Ellen Pompeo Defends the Decision to Kill Derek on Grey's Anatomy: "You Don't Want Him to Be a Bad Guy"

Ellen Pompeo and her co-stars Caterina Scorsone and Kelly McCreary agree that McDreamy had to die in order for Patrick Dempsey to leave the show

By Kristin Dos Santos, Sydney Bucksbaum Aug 05, 2015 5:21 PMTags
Watch: Ellen Pompeo Spills on "Grey's Anatomy" Heartbreak Death

Now that we finally know why Shonda Rhimes decided to kill off Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd (Patrick Demspey) on Grey's Anatomy in the most heartbreaking way possible, it's time to get Mrs. McDreamy's side of the story!

E! News caught up with Ellen Pompeo, aka Meredith Grey, at the 2015 Summer TCA press tour after Rhimes revealed that Derek dying was the only way that Dempsey could be written off the show during the #TGIT panel. And Pompeo defended her boss' decision, even though she knew it was going to be tough on the fans. 

"It's called a drama for a reason," Pompeo tells E! News. "It sort of has to be big and dramatic."


"I mean, I'm not a writer. But we had a lot of discussions about the aftermath and the onslaught of death threats [Rhimes] received and things," Pompeo says. "And it's true. There's only certain ways you can do that. When Sandra Oh left, which was equally devastating, if the character is still alive, then the audience can never let go of that character and then they always want them to come back. 'Is she going to come back? Is she going to come back?' So I think knowing that he did an amazing 11 seasons and was ready to move on, you can't have that. And you can't have his character, like she said, be a bad guy. You don't want him to be a bad guy and leave his family."

Of course, knowing that death was the only way for Derek go to didn't make watching that gut wrenching, heartbreaking episode any easier.

"I knew it was going to be huge, of course. I think we all did," Pompeo says. "Patrick was an integral part of the show and it was huge for the fans. I think we knew it was pretty big. It was very hard for everyone."

Press play on our exclusive video above now to see what else Pompeo had to say about Derek's death and where this leaves Meredith for season 12!

Watch: Why'd Shonda Rhimes Kill Off "Grey's Anatomy" Love?

And Pompeo's not alone! Her co-stars Kelly McCreary and Caterina Scorsone also caught up with E! News to defend Rhimes' controversial decision to kill off Derek. Press play on our exclusive video above now to see what they had to say!

Grey's Anatomy returns for season 12 this fall on ABC.