McDreamy Patrick Dempsey’s Big Return to “Grey’s Anatomy”It’s a good time to be a Grey’s Anatomy fan.
Last week’s season 17 premiere brought fans the biggest surprise we’ve had in years in the form of Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd, five whole years after his death. It was like a shot of adrenaline right when we needed it the most, even as the rest of the show—and even Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) herself, from the looks of it—is dealing with the effects of COVID-19.
The best part is that it sounds like the surprises are not over. In an interview with Deadline, showrunner Krista Vernoff was asked if Meredith’s mother Ellis (played by Kate Burton and who was originally named in the script to keep Dempsey a surprise) could show up on the beach eventually. Here’s what Vernoff said:
“I don’t know. I don’t know. You have to tune in and see who comes to the beach. It’ll be a joyful discovery.”
We don’t know about you, but to us that seems an awful lot like confirmation that Derek won’t be the only one we’ll see on that beach this season.Now, this may be nothing or it may be something, but on IMDb, Dempsey is not the only former star of the series whose years on the show have been updated to include 2020. Burton, Sandra Oh, T.R. Knight, Sara Ramirez, Jessica Capshaw, Jerrika Hinton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Loretta Devine and even Katherine Heigl all are allegedly appearing in some way in 2020, if you ask IMDb.
No one has an actual episode listed in 2020 other than Dempsey, and again, this might mean absolutely nothing at all, but it is giving us something fun to speculate about, especially considering that Meredith has been known to dream of dead or gone friends when she’s on the verge of death. Denny (Morgan) appeared to her when she was drowning alongside Kyle Chandler‘s bomb squad guy (whose IMDb has not been updated to include Grey’s Anatomy in 2020). IMDbNotably missing from this list of potential returnees are Chyler Leigh, Eric Dane, Sarah Drew and Isaiah Washington, but the list does include Michael O’Neill, who played hospital shooter Gary Clark. It wouldn’t not make sense for the guy who almost killed Derek to show up on the beach, but it also wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
It would make the most sense, just given Meredith’s drowning dream, for her to only reunite with dead characters like Ellis, George (Knight), Lexie (Leigh), Mark (Dane) and Denny. But at the same time, when Callie (Ramirez) was nearly dying after her car accident, she dreamed a full hospital musical. Sense might not actually apply here. Anything could happen!
Anyway, we’ll have to wait to find out if any of this is legit or all just a ruse or glitch on the part of IMDb, but either way we’re having fun. In anticipation of somebody showing up on that beach along with Derek, catch up with all the former doctors of Grey’s Anatomy below! Craig Sjodin/ABCIsaiah Washington as Preston BurkeIn season three, Burke abandoned Cristina at the altar and then just took off, eventually winning a Harper Avery award elsewhere and then at some point, moving to Zurich, Switzerland to open his own hi-tech hospital. He got married, started a family, and then in season 10, he invited Cristina to his hospital to take it over for him as he retired.
Isaiah Washington left the series after it was reported that he called costar T.R. Knight a gay slur during an argument on set, and all his defenses just kept making it worse before he finally was let go from the series. Apparently he and ABC made up, because they let him return for a second in 2014. His most significant role since was Thelonious Jaha on The CW’s The 100, until his character died in season five. ABCEdward Herrmann as Intern NormanIntern Norman arrived in season four and had to fend off assumptions that he was an attending, rather than an intern, due to his age. He messed up and told the wrong patient she was dying, and later he collapsed and had a stroke. He had surgery to remove the blood clot, and decided after his surgery that he was going to transfer to psych.
Edward Herrmann, a fairly legendary actor, is mostly widely known as Richard Gilmore on Gilmore Girls. He also appeared in several episodes of The Good Wife, Harry’s Law, and even American Dad before his death in 2014. ABCKali Rocha as Sydney HeronSydney was the perky resident who took over for Bailey during her maternity leave and drove everyone crazy with her perkiness. She even went on a date with Derek at one point, but sort of disappeared in early season four after that date.
The star most recently starred on Liv and Maddie and Man with a Plan. Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty ImagesT.R. Knight as George O’MalleyOne of the biggest tearjerkers on this list. At the end of season five, George had just decided to enlist as a trauma surgeon in the army and was on his way to do so when he saved a woman from getting hit by a bus, and was hit himself. He was in such bad shape when he got to the hospital that no one recognized him until he used his finger to write his nickname, 007, in Meredith’s hand. They were unable to save him, and he tragically died.
After several tumultuous seasons behind the scenes (including Isaiah Washington using the f-word while allegedly referring to Knight), T.R. Knight struggled with some of George’s storylines and the fact that George barely appeared in the beginning of season five, and asked to be released from his contract. Knight returned to Shondaland in 2017 for an arc on The Catch, and has also appeared on The Good Wife, 11.22.63, and Genius, among other series. In 2019, he appeared on The Bravest Knight and will appear next in the HBO Max series The Flight Attendant with Kaley Cuoco.Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty ImagesBrooke Smith as Erica HahnErica Hahn and Callie Torres sort of discovered their sexualities at the same time and started a relationship, and it might have gone somewhere…until Erica learned what Izzie had done with the LVAD wire, and realized that the heart she had stolen for Denny (which was then wasted) was supposed to have gone to one of her own patients. When Callie refused to report the situation, Erica up and left the relationship and her job in early season five.
Brooke Smith went on to appear in Bosch, Bates Motel, Supergirl, The Good Doctor, Chicago Med, and The Good Fight, and the 2019 film Bombshell. Karen Neal/ABC via Getty ImagesBrandon Scott as Intern RyanIntern Ryan disappeared in early season six and Brandon Scott most recently starred on Netflix’s Dead To Me, 13 Reasons Why and This Is Us.Frank Ockenfels/ABCKatherine Heigl as Izzie StevensIzzie Stevens got cancer, married Alex, survived the cancer, and then sorta just disappeared in season six. She eventually returned for a second and admitted she didn’t feel like Seattle was her home anymore. Later, Alex got sent divorce papers, and now we know Izzie secretly had Alex’s twins, lives on a ranch in Kansas, and became a surgical oncologist.
Katherine Heigl’s exit basically began in 2008 when she withdrew her name from Emmy consideration because she didn’t feel like the material deserved it. In 2010, the character disappeared completely. She said in the years since that she would like to return to the character, but Shonda Rhimes did not. “I’m done with that story,” she told TVLine in 2015.
Heigl, then a burgeoning romcom star, went on to star in a few more romcoms before returning to TV with State of Affairs, then Doubt, and more recently, she joined Suits and the 2020 series Firefly Lane.ABCMolly Kidder as Intern MeganFor all the drama that most Grey’s interns tend to cause, Megan managed an impressive amount as she got into a primarily web series-based love triangle with Steve and Pierce, as she was dating Pierce, but slept with Steve, and then Pierce wanted to kill Steve, and Megan got pregnant by Steve, and then she later married Steve, and she hasn’t been seen since season six after Derek rehired her.
Molly Kidder has done a few acting gigs since Grey’s, including a guest spot on Outsourced in 2010 and some independent films.ABCJoseph Williamson as Intern PiercePierce, one corner of the Megan/Pierce/Steve love triangle, was eventually fired in a round of layoffs and left in season six. He has since appeared on shows like Here and Now and the 2019 film Ford v Ferrari with Christian Bale and Matt Damon.Michael Desmond/ABC via Getty ImagesMark Saul as Intern SteveSteve was the other corner of the intern love triangle, eventually marrying Megan and fathering her child. Steve survived the layoffs and made it all the way to season eight, only to never be seen again.
Mark Saul has appeared on other TV shows since his mysterious disappearance from Grey’s, like Franklin & Bash, Mom, The Great Indoors, Grace & Frankie, and Modern Family.ABCSarah Utterback as Nurse OliviaNurse Olivia was laid off during the merger with Mercy West in season six, but returned for a moment in season 14 when her son swallowed a toy while she was visiting her parents in Seattle. Of course, her son was treated by Alex, the guy who once gave her syphilis, and she had a lot of time to talk to Jo, the then-fiancee of the guy who once gave her syphilis.
Sarah Utterback has made a few TV appearances in the years since leaving Grey’s in 2009, including on the shows Reception and Mysteries of Laura. ABCGloria Garayua as Intern GraciellaIntern Graciella was last seen during the hospital shooting at the end of season six, but Gloria Garayua has been working basically nonstop, including a recent arc on How to Get Away with Murder and appearances on S.W.A.T., The Good Doctor, American Housewife, Animal Kingdom, Snowfall, Criminal Minds, NCIS: LA, Anger Management, Bones, and the 2019 miniseries Reckoning. ABCNora Zehetner as Reed AdamsonNora was the first casualty of Gary Clark, who brought a gun to the hospital intending to kill Derek. She died immediately after being shot in the head in season six.
Zehetner appeared in a couple episodes of Mad Men after her Grey’s demise, and recently starred on Designated Survivor and the 2019 series The Right Stuff. Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty ImagesRobert Baker as Charles PercyPercy also died during the season six shooting, though his death was much more drawn out as he was trapped in a room with a patient (Mandy Moore!) and Bailey, and shot at real close range. Bailey did her best to save Percy with help from Mandy Moore, but when the elevators were disabled in the evacuation, he was doomed.
Robert Baker has done just fine ever since, appearing on Riverdale, Modern Family, The Originals, and most recently as Otis Graves on Supergirl. ABCRachael Taylor as Lucy FieldsOBGYN Lucy kinda sorta stole an awesome job in Africa right out from under Alex’s nose, partly because Alex hadn’t even talked to her about the fact that he might move to Africa. So she moved to Africa instead and was never heard from again after season seven.
Rachael Taylor is now best known as Jessica Jones’ pal Trish on Netflix’s Jessica Jones, as well as The Defenders. Karen Neal/ABC via Getty ImagesKate Walsh as Addison MontgomeryAddison, the woman who began as Derek Shepherd’s bitter estranged wife and eventually became a fan fave with her own spinoff, was last seen on Grey’s Anatomy in that somewhat controversial musical episode in season seven, when she helped save Callie after her car accident. She also appeared in the 2012 episode where Meredith imagined that her mother was still alive and happily married to Richard, while Derek and Addison were still unhappily married.
She ended Private Practice married to Jake (Benjamin Bratt) with a son, Henry.
She went on to appear in Fargo, have her own short-lived show Bad Judge, star as a grieving mother in 13 Reasons Why, and help bring about the end of the world in The Umbrella Academy. She also stars on the 2020 show Emily in Paris.Adam Larkey/ABCChyler Leigh as Lexie GreyLexie, Meredith’s perky half-sister, is another major tearjerker, as she died in one of the most devastating storylines the show has ever had: the plane crash. She never even made it back to the hospital (then called Seattle Grace) alive, as she died out there in the woods after being crushed by part of the plane while the love of her life, Mark Sloan, cried over her.
Chyler Leigh starred in the hilariously named series Taxi Brooklyn before taking on the role of the badass Alex Danvers on Supergirl. Randy Holmes/ABCEric Dane as Mark SloanMark, aka McSteamy, also died in the plane crash of season eight, but not immediately. He made it back to the hospital and lived for a few days, but his injuries were too severe, and he was eventually unplugged, and went to be with Lexie in the afterlife. The hospital is now named in his and Lexie’s honor after the rest of the plane crash survivors bought it with the money they won from suing it.
Eric Dane left the show to star in TNT’s The Last Ship, which ended after five seasons in November 2018. He currently stars on the HBO series Euphoria with Zendaya and Storm Reid.Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty ImagesCharles Michael Davis as Jason MyersRemember that OGYN resident who Jo dated back in season nine? They got into a fight after he found out about all the things she hadn’t told him, and the fight turned physical, landing Jason in the hospital after he fell and hit his head. Alex convinced him not to press charges against Jo, and then he was never seen again.
Charles Michael Davis went on to star in The Originals on The CW, then Younger on TV Land, then For the People on ABC, and Chicago P.D. on NBC. So he’s doing fine. ABC/RON TOMTina Majorino as Heather BrooksQuirky intern Heather died in season 10 during the huge storm, after she was electrocuted while trying to help Richard Webber.
Tina Majorino most recently appeared on CBS’ Scorpion.ABCGeena Davis as Nicole HermanDr. Herman became Arizona’s unreasonably demanding mentor in fetal surgery, though she seemed a lot more reasonable when Arizona learned about Nicole’s massive terminal brain tumor. Amelia fixed the tumor, but Herman lost her eyesight and ended up leaving in season 11. However, she returned to help Arizona leave the show at the end of season 14 by offering her grant money to open a center for women’s health in New York.
Geena Davis starred in the Fox series The Exorcist in 2016, before her final return to Grey’s. In recent years, she has had recurring roles on Netflix’s GLOW and the animated She-Ra reboot series.Ron Tom/ABCSandra Oh as Cristina YangWho? We joke.
Cristina Yang went through a seriously tough time after the plane crash, and it took a long time for her to fully recover. Then she lost the Harper Avery award, discovered that while working at that hospital she could never win the award, and began to realize she might need to move on. Her long ago love Preston Burke then invited her to Zurich to run the cutting edge hospital he had opened, so he could retire with his family. She left, after one last dance party with Meredith, in season 10.
Sandra Oh is currently one of the biggest TV stars, starring as Eve in the critically acclaimed BBC America series Killing Eve, for which she has won a Golden Globe. Like Geena Davis, she too also has a recurring role on Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. She also also lends her voice to a character on Robert Kirkman‘s animated series Invincible.Richard Cartwright/ABCGaius Charles as Shane RossShane was the cocky intern turned resident who nearly killed himself working too much, but he got close to Cristina and asked if he could follow her to Zurich, which he then did.
Gaius Charles, also known as Friday Night Lights‘ beloved Smash Williams, starred in the shows Aquarius and Taken, and most recently appeared on CBS’ God Friended Me.
ABCRandy Holmes/ABC via Getty ImagesPatrick Dempsey as Derek ShepherdDerek Shepherd had a rough couple of seasons as he got a job working for Barack Obama in Washington DC and tried to make Meredith and the family come with him. She refused and they lived apart for a while, until he decided to make things right and move home to do the job more remotely. Just as he and Mer were happy again, he was on his way back to tie up some loose ends and happened upon a massive car accident. He spent hours taking care of the victims, only to then be hit by a truck as soon as he got back into his own car. The doctors at the hospital where the ambulance took him were unprepared for trauma and failed to get a head CT, so Meredith had to pull the plug. That was in season 11.
Patrick Dempsey said that he left the show because “it was hard to keep the storylines intriguing” and he wanted to have more time to spend with his family, and he asked to be let out of his contract early. Since the end of his time on Grey’s, he starred in Bridget Jones’ Baby, a miniseries called The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, the show Devils, and commercials where he reminds us he was once a TV doctor. He will also star in a rumored sequel to Enchanted.
He shockingly returned to Grey’s for a series of dream sequences in season 17.Richard Cartwright/ABCTessa Ferrer as Leah MurphyOh Leah Murphy. This poor resident went through a whole lot before getting fired in season 10 because she just wasn’t cut out to be a surgeon. Then out of nowhere, she returned in season 13 to work with Maggie. A few episodes later, just as suddenly, she was gone again.
Tessa Ferrer also starred in the Hulu adaptation of World War II miniseries Catch-22 with George Clooney. Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty ImagesSara Ramirez as Callie TorresCallie left Grey Sloan when her somewhat controversial girlfriend Penny got a fancy fellowship in New York. After losing a truly devastating custody battle with Arizona, she was going to stay in Seattle, but Arizona had a change of heart and sent her on her way with Sofia at the end of season 12.
Sara Ramirez left to take a new gig on CBS’ Madame Secretary. She also portrayed Queen Miranda on the Disney animated series Sofia the First.ABCSamantha Sloyan as Penelope BlakePenelope’s time at Grey Sloan was rough from start to finish. She arrived as Callie’s new girlfriend with the reputation as one of the doctors who had killed Derek Shepherd, and found herself having to work for a grumpy Meredith. Then when she got a prestigious job in New York and Callie decided to follow her, she set off the devastating custody battle between Callie and Arizona. Last we heard, she and Callie had broken up (hence Arizona’s moving to New York), but that relationship was always doomed.
Samantha Sloyan went on to star in The Haunting of Hill House as Leigh, and appeared on shows such as SEAL Team and The Rookie.ABCMarika Domincyzk as Eliza MinnickIn Season 13, Minnick arrived to take over for Richard Webber in teaching the residents, but literally everyone hated her (Meredith even got suspended over it), and she was fired when she was so obsessed with protocol that she neglected to tell the police that a resident was unaccounted for during a fire. Stephanie nearly died!
Marika Domincyzk later joined ABC’s short-lived Whiskey Cavalier, alongside her husband (and Grey’s alum) Scott Foley. ABCJerrika Hinton as Stephanie EdwardsStephanie decided to go off and explore, trying something new at the end of season 13 after almost dying in a fire, after months of exhaustion and grieving over her dead boyfriend Kyle (Wilmer Valderrama), and also after a whole childhood of being in a hospital.
Jerrika Hinton went on to star in the short-lived HBO drama Here and Now in 2018, and also joined the cast of the Amazon series Hunters as a nazi hunter. ABCMartin Henderson as Nathan RiggsNathan left Grey Sloan in early season 14 when his greatest dream came true and his fiancee, Megan Hunt, returned from being held captive for a decade. Together, they moved to LA with the kid she had adopted while overseas. It broke up his blossoming relationship with Meredith, but it was a heck of a happy ending for Riggs.
Martin Henderson (who, fun fact, appeared in Britney Spears‘ video for “Toxic”) later appeared in the series Virgin River.Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC. Watch Daily Pop weekdays at 11 a.m., only on E!Read More
McDreamy Patrick Dempsey’s Big Return to “Grey’s Anatomy”It’s a good time to be a Grey’s Anatomy fan.