10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Can 'Grey's Anatomy' Survive Without Derek?
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the April 23 episode of Grey's Anatomy.]
Season 11 of Grey's Anatomy may go down as the ABC medical drama's most depressing yet.
Thursday's "How to Save a Life" episode featured the shocking and devastating death of Patrick Dempsey's Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd, the Shonda Rhimes drama's leading man and half of one of TV's most beloved onscreen couples.
While Dempsey's departure from the series came as a devastating surprise — he still had a year remaining on his contract for the show's expected 12th season — Derek's death follows a season that has focused on Meredith (Ellen Pompeo).
In promoting the season ahead of its debut, Rhimes told THR that this year would focus on Meredith and her ability to stand on her own without Cristina (Sandra Oh, who opted to leave after season 10) and Derek's support. And the season has done just that: With Meredith making waves at the hospital with an impressive surgery streak that ended with Derek's return.
See more 'Grey's Anatomy's' Famous Departures
Settling back before his scheduled last trip to D.C., Derek also raised the question of expanding their family beyond baby Bailey and Zola in what will now be one of Meredith's final memories of her husband.
Fans have expressed their shock — and dismay — about Dempsey's departure on social media with many threatening to quit a Derek Shepherd-less Grey's Anatomy. With that said, will you continue to watch Grey's without Dempsey? Vote in THR's poll, below.