Grey's Anatomy has lost another one of its major cast members. Patrick Dempsey is leaving the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter based on an Entertainment Weekly story that was sent to print subscribers today. The actor was written off of the series on Thursday's episode.
Dempsey, onscreen wife/coworker Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, Jr. were the only remaining cast members from the original season of Grey's Anatomy, which premiered in 2005.
In last week's episode, Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd was absent, with Meredith Grey (Pompeo) freaking out about why he missed a meeting. According to the promo for tonight's episode, he's busy helping victims of a car crash.
[SPOILER ALERT! The following contains information from Thursday's episode, "How to Save a Life" on how Dempsey was written out. You've been warned.]
While helping the victims of the crash, he gets hit by a truck and lands in critical condition at the hospital. Meredith makes the decision to take him off life support. Read the full recap here.
ABC announced Thursday that next week they'll air a two-hour episode of Grey's Anatomy, followed by the season finale a week later. It's strange to mix up the schedule so late in the season -- a hint that they're predicting fan fallout?
"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."
ABC also released a statement about why Dempsey left:
"After 11 seasons on Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey is moving on to pursue other interests. Dr. Derek Shepherd is an iconic character and we've been proud to be the home of 'McDreamy' and the 'Mer/Der' love story. The devotion of Grey's fans throughout the years has been a testament to the creative mind of Shonda Rhimes and Dempsey's talent. 'McDreamy' will be greatly missed and we wish Patrick the very best in his future endeavors."
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