Grey’s Anatomy surprised fans by ‘resurrecting’ an original character during the season 17 premiere.
The medical drama returned to ABC in the US on Thursday night, and fans were stunned by the return of Derek Shepherd – played by Patrick Dempsey.
At the end of the season premiere, Meredith Gray (Ellen Pompeo) collapsed in the hospital’s car park, as her and her colleagues struggled to deal with an outbreak of Covid-19.
Meredith’s husband Derek, who tragically died on the show back in 2015, then appeared in a dream-like sequence on a beach.
View this post on Instagram
Speaking about Derek’s return, executive producer Krista Vernoff said they wanted to “provide some escapism” for fans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “The most important task we had this season was to honour the reality of this global pandemic and the impact it’s having – particularly on healthcare workers.”
“Along with that we had to come up with creative ways to allow our show to still be fun and romantic, and provide some escapism.”
“Enter Patrick Dempsey. The beach motif – which will continue beyond the premiere – provided a way for us to live outside the pandemic even for a little while here and there. Derek’s return provided pure joy for us, for Meredith, and for the fans.”