Patrick Dempsey’s sudden exit from Grey’s Anatomy shocked fans, but insiders say it was a long time in the making and that he left the show no choice.
Series creator Shonda Rhimes reportedly had no choice but to fire him after he showed up late, forgot lines and acted unprofessionally on a regular basis.
A source close to the situation said that "this was such a departure from Patrick’s prior work ethic as he had always been on time, and ready to go.”
“Shonda had no other choice but to fire Patrick! He had been showing up late, and was holding up production because he couldn’t remember his lines."
“There was definitely a lot going on in Patrick’s personal life with the breakdown of his marriage, and Shonda had been very understanding,” the source said.
“He was indeed suspended mid-season, and was given another chance to get back on track. But when Patrick returned, there was a chip on his shoulder."
"The cast was being impacted," another insider adds, noting that he left Rhimes no choice. “Shonda shouldn’t be blamed. This is on Patrick, no one else.”
For his part, Dempsey seems pretty much over it, and the cast didn’t even throw a goodbye party for the actor, who still had a year left on his contract.
He confirmed in a post-mortem interview with Entertainment Weekly that there was no emotional sendoff or tears shed by himself or anyone else.
“It was very quiet. It was very poetic, I got in my car, got in rush hour traffic, and two hours later I was home,” Dempsey said of his final day at work.
His TV wife Ellen Pompeo tried to sell the glass half full side of the story, saying she's excited to portray Meredith in the wake of this stunning twist.
Rhimes released a statement about the shocking episode that saw Dempsey's Dr. Derek Shepherd crushed by an 18-wheeler, but fans aren't happy.
There's even a petition to bring back McDreamy to the show, although from the sounds of it there's not even a snowball's chance in hell of that happening.
How will the show carry on in the absence of its male lead? On one hand, he was part of the crux of the series since its inception and feels irreplaceable.
On the flip side, if you watch Grey's Anatomy online, you know he's been a non-factor of late and there are like 12 other series regulars ... so who knows.