TCA: Shonda Rhimes Opens Up About McDreamy's Death on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Related: Complete Coverage of TCA Summer Press Tour

Beverly Hills, Calif. — Shonda Rhimes addressed Tuesday the much talked about death of Patrick Dempsey’s character Derek on Grey’s Anatomy.

“Meredith [Ellen Pompeo] and Derek’s love had to remain Meredith and Derek’s love,” said Rhimes, who executive produces Grey’s Anatomy, during an ABC TCA summer press tour panel.  

The showrunner said that she had to remain true to the character and the options she had to write him out of the storyline.

She added that they had a lot of discussions about Dempsey’s departure.

“It wasn’t easy,” she said.

Rhimes, whose Emmy-nominated Shondaland banner will have four shows on air this fall — Grey’s, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder and The Catch, also fielded questions about her legacy.

“I don’t know that I’m thinking of that as much as I am thinking of the work we’re doing,” she said. “I certainly don’t think anything about legacy.”

Viola Davis, who earned an Emmy nod for her role in How to Get Away With Murder, echoed Rhimes’ sentiments.

“If you are in this business for awards, you are in the wrong business,” said Davis, adding that the accolades are a testament to the quality of the work.

Jessika Walsten

Jessika is content engagement director of Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV. She has been with the brands in various roles since 2013. In her current role, she works primarily behind the screen, keeping an eye on the website and fixing any site bugs. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects for NextTV, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.