WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!
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Alright, you must really want to know what went down in Grey’s Anatomy. The US hospital drama left viewers in America reeling last night when one of its major characters – neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd (played by Patrick Dempsey) – was killed off.
Derek, known affectionately by fans as “McDreamy”, had recently been the subject of anxiety among fans when last week’s episode saw the dashing doctor M.I.A. after departing on a planned trip to Washington, before viewers watched a police car pull into wife Meredith’s drive in the closing moments.
After a long and arduous seven-day wait, yesterday’s instalment revealed Derek had been waylaid on his way to the airport by a car crash. Checking the victims were OK, he got back into his vehicle only to be hit by an oncoming truck.
Rushed to hospital, he is awake but unable to speak or tell his doctors what to do, resulting in some serious protocol errors which leave him brain dead. Summoned to the hospital, Meredith – who has been his on-off romance since the series’ very first episode – takes the decision alone to turn off her husband’s life support. “Derek, you go,” she says, touching his cheek before remembering their best moments together as his pulse stops.
In a word: heartbreaking. And unexpected – Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo (who plays Meredith) were believed to have signed two-year deals in January 2014 which would have kept the actor on the show until the end of next series.
Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes wrote the episode – her first since the traumatic series eight finale plane crash – and has released a statement bidding farewell to her beloved creation:
“Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character – for Meredith, for me and for the fans. I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our ‘McDreamy.’ Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example – happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true – of what young women should demand from modern love.
“His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire Grey’s Anatomy family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning.”
While it’s no Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy has form when it comes to killing off its major characters. Among those to meet their maker during the medical drama’s eleven series are George O’Malley (played by T.R. Knight), Mark Sloan (Eric Danes), Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and Heather Brooks (Tina Majorino), with Izzie Stephens (Katherine Heigl), Preston Burke (Isaiah Washinton), Christina Yang (Sandra Oh) and Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) also exiting the series.
US viewers have taken to Twitter overnight, sharing their dismay at the departure of McDreamy:
— Rebecca (@becslawson8) April 24, 2015
— Shelley-Marie (@Shelley_xoxo) April 24, 2015
— In My Feelings (@LexSwift) April 24, 2015
— FriendsShow (@FriendsShow) April 24, 2015
If you can bring yourself to watch, the episode is set to air in the UK on Wednesday 6th May on Sky Atlantic