, Dempsey talked about his character’s future on Grey’s Anatomy last year with the Portland Press Herald. In that interview he stated that he would be gone from the show “very soon.”
Additionally, Dempsey, who is currently going through a divorce with Jillian Fink, explained the show’s impact on his life, saying the show “has been a blessing for me and has allowed me to do all of this. But it’s transitional for me right now. I’m looking forward to the next thing, creatively.”
But now rumors are surfacing that it may not have actually been his decision alone to exit the show. Page Six reported earlier this week that Dempsey had been acting like a diva on set. Which could mean a pink slip from any Shonda Rhimes show.
“Patrick has been acting like a diva and has clashed with Shonda. She suspended him for a while, and the word on set is that he isn’t coming back full time,” an inside source explained to Page Six. “Given all the past problems with Katherine Heigl and Isaiah Washington, there is little tolerance on the show for troublesome talent.”
The show and Dempsey’s representative even tried to keep the death so far under wraps that they even responded to the Page Six story by telling Us Weekly that the rumors of his departure were false.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday nights on ABC.
[Photo via Twitter/Grey’s Anatomy]