Grey’s Anatomy seemingly closed the book on Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 13.
It marked his fourth appearance on the current season and his last one for now.
If you watch Grey’s Anatomy online, you know it found Meredith dreaming about marrying Derek on the beach.
“The intention was to really give people some hope because they are such an iconic couple,” Dempsey dished in a new interview with Variety.
“We’ve lost so many people this year, the thought that we’d have angels hovering around us taking care of us is a good message to send out in such a bleak world that we’re living in.”
“So for all of us, it was a beautiful ending to this story. I’m so grateful that I did it and happy that the fans really loved it.”
The actor initially exited the show in 2015, but he returned on Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 2 when Meredith contracted COVID-19.
In her COVID beach dream, several faces from the past returned to the show, but there was a certain finality to their goodbye on the most recent episode.
“We all cried at the beginning and we hugged each other,” Dempsey said of shooting the last scene.
“It was really for us to get the message out there to wear a mask, take care of yourself. Ellen and I were like, ‘What can we do together to make some impact here?’ That was in the spring around this time last year. It just was a positive action that reverberates into more positive action.”
While the future of the series remains in flux, Dempsey is not closing the door on a potential return down the line.
“Never say never with this show, right? I’m glad we did it this year,” he explained to Variety.
“And Krista Vernoff did a fantastic job telling the story. It was just a great way to give people some hope.”
We only have a handful of episodes left this season, and we will be able to see how the beach affected Meredith when she returns to the land of the living.
What are your thoughts on a potential comeback for Dempsey?
Do you think it would help or hinder the story?
Hit the comments below.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.