‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Patrick Dempsey Teases McDreamy Will Be Back ‘Throughout the Season’

patrick demspey season 17

Loyal fans of ABC’s long-running medical drama Grey’s Anatomy were given a jaw-dropping surprise in the Season 17 premiere when Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) “reunited” with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). The dream scenario, which takes place on a beach, occurred while Meredith was passed out in the hospital parking lot towards the end of the episode.

While his character remains very much deceased — Dempsey bid farewell to the show during Season 11 in 2015 — the show has welcomed ghosts now and then (remember Jeffrey Dean Morgan‘s Denny?). And, it seems, as Dempsey recently hinted, there’s room for at least one to come back.

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In a recent interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dempsey shared that he wasn’t sure how many episodes he’ll appear in, but that, “I know I’m throughout the season. He comes back to visit.”

Showrunner Krista Vernoff offered some more clarity in an interview with the Los Angeles Times: “We will see more of [Derek] this season. This was not just a cameo. He will appear three more times.”

grey's anatomy ellen pompeo season 17

(Credit: ABC)

The reason behind Meredith passing out, by the way, could stem from COVID-19, which featured prominently in the premiere. During Dempsey’s chat with Ellen, he said that Vernoff came up with the idea that “I would come and visit [Meredith] in her COVID dream.”

Whether that means Meredith has the virus herself will remain to be seen, but tune in to find out, as well as when and where Dempsey pops back up.

Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC