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Earlier this year, one of TV’s most recognized romances came to a sudden and hardcore ending when Grey’s Anatomy said farewell to Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd after he was killed off by fatal injuries following an 18-wheeler plowing into his car. Rumors spread like wildfire over why it happened, with many fingers pointed at creator Shonda Rhimes, who came out and admitted she has no problems killing off characters if she doesn’t like the actor. So how does actor Patrick Dempsey feel about that confession?
I think she loves being provocative and that’s fine for who she is. That gets people talking about all the stuff that she’s doing. She’s an amazing woman who is incredibly productive. She’s promoting a book. She’s promoting three shows. And she’s emerging as the star of all of these things. I think she knows how to deal with the media and what she needs to say to get the response that she’s looking for. She’s very savvy.
Boy, talk about savvy. That answer is a pretty down-the-line response, offering up mostly provable generalizations without Dempsey actually saying how he feels about any of it. To be fair, it isn’t a set-in-stone fact that Rhimes was talking about Dempsey when she made those remarks, but there were lots of stories about behind-the-scenes show drama that led people to infer Dempsey being at least one of the people she was referring to. I guess it’s not surprising that Dempsey chose to make his comment as impersonal as possible, as well as keeping to the higher ground by sounding complimentary about Rhimes’ publicity tactics.
Rhimes likely knows it wouldn’t be wise to directly attack Dempsey or his character, as McDreamy played a large part in the show’s success over the years. Hell, many viewers are turning in specifically to see where that story has gone, especially now that the nurse that was partly responsible for his death is working at Grey-Sloan Memorial. And some still haven’t gotten over it, so we’ll probably be hearing Dempsey/Rhimes stories even after Grey’s Anatomy has ended.
For her part, Rhimes has said in the past that Derek had to die because it was the best way to make sense of his and Meredith’s relationship. (An arguable point.) And his absence also meant that the show could recoup some funds.
It doesn’t appear that Dempsey is interested in keeping that chapter of his life open anymore, as he told EW that racing took over his focus and dedication in 2015, and by the time the episode aired, he was already out of the country and only paid attention to a little bit of the reactions to Derek’s death. Power to him. Here’s hoping he finds new and controversy-free avenues of fame following his role in the upcoming sequel Bridget Jones’ Baby in 2016.