Is Ellen Pompeo Leaving ‘Grey’s Anatomy?’

Shonda Rhimes has plans in the works to ease Ellen Pompeo’s exit from Grey’s Anatomy by focusing on Alzheimer’s disease. Meredith Grey, the show’s central character, has previously tested positive for the Alzheimer’s gene, and it has been teased that the disease might be showing up sooner rather than later, which would allow actor Ellen Pompeo the dramatic exit she desires.

Since the death shocking death of Patrick Dempsey’s character, Dr. Derek Shepherd, on Grey’s Anatomy, the writing has suggested a show without the Dr. Meredith Grey character, played by Ellen Pompeo, was possible, starting with her disappearance following her husband’s death. That paired with the long-standing rumors that actor Pompeo is interested in seeking new roles indicates that Shonda Rimes needs to find a creative way out of Grey’s Anatomy for Dr. Meredith Grey.

With Season 12 slated to start in late September, killing on Meredith Grey through dementia or death by Alzheimer’s would make sense. Meredith is already living with the thought of the disease looming over her thanks to a test in Season 9 indicating risk, and the family history passed down to her through her mother, surgical legend Dr. Ellis Grey. In the last three seasons, anytime Meredith found herself forgetting something, the thought of impending Alzheimer’s disease was on her mind.

Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Shepherd from 'Grey's Anatomy'

Since the sudden death of Dr. Shepherd, Meredith Grey’s flashbacks about her mother and her mental decline have increased on Grey’s Anatomy. Rather than prolong Pompeo’s stay on Grey’s Anatomy by adding a new love interest for Meredith, further cementing her bond with the show, Rhimes will likely now play the dementia card, allowing Pompeo’s exit, and her character, Dr. Meredith Grey. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease would allow Pompeo to leave entirely, or show up throughout the season in guest spots to show her mental decline.

But as usual, Shonda Rhimes continues to tease about what lies ahead for Meredith Grey and the cast of Grey’s Anatomy. She is always a bit cagey, and seldom tips her hand.

“Now, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) 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 (Kate Burton) would say: The carousel never stops turning,” Rhimes said, adding her gratitude to the man who brought the character of Derek Shepherd to life.

Do you think Ellen Pompeo will leave the cast of Grey’s Anatomy this season? Do you think Dr. Meredith Grey will finally succumb to Alzheimer’s disease?

[Photo courtesy of The Wrap]