The Grey’s Anatomy drama doesn’t end when the cameras stop rolling. Ever since Isaiah Washington’s alleged use of a homophobic slur led to his exit from the series, Shondavision fans have been treated to behind-the-scenes headlines almost as shocking as what’s happening on their screens. And, while fans might have been privy to some of the tension involving Patrick Dempsey ahead of his Season 11 departure, a new unauthorized book makes some pretty strong claims regarding “HR issues” with the actor that resulted in the decision to kill off Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd.
How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy by Lynette Rice is an unauthorized account of the ABC series that claims to reveal new details of some of the medical drama’s most prominent character exits. THR was given an exclusive excerpt of the book, including the chapter involving Patrick Dempsey. The excerpt contains quotes from the cast and crew, including Dempsey himself. The bombshell takeaway regarding Dempsey's on-set behavior comes from executive producer James D. Parriott:
James D. Parriott served as an executive producer on Grey’s Anatomy for 49 total episodes. While initially leaving the show in 2006, he was brought back in 2015, reportedly to oversee Patrick Dempsey’s exit. Parriott’s comments and the excerpt as a whole don’t seem to be an attempt to demonize Dempsey — there are tons of compliments from his co-stars as well — but Jeannine Renshaw, an executive producer on 72 episodes from 2011-2014, similarly described some of the frustrations, particularly in regard to series star Ellen Pompeo.
Patrick Dempsey said he was in a tough situation, being grateful to have such a long-standing role with a universally adored character, but as an actor, he admitted he grew increasingly impatient with the filming schedule:
Once the decision was made for Patrick Dempsey to leave the ABC medical drama, James D. Parriott said they talked about three different scenarios for Derek Shepherd: he could stay in D.C., he could come back to Meredith in Seattle, or he could die. Stacy McKee, a producer on Grey’s Anatomy from Seasons 4-14, said there was only one option that seemed to work:
How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy hits shelves September 21, just nine days ahead of Grey’s Anatomy Season 18, which will premiere at 9 p.m. ET, Thursday, September 30 on ABC. Check out our 2021 fall TV schedule to find out the upcoming premiere dates for all of your favorite shows.
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