It's fun, if a bit unnerving, to watch the insensitive interns of Grey's Anatomy trip all over each other for a shot at handling Seattle Grace Hospital's bizarro-medical-case-of-the-week. (A man with ovaries? A guy addicted to injuring himself because he likes scars? The sicker the patient, the more excited they get!) And all the while, everyone's hiding secret crushes and secret shagging. And secret wives. Yeah, I'm talking about you, Dr. Derek Shepherd (who is never to be confused, handsome looks aside, with Lost's Dr. Shephard aka Jack). TVGuide.com recently spoke with Patrick Dempsey about Grey's bombshells, Boston Legal and his successful return to the pop culture limelight.
TVGuide.com: I can't believe you pulled the old, "Oops, did I forget to mention my wife?" bit on poor Meredith in the finale!
Patrick Dempsey: [Laughs] I know! The [new] season [premiering Sept. 25] opens right at that climax where we left off, and there are fireworks. A lot of fireworks. Actually, they didn't mean it to end there; it was going to continue to play itself out, but we ended up not showing five episodes that we had already shot, so it keeps building instead. There are even more twists and turns that come along.
TVGuide.com: The show was somewhat of a surprise hit. What's the mind-set over there now?
Dempsey: Shonda [Rhimes, creator/executive producer] said she didn't know if we were ever going to do more than nine or 12 episodes, so she told us to "just do everything you can," and I think that's still our philosophy going into this year — just write like it's the last show that you're going to be in and hopefully, the fans will be loyal and we don't disappoint them with the stories.
TVGuide.com: So which lady is going to be more disappointed, Meredith or Derek's missus?
Dempsey: I think they both are. There are a number of people who are extremely disappointed.
TVGuide.com: I bet the boys over on Boston Legal were pretty disappointed too, seeing as you kicked them off of Sunday night.
Dempsey: [Boston Legal has] a great cast and it's well written… even though we kicked their asses. We literally got calls the next day joking, "We're out of our time slot! Screw you!" But seriously, there's a great camaraderie amidst all of it, everybody supports each other. And I think their show will do much better on a different night, certainly. I'm happy to see that James [Spader] can remodel his house now and not worry about unemployment. I've known him for years, and he's happy and he's cool. It's all good.
TVGuide.com: Perhaps Lisa Kudrow [of HBO's The Comeback] should come to you for tips. You certainly made a hell of a comeback. Sorry, I know actors hate that word.
Dempsey: Yeah, it took a combination of things to get to this point. It started with [my role on] Once and Again, and probably Will & Grace helped, as well as The Practice, and then certainly [the 2002 film] Sweet Home Alabama. Then this great [Grey's Anatomy] character came at just the right time. And I've been around for 90 years too!
TVGuide.com: Since you brought it up, the years have been kind to you. The consensus is that the older — sorry, I know actors hate that word even more — Patrick is even better than the teen Patrick.
Dempsey: I have a great wife who has a lot of great beauty products. [Laughs] Plus, I've always been a late bloomer.