Grey’s Anatomy actor Patrick Dempsey: Response to Derek’s return has been overwhelming

Patrick Dempsey shared that it was quite a task to keep a lid on the surprise return but they are glad to have pulled it off. His character Derek Shepherd will be seen throughout this season of Grey's Anatomy.

Fans of the long-running medical drama Grey’s Anatomy could not contain their excitement during the season premiere a few days ago as one of the most beloved characters of the show, Derek Shepherd, returned to the screen after five seasons.

Patrick Dempsey, who plays Derek on Grey’s Anatomy, recently appeared on The Ellen Show where he spoke about his return. Patrick shared that he met with Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey, in July and she asked his opinion about returning to the show. Patrick liked the idea for Season 17 and thought “how great it would be for the fans.”

Patrick shared that it was a mammoth task to keep the secret under wraps as Derek’s return was planned as a complete surprise for fans. He said that they felt like the shooting images might get out, but it was a relief when they managed to keep a tight lid on it.

Showrunner Krista Vernoff had earlier shared with Deadline that Derek’s return was a closely-guarded secret and even during the reading of the episode, his name was replaced with Ellis Grey, Meredith’s dead mother. The script that was circulated to the larger cast and crew had no mention of Patrick’s name, and everyone assumed that Meredith was talking to her dead mother in those near-death dreams.

Patrick said that the audience’s “response has been incredibly overwhelming and very moving.” When asked about his appearance in the episodes of Season 17, Patrick did not reveal a number but said that Derek “comes back throughout the season.”

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In the Season 17 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith collapsed in the parking lot of the hospital and in her dream state, she reunited with her dead husband Derek on a dreamy beach. This season of Grey’s Anatomy is set amid the ongoing pandemic.

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