Patrick Dempsey’s return as Derek in the Grey’s Anatomy season 17 premiere was arguably one of the most shocking things to happen this year, and that’s saying a lot.
After all, the beloved Dr. Derek Shepherd died six seasons ago, all the way back in 2015. Many fans are still getting over that Game of Thrones-like reveal at the end of episode one, when Meredith Grey (his widow, played by Ellen Pompeo), sees a mirage of him at the beach in what seems like a possible COVID-fueled fever dream, but according to Dempsey, that won't be the last time we'll see Dr. McDreamy.
During a recent appearance on the Ellen Show, the actor told Ellen DeGeneres that Derek will appear a few times throughout the season.
"I'm not sure how many," he said. "[But] I know I'm throughout this season. He comes back to visit."
Dempsey said that he didn't mean to open the floodgates and bring up sad Derek nostalgia by staging his return — in fact, he wanted to do the opposite by bringing a little bit of joy and comfort to the audiences watching around the world.
"It was nice for it to be able to work out this way," he said of the timing of his return. "I mean, there are so many souls that we have lost right now, the thought of having angels around us is very comforting, certainly to me."
Leave it to Derek to surgically remove our hearts just as easily as he did five years ago. See you soon, McDreamy.