Grey's Anatomy's Patrick Dempsey was 'terrorizing' on set, reveals show producer

Patrick Dempsey's dramatic exit from Grey's Anatomy has finally been addressed by show insiders

Grey's Anatomy's Patrick Dempsey was 'terrorizing' on set, reveals show producer
(Image credit: Getty)

Shocking details of Patrick Dempsey's Grey's Anatomy exit—and the factors that may have caused it—have been revealed in a new book.

The Emmy-nominated actor famously played neurosurgeon Derek 'McDreamy' Shepherd on the small screen for ten years, but in real life, he was reportedly the stuff of nightmares. 

Patrick's character was written out of the ABC drama series—spoiler alert!—with a dramatic death back in 2015, much to the dismay of its devoted fanbase. He gave little explanation as to why left in the middle of his two-year-long contract extension, refusing to address the rumors that the decision has been influenced by his alleged conflict with Grey's Anatomy creator, Shonda Rhimes. 

Grey's Anatomy

(Image credit: Scott Garfield / Getty Images)

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Six years on, it seems fans might finally get answers on what really went down on the set of the hit medical show. In her new unauthorized book, How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy, Lynette Rice interviews over 80 cast and crew members about their experience on the Emmy-award-winning series—and of course, what it was like to work with the man of the hour himself.

According to executive producer James D. Parriott, Patrick created a fearful environment in his final weeks on the show. 

"There were HR issues. It wasn’t sexual in any way. He sort of was terrorizing the set," he revealed. 

Grey's Anatomy

(Image credit: Craig Sjodin / Getty Images)

If that wasn't bad enough, Patrick has also been accused of leaving a psychological imprint on his fellow actors. "Some cast members had all sorts of PTSD with him," James said. “He had this hold on the set where he knew he could stop production and scare people.”

The situation escalated to the point that ABC bosses were forced to confront Patrick about his behavior. 

"The network and studio came down and we had sessions with them. I think he was just done with the show," said James. "He didn’t like the inconvenience of coming in every day and working. He and Shonda were at each other’s throats." 


Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes (L) and Patrick Dempsey reportedly had conflict on set 

(Image credit: Getty)

It was this constant tension that allegedly drove show writers to kill off McDreamy with a car crash in 2011. 

"I think Shonda finally witnessed it [Patrick's complaining] herself, and that was the final straw. Shonda had to say to the network, 'If he doesn’t go, I go'," recalled producer Jeannine Renshaw. 

Patrick Dempsey, who is set to star alongside Amy Adams in the film Disenchanted next year, has yet to respond to the allegations. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.