'Grey's Anatomy' New Book Expands on Why Patrick Dempsey Originally Exited the Series

An unauthorized book about the behind-the-scenes happenings of long-running medical drama Grey's Anatomy is on the way. How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey's Anatomy was written by author Lynette Rice, and The Hollywood Reporter published a juicy excerpt ahead of the book's Sept. 21 release date. In this passage from the book, exec producer James D. Parriott opened up about the drama surrounding Patrick Dempsey's exit from the series during season 11. Show creator Shonda Rhimes made the decision to kill off McDreamy himself, and from the sounds of things, Dempsey was more than ready to leave the show.

According to Parriott, Dempsey and Rhimes were seriously at odds by the end. "There were HR issues" with Dempsey, Parriott explained. "It wasn't sexual in any way. He sort of was terrorizing the set. Some cast members had all sorts of PTSD with him. He had this hold on the set where he knew he could stop production and scare people. The network and studio came down, and we had sessions with them."

"I think he was just done with the show," Parriott said. "He didn't like the inconvenience of coming in every day and working. He and Shonda were at each other's throats." While they seem to have reconciled now that Derek Shepherd returned to Grey's Anatomy on Meredith's mind beach in season 17, there was also conflict between Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo as well. "There were times where Ellen was frustrated with Patrick, and she would get angry that he wasn't working as much," ex-executive producer Jeannine Renshaw revealed. "She was very big on having things be fair. She just didn't like that Patrick would complain that 'I'm here too late' or 'I've been here too long' when she had twice as many scenes in the episode as he did."


However, when Renshaw elaborated, some of Dempsey's complaints seem a bit warranted. "When I brought it up to Patrick, I would say, 'Look around you. These people have been here since 6:30 am.' He would go, 'Oh, yeah.' He would get it," she explained. "It's just that actors tend to see things from their own perspective… He's so high energy and would go, 'What's happening next?' He literally goes out of his skin, sitting and waiting. He wants to be out driving his race car or doing something fun. He's the kid in class who wants to go to recess."