Grey’s Anatomy’s Patrick Dempsey to ‘appear on show despite character’s death’

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Patrick Dempsey's Grey's Anatomy character Derek Shepherd was killed off in the series five years ago – but the show's boss has told how he is due to make a comeback on the show.

Fans of the show were left stunned when Derek made a cameo appearance on the season 17 premiere of the medical drama on Thursday night.

And showrunner Krista Vernoff has declared this isn't the last we will see of him.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, she said: "We will see more of [Derek] this season.

"This was not just a cameo. He will appear three more times."

Patrick Dempsey's Grey's Anatomy character Derek Shepherd was killed off in the series five years ago
(Image: ABC)

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Patrick's character appeared during a dream sequence inside Meredith Grey's (Ellen Pompeo) imagination during the premiere.

Derek died during an April 2015 episode after a tragic accident.

Krista said Dempsey's return was kept under wraps until filming started and even wrote the scene.

She said in a bid to keep his appearance "top secret" in the script she described Meredith as having a reunion with her mother Ellis Grey (Kate Burton).

Fans of the show were left stunned when Patrick's Derek Shepherd character made an appearance on the season 17 premiere of the medical drama
(Image: greysabc/Instagram)

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Krista said: "We didn't tell the writers for the longest time. When she's walking and she looks as someone is calling to her, and she goes, 'Derek?' In the script, I had it as Ellis Grey."

And the show boss also teased it would be "exciting" if other former characters returned to the series.

Dempsey also said she was "grateful" to have the opportunity to revisit his character.

Patrick's character appeared during a dream sequence inside Meredith Grey's (Ellen Pompeo) imagination
(Image: ABC)

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She told Deadline: "It's crazy how much time has passed, but it really was so comforting, and lovely, and inspiring to go back, and to work together, to see everybody," he said. "It really was so open too; that was the thing, really — people were very, I think, vulnerable in a positive way, where we were all grateful to be there and to be together."

Dempsey is set to make his next appearance in season 17 as Meredith begins to recover.