Did Grey’s Anatomy Doom Itself To Cancellation By Killing Off Patrick Dempsey’s Character?

Grey’s Anatomy made a surprising move this past season to kill off one of the show’s most beloved roles. The program is currently in its 11th season. Though Grey’s Anatomy isn’t at the rock solid level in ratings it once enjoyed, it’s still the top with 18- to 49-year-olds.

The producers at Grey’s ended Dr. Derek Shepherd’s TV run in a catastrophic car crash. Right after aiding victims of another crash that happened before his eyes and leaving the scene, he met ultimate irony by then getting hit by a tractor-trailer. An incompetent hospital staff botched his recovery. He was later taken off life support and died in Meredith Grey’s arms.

Saying Farewell After 11 Years of Dr. Derek Shepherd

The producers broke fans’ hearts and might have doomed the future of the show. Patrick Dempsey played Shepherd, who was also known as McDreamy. Fans put together petitions hoping to get Dempsey back for Grey’s Anatomy‘s next season. Unless the show really changes course to a spiritual or time travel theme, that will be hard to do.

When questioned about the move, executive producer and writer Shonda Rhimes is positive in a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter.

“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.”

Dempsey has been involved with Grey’s Anatomy since it started. Over the course of many seasons he married, adopted a child, and had children with protagonist Meredith Grey. He was a key character over the years. His impact will be hard to replace. Future episodes may revolve around what happens to the baby born after his death and the other two children.

Grey’s Anatomy heads into Season 12 this September. It will remain in ABC’s Thursday night lineup, coming right before the other Shonda Rhimes produced programs, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Though we may not see him in Grey’s Anatomy anymore, don’t be surprised if Dempsey shows up as a character in Rhimes’ other shows.

[Photo by Harold Cunningham / Getty Images]

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