There are long-running TV shows, and then there's Grey's Anatomy. ABC's medical drama is currently in the midst of its whopping 17th season in the air, incorporating the COVID-19 pandemic into its storyline. This season has seen Meredith once again fighting for her life, while she's been visited in her dream beach sequences by alumni like T.R. Knight and Patrick Dempsey. And the latter actor recently gave an interview that is freaking Grey's fans out.

Given Grey's Anatomy's long tenure on the air, there's a massively devoted fanbase. After all, many of us have been watching the drama at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital since back in 2005. Said fandom was thrilled to see the return of McDreamy this season, but Patrick Dempsey's most recent press appearance has fans worrying. Because when asked if he expects Grey's to continue after Season 17, he cryptically responded:

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months.

Do you hear that sound? It's Grey's Anatomy fans everywhere collectively coding. Because while the show has changed so much in its nearly two decades on the air, it's hard to imagine it finally coming to an end. Suddenly Meredith's current health issues feel so much more ominous.

Patrick Dempsey's comments from his appearance on ET Canada definitely turned a few heads. While Grey's Anatomy was never expected to run forever, there's thus far been no indication of Season 17 being the final installment. But McDreamy seems to have insider knowledge, especially since he recently reprised his role during Meredith's beach vision. And Grey's fans are starting to freak out.

One Grey's Anatomy viewer clipped Patrick Dempsey's comments about the show's future past the current season. They shared it along with their thoughts, saying:

The tears are already coming, even if they're just on an emoji. In all seriousness Patrick Dempsey's latest conversation about Grey's Anatomy certainly has some fans worried about the show finally coming to an end with Season 17. Because while we all knew that Meredith's time on the small screen would come to an end someday, ABC and company haven't promoted the current season as the last.

The comments section from Patrick Dempsey's interview featured a few concerned Grey's Anatomy fans who made their feelings known. One distressed commenter posted,

He knows something... and I have a feeling it's bad news????

Say it ain't so, Shonda Rhimes. If Grey's Anatomy is truly ending in Season 17 it certainly puts Meredith's plot line in new context. After caring for COVID patients, Ellen Pompeo's character contracted the virus herself. She's spent the entirety of the season thus far in the hospital, often unconscious and spending her time on a beach that isn't real. Will the series end with Meredith dying? That's what some fans are wondering, with another response on the interview reading:

'Ummm it’ll be really interesting to see what will happen in the next few week' REST IN PEACE MEREDITH.

Grey's Anatomy fans are used to a certain amount of emotional distress. A ton of characters have been killed off throughout the course of its run on ABC, including beloved series regulars. Meredith has had a number of near-death experiences herself (bomb, drowning, shooter, plane crash, attacked by a patient) but would they really end Grey's on such a sour note? Only time will tell.

The rumors about Grey's Anatomy ending in Season 17 already went around prior to Patrick Dempsey's comments. Ellen Pompeo has been flirting with the idea of departing the show for years, and there's no Grey's without Meredith. Some fans might even be excited about the beloved property coming to an end. As one person posted on Twitter,

Of course, there's been no official confirmation of Grey's Anatomy ending its run on ABC. In fact, Patrick Dempsey's comments were vague and seemed to indicate that the situation will resolve itself in the coming months. For now the fandom will have to wait for any news, while also tuning in when Grey's returns with another Station 19 crossover event.

If Grey's Anatomy is ending with Season 17, it should be interesting to see if more departed characters return-- and if Patrick Dempsey one again plays dearly departed McDreamy. In the same interview the actor spoke to his return to set, and the safety protocols that went with it. He said,

It was really nice to see everybody, you know, and the intention was right. We really wanted to bring awareness to get people to wear masks and to follow the science. And with that energy that sort of brought us into production in a really positive way. And it was so nice to see everybody and to work with Ellen again. And you know the response has been very positive, so that’s been really rewarding.

Hopefully it's rewarding enough to see Patrick Dempsey play McDreamy again in the future. He's not the only actor that fans are hoping to see return, as folks have been waiting for Sandra Oh's Cristina Yang to pop up since she departed the show back in Season 10. And since dead character are appearing to Meredith in visions, her sister Lexi (Supergirl's Chyler Leigh) would be another great choice.

Grey's Anatomy will return March 11th. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch.

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