Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey
After a miscarriage, a near fatal gunshot wound and other heart-stopping moments in the Season 6 finale of Grey's Anatomy, it stands to reason that Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) may be journeying uphill in their relationship when the medical drama returns.
Grey's Anatomy: Find out who's walking down the aisle
When we catch up with the doctors of Seattle Grace, the series has jumped ahead in time. However, Meredith hasn't clued Derek in on her miscarriage in the aftermath of the shooting rampage at the hospital.
"I know she's been avoiding telling Derek about that miscarriage, but eventually she does," Pompeo tells TVGuide.com.
"He's devastated because I think he's the one who wants the child more than she does in many ways," Dempsey says about Derek's discovery, adding that his character may be pushing for a baby in Season 7. "It's life-affirming for him, so I think he would definitely want to have a child and develop his house and things like that."
The consequences of Season 6 will make the doctors grow up this season, as executive producer Shonda Rhimes first told us.
"I love that," Pompeo gushes on set as we pass on that news. "I love that she said that. That's fantastic. It is very exciting to see them in a more adult way."
Shonda Rhimes: Grey's Anatomy docs all grown up in new season
"I'm sure it's healthy," Pompeo continues on what we'll see for Meredith and Derek this season. "Hopefully we'll explore things that real couples go through with the decision to have a child, balancing the child with work and careers, and whose career is more important; however that goes."
Seeing a healthy relationship is a blessing for Dempsey, who had struggled with the couple continually being ripped apart. "There's no way we can play that 'are they together or aren't they' anymore," he says. "I told Shonda that we have to either break them up or put them together and let them be in a healthy relationship, or at least really fighting hard to communicate."
Another obstacle for the couple in Season 6 was the introduction of April Kepner (Sarah Drew), who took a shine to Derek, the then-fearless leader of the hospital. Pompeo thinks that crush has been, well, crushed.
Grey's Anatomy's Ellen Pompeo: Meredith becomes the caretaker in Season 7
"I don't think they're going to pursue that at all," she says. "From a writing standpoint, they can't really do that because then the audience won't accept Sarah's character."
Adds Dempsey: "The audience wants Derek to be who he is. They want him to be the guy who's understanding and is always there for Meredith, so there's not going to be any major shake-ups with him. I don't think people want that. I think people want the security from him being who he is."
So when might we actually see a McBaby? Dempsey thinks the audience will be waiting awhile.
How many new docs will scrub into Grey's? Zero, says Rhimes
"We've got two more seasons," he says. "So I think they'll struggle with it, and then probably not this season, but next season they'll maybe have a child. It won't happen that quickly."
Grey's Anatomy returns for its seventh season Thursday, Sept. 23 at 9/8c on ABC.