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SPOILER ALERT: Grey’s Anatomy kicks off Season 17 with a SHOCKING twist fans won’t see coming

Promos for the two-hour Season 17 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy teased a twist that fans wouldn’t see coming, and they certainly delivered, with the unexpected return of a beloved character.

Five years after his tragic death in the Season 11 finale, Patrick Dempsey returned as Derek ‘McDreamy’ Shepard, who came to Meredith Grey in a dream sequence.

After the episode aired, showrunner Krista Vernoff shared behind-the-scenes photos of Dempsey and star Ellen Pompeo reuniting on a beach, with Vernoff also speaking about the twist in a new interview with Deadline

Unexpected: Promos for the two-hour Season 17 premiere of Grey's Anatomy teased a twist that fans wouldn't see coming, and they certainly delivered, with the unexpected return of a beloved character

Unexpected: Promos for the two-hour Season 17 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy teased a twist that fans wouldn’t see coming, and they certainly delivered, with the unexpected return of a beloved character

Behind-the-scenes: After the episode aired, showrunner Krista Vernoff shared behind-the-scenes photos of Dempsey and star Ellen Pompeo reuniting on a beach, with Vernoff also speaking about the twist in a new interview with Deadline

Behind-the-scenes: After the episode aired, showrunner Krista Vernoff shared behind-the-scenes photos of Dempsey and star Ellen Pompeo reuniting on a beach, with Vernoff also speaking about the twist in a new interview with Deadline 

The two-hour premiere was a crossover with another Shondaland series, Station 19, which was also dedicated to front-line workers battling COVID-19.

The episode featured Meredith Grey struggling to come to grips with the pandemic and the mounting death it brought to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.

Before his surprise appearance, Derek’s sister Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) took home her newborn baby with Atticus ‘Link’ Lincoln (Chris Carmack), who was named Scout Derek Shepard Lincoln in her late brother’s honor.

Dedicated: The two-hour premiere was a crossover with another Shondaland series, Station 19, which was also dedicated to front-line workers battling COVID-19

Dedicated: The two-hour premiere was a crossover with another Shondaland series, Station 19, which was also dedicated to front-line workers battling COVID-19

Struggling: The episode featured Meredith Grey struggling to come to grips with the pandemic and the mounting death it brought to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital

Struggling: The episode featured Meredith Grey struggling to come to grips with the pandemic and the mounting death it brought to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital

Just minutes after the name reveal, Grey collapsed in the parking lot of the hospital, segueing into a dream sequence where she reunited with McDreamy.

While the name reveal wasn’t said to be a ‘clue’ towards Shepard’s return, showrunner Krista Vernoff admitted in a post-show interview that, ‘it all came together quite beautifully.’ 

The showrunner added that the idea to bring back Dempsey came after they agreed to tackle COVID-19 on the show, as she looked for ways to counter the pandemic.

Reunited: Just minutes after the name reveal, Grey collapsed in the parking lot of the hospital, segueing into a dream sequence where she reunited with McDreamy

Reunited: Just minutes after the name reveal, Grey collapsed in the parking lot of the hospital, segueing into a dream sequence where she reunited with McDreamy

Idea: The showrunner added that the idea to bring back Dempsey came after they agreed to tackle COVID-19 on the show, as she looked for ways to counter the pandemic

Idea: The showrunner added that the idea to bring back Dempsey came after they agreed to tackle COVID-19 on the show, as she looked for ways to counter the pandemic

‘From a writer’s perspective, it happened because it was my job to find a way — once we determined that we were doing the pandemic — to also bring joy, and escape, and fan candy, and all the things that at Grey’s Anatomy we give people,’ she began.

‘We give them romance, and we give them humor, and we give them joy, and a lot of that is lacking for the medical community in this pandemic. And so, I was walking on the beach one day, and I was like, what if there’s a Meredith dream motif?’ she added.

The showrunner added that she called Pompeo and asked her about a ‘dead character’ she could dream about on the beach.

Beach dreaming: The showrunner added that she called Pompeo and asked her about a 'dead character' she could dream about on the beach

Beach dreaming: The showrunner added that she called Pompeo and asked her about a ‘dead character’ she could dream about on the beach

‘And she said, let’s get Patrick. Even in my most excitable dream life, that thought hadn’t occurred to me as an option, and there it was,’ Vernoff said.

Pompeo revealed that both she and Dempsey own homes in Malibu and she asked if he would return.

‘There’s just so much darkness, and we knew that coming together would be a little ray of light. And so, I think we had the same idea, at the core, to want to help people and bring a smile to people’s faces. So, he loved the idea, and we were just so excited, and we had a ball filming it,’ Pompeo added.

Malibu: Pompeo revealed that both she and Dempsey own homes in Malibu and she asked if he would return

Malibu: Pompeo revealed that both she and Dempsey own homes in Malibu and she asked if he would return

Fans can look forward to more McDreamy as well, with Vernoff confirming, ‘It’s more than the one scene you saw.’

The showrunner admitted it was an ‘epic feat’ to keep Dempsey’s return a secret, with just a select few in the know.

‘I didn’t send cuts to the studio and network that included that last scene. I didn’t have writers’ assistants in the writers’ room for the last couple of months. There were writers who didn’t know we were doing this on that staff. Most of the actors didn’t know we were doing this. The crew didn’t know we were doing this when they showed up on the day,’ she revealed. 

Epic: The showrunner admitted it was an 'epic feat' to keep Dempsey's return a secret, with just a select few in the know

Epic: The showrunner admitted it was an ‘epic feat’ to keep Dempsey’s return a secret, with just a select few in the know


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