"Grey's Anatomy" showrunner Shonda Rimes has never been shy about having shocking plot twists on any of her shows. Such is the case with Thursday's episode of the longrunning medical drama, which saw (SPOILER if you haven't seen it all over the internet) Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepherd, one of the remaining original characters, die in a car accident. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dempsey revealed the development only came along recently, back in February or March, and despite his having recently signed a two year contract extension. He seemed very, well, practical, about the departure, saying filming his exit was "just like any other day" and that he hadn't taken any souvenirs from set because the memories were more important.
Rimes, for her part, issued a quick statement, saying, "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. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning.”
"Grey's" is unusual both in how long it's lasted (it's currently in its 11th season) and in how much of the original cast is still intact. Stars Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers and James Pickens Jr. have all been on the program since it premiered, though of course it's had some rather infamous departures over the years.
Speaking of Entertainment Weekly, they seem to have accidentally spoiled the big surprise death. Vulture reports that one fan received a copy of the magazine (and its exclusive Dempsey interview) before the episode aired and posted about it on Instagram to complain. And if that's not enough gossip for you, Page Six also reported earlier in the week that Dempsey's "diva" behavior was getting him in trouble with Rimes, and heavily hinted that he'd be leaving the show, though of course his rep denied that the story was true.