Season 17 of “Grey’s Anatomy”, currently broadcast on TF1, will create the event by bringing back many key characters from the medical series. How did this first surprise return go?
If season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy, which started this Wednesday January 26 on TF1, is placed under the sign of the Covid, it is also punctuated by the surprise return of several emblematic characters who have marked the medical series over the years.
And the first to enter the track in the very last minutes of the second episode is Patrick Dempsey, the iconic Derek Shepherd. As Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), exhausted from the stress and endless days of the Covid-19 pandemic, is found lifeless in the hospital parking lot, viewers are transported into her unconscious. Meredith is dreaming that she is on a beach where she finds Derek, the love of her life who died suddenly in season 11.
For the occasion, Patrick Dempsey has agreed to resume his role, the time of a few sequences which will continue next week during episode 3. But how was this unexpected return orchestrated?
A desire to bring escape to viewers
It was Krista Vernoff, the showrunner of the series, who had the idea of bringing back old characters throughout this season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy.
“From my point of view as a screenwriter, [ce retour] materialized because, once we determined that we were going to deal with the pandemic, it was my role to find a way to also bring joy, escape, fun for the fans, and all those things we offer to the public through Grey’s Anatomy“, she had thus explained to Deadline about the surprise appearance of Derek Shepherd in the thoughts of Meredith.
“We provide them with romance, humor, joy, and all of these things are sorely missed by medical personnel during the pandemic. (…) I looked for the best way to offer a little escape to viewers.
“Then I imagined this theme of the beach, which we could find throughout the season, and I called Ellen and I was like, ‘What if we brought dead characters that Meredith could dream of to this beach? That would be great.” And she was like, “Let’s bring Patrick back.” Even in my wildest dreams, it never seemed like an option. And finally, it came true.“.
A reunion between Derek and Meredith
It would be during a walk on the beach, one day with Patrick Dempsey, with whom she kept in touch, that Ellen Pompeo offered her former partner to take over the role of Derek for a few sequences.
“I said, ‘Would you be willing to come back and be a part of the plot this season?“, had confided the star of the series to Deadline. “I know that Patrick is very invested in his foundation which helps cancer patients.”
“It’s very important for him to give people hope and bring them a little happiness. So we wanted to bring something significant to this difficult period. (…) He loved the idea , we were both very excited, and we had a blast filming [ces séquences]“.
A feeling shared by Patrick Dempsey, who admitted to having seen in this opportunity the chance to be able to help the medical personnel who were (and still are) on the front line during this epidemic.
“I had followed what Grey’s had done for them, donating masks and making sure the medical staff had the necessary equipment, and it all came out of a desire to bring some comfort to people during this time. very uncertain. And getting back on the show, and shooting under Debbie Allen, was an incredible experience.”
A return kept secret
Patrick Dempsey’s appearance in Season 17 Episode 2 wasn’t easy to keep secret. Krista Vernoff has thus confided that in addition to not having included the last scene of the episode in the versions of the scenario sent to the studio and the chain, she had gone so far as to replace the name of Derek by that of the mother. of Meredith, Ellis Grey, in the script read by the actors during the group reading of the episode in question.
In the next episodes, other emblematic characters will also make their comeback alongside Meredith Grey. “You will have to watch the rest of the season to see who is landing on this beach, had teased Krista Vernoff. It will be a joyous discovery“.