Another Patrick Dempsey Grey's Anatomy Return? Here's What The McDreamy Actor Says

Grey's Anatomy's Patrick Dempsey
(Image credit: ABC)

If there is one thing that ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy is good at, it's heart-wrenching drama and the current season is certainly not failing to deliver. Season 17 of the medical drama has reflected our real-world troubles in that Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith came down with COVID and while unconscious, dreamed of her long-dead husband Derek, played by fan favorite Patrick Dempsey. Now that Meredith is on the road to recovery, Dempsey has taken his second exit from the show - but will it be his last?

McDreamy’s return after being killed off in Season 11 was, of course, well received by fans, as the character had been with the show from the very start and was a favorite. His return being popular, but short lived, Patrick Dempsey has weighed in on the possibility of another return for Derek during an interview with Variety. Although there is not one planned as of now, Dempsey admits that where Grey’s Anatomy is concerned, pretty much anything is possible. Here it is in the Enchanted actor’s own words:

Who knows? Never say never with this show, right? I’m glad we did it this year. And Krista Vernoff did a fantastic job telling the story. It was just a great way to give people some hope.

Ain’t that the truth! Over the years, some unbelievable things have happened on Grey’s Anatomy, including deceased characters seemingly coming back. While this season’s return of McDreamy is one such example, one can’t help but be reminded of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Denny Duquette. The ill-fated character would return regularly, in some form or another, far after his death. Although he died in Season 2, his last appearance was well into Season 5.

Much like how Meredith’s beach dreams of Derek stemmed from COVID, Denny’s post-death reappearance was the product of a loved one’s brain tumor. Even more similar, both tall dark and handsome men’s appearances ceased after the disease/virus was fixed in their partners. However, Denny did appear once to Meredith, who was not suffering from an illness. This may be evidence to support Patrick Dempsey returning again, even if for only an episode.

Certainly, weirder things have happened on Grey’s Anatomy, and it seems like Patrick Dempsey would be welcomed back with open arms. When the actor recently made his second exit from the show, it was apparently pretty emotional for the cast and crew. They got a taste of what it was like to have Dempsey back, and they may just want to relive that experience further on down the road.

So while there doesn’t seem to be any plans for McDreamy reentering the script for now, it doesn’t seem that anyone has ruled out another appearance from Patrick Dempsey if the show continues to run. Although Dempsey may be done for the season, Season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy is still going strong, and you can catch Episode 14 next Thursday, May 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC or even stream the season.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.