Many television series have been lucky enough to stay current for so many years, and proof of this is Law and Order: UVE with 23 seasons on the air and one that is in full shooting, as well as Grey’s Anatomy – 64% with 18 seasons and one more confirmed for 2022. Perhaps the police or medical formula has become a synonym of sure success, but until today no production has managed to match these two who are currently the leaders of television.
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In the case of the series starring Ellen Pompeo, the combination of the medical cases that are presented in each episode has a lot to do with the personal lives of the characters, who show the public their pain, their losses or their romances. This closeness between the life of medicine and particular dramas have kept the story in force for 16 years. Of course, with the passage of time some characters have started to defect for various reasons.
One of the games that generated the most stir in the Shonda Rhimes series was that of Doctor Derek Shepherd at the end of season 11, and for the audience it was something difficult to assimilate especially when it came to the center of attention for his romance with Meredith Gray that it was full of tangles from the first season. However, what may have been the most painful for the viewer would have been the greatest relief for the rest of the cast and crew.
In February 2021 Patrick Dempsey confessed in an interview for The Independent that he had decided to leave the program due to “the toxic environment that lived there”, in addition to the fact that, according to his words, he was fed up with being reified as “the Handsome Doctor”, as they nicknamed him in the same series. However, an unauthorized book revealed that he was actually fired because he was causing many internal problems, from post-traumatic stress in the cast, to complicated situations in Human Resources due to his dire attitude.
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The text titled How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy written by Lynette rice (via El País), a journalist for Entertainment Weekly, composed of more than 80 interviews, recounts several testimonies about the actor’s attitude on set and his strong discussions with the creator of the program. According to the book, Dempsey was initially charming, and Rhimes herself referred to him as “the perfect man”; But over the years his attitude would change, either because he got tired of working on the same project for so many years, or because he knew the power he had because of his popularity.
James Parriott, executive producer of the series, assured that the actor terrorized everyone, although never in a sexual sense or any type of physical aggression.
He had the power and he knew he could stop production whenever he wanted and scare people. People from the chain and the studio came and talked to him. I think he was just fed up with the show. He didn’t like having to come to work every day. He and Shonda attacked each other all the time.
The producer Jeannine Renshaw, for her part, pointed out that there were already several complaints against her from before, until the same creator lived it firsthand and her conflicts reached such a point that she would assure that “if he did not leave, he would she would do it herself. The truth is that it was a difficult decision to make, keeping in mind that his character was fundamental to the plot. Although much of the text narrates the conflicts with the actor, there were also those who defended him and described him as a charming man.
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Actress Brooke Smith, who played surgeon Erica Hahn, fondly remembered the interpreter, especially because he was the only one who defended her the day she was fired from the series just because there was no more to tell about her character. Other cast members agreed that he was a kind person. Other testimonials involve the same Ellen pompeo, as it is ensured that despite the fact that she had to film twice as many scenes as he did, Dempsey asked that production be stopped at any time because he was tired of having to spend most of the time on set, which was stressful for the protagonist.
There was a point where the actor already had control over everything, he knew that his character was important and he hated being there for 10 continuous months, 15 hours a day; and the actor from Encantada had already spoken about that – 93% on more than one occasion. Finally, an agreement was reached for his departure that would become one of the episodes most remembered by viewers, in addition to his cameo in the last season.