Upsetting Losses On Grey’s AnatomyPublished on April 27, 2016. Updated November 11, 2020
Grey’s Anatomy was one of the top-rated shows in the United States; however, over the last few seasons, ratings have been dropping and we think it might because they have a tendency to kill off the fans’ most beloved characters. Since McDreamy suddenly died, fans have been going crazy and the rumor mill is spinning stories off like it is nobody’s business. We are kind of left wondering how much longer the show will keep going. How many characters can they really kill off without totally ruining the show? Here are 8 character deaths that totally had fans reeling:
8. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey)
Patrick Dempsey’s character Dr. Derek Shepherd was killed off of Grey’s Anatomy during season 11. After helping victims of a car crash, Shepherd ended up getting into one. When he was taken to the hospital, no one followed proper protocol, which resulted in his death. Fans didn’t take it well. A petition has been launched to bring Dempsey’s character back.
Rumor has it that Shepherd was killed off because of Dempsey was behaving like a diva on-set. “Patrick has been acting like a diva and has clashed with Shonda. She suspended him for a while, and the word on set is that he isn’t coming back full time…Given all the past problems with Katherine Heigl and Isaiah Washington, there is little tolerance on the show for troublesome talent,” a source told Page Six. Dempsey has denied that this is true and so has Shonda Rhimes; however, it is worth noting that his character was killed off before his contract was even up.
7. George O’Malley (T.R. Knight)
T.R. Knight asked producers to write his character Dr. George O’Malley off of Grey’s Anatomy. “It was time to go,” he said. “Looking back, I learned so much and it was so valuable. But there are times in anybody’s job where you feel the best decision is to move on. It doesn’t detract from the knowledge that I gained, and it doesn’t detract from my gratitude.” Some of his co-stars weren’t happy about him leaving. Katherine Heigl initially tried to talk to him out of it. “I didn’t think it was the right decision,” she said. “I felt like some of the problems could be worked through. But by the time it came to fruition, I was [glad] for him because he was ready to go.”
Since leaving, T.R. Knight hasn’t found steady work. He has guest starred on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Good Wife and he had a role in the movie A Year and Change.
6. Jimmy Evans (James Remar)
James Remar’s character Jimmy Evans was Alex Karev’s father. He had a pretty troubled history. He struggled with alcohol and drug addiction and he beat his wife and children when they were younger and then abandoned them, which really scarred Karev. Evans died during season 10. After years of alcohol and drug abuse, his character was forced to undergo surgery at the hands of two interns because all of the doctors were away at a wedding. One of the interns, Shane, was sleep-deprived when he performed the surgery. As a result, he botched it, causing Evans’ death.
Before joining the cast of Grey’s Anatomy, Remar had a role on Dexter. He played Dexter Morgan’s adoptive father, Harry Morgan, who was deceased. After his character was written out of Dexter, he moved onto Grey’s Anatomy for one season and then onto Wilfred, where he was a guest star for two seasons.
5. Adele Webber (Loretta Devine)
Loretta Devine had a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy as Adele Webber, Dr. Richard Webber’s wife who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Her character died during season nine as a result of a heart attack.
Adele had a really rough go at things and Devine really feels for her character. “This past season she had to admit to herself that she was sick, and then she had a big confrontation with her husband where there was the fight, and it was so heartbreaking. Then when he found her with someone else, and she’s telling him that she’s in love – it was heartbreaking. I kept thinking, Oh, everyone is going to hate Adele. They’re going to hate her so much! And then the next episode, my Richard, he’s strutting around with Debbie Allen! What the hell? [Laughs.] Debbie Allen! I was like, Oh God, how unfair! But that’s the way life goes!” she told Entertainment Weekly.
4. Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan played Denny Duquette, a heart patient who fell in love with Katherine Heigl’s character Izzie Stevens. While he is waiting for a heart transplant, Stevens cuts his LAVD wire so that he can get higher on the transplant list, which works. Duquette gets his new heart, but he develops a blood cut and then dies.
By the time his character died, Morgan was already really attached to him and his story. “A dark, grim day. I’m still not over it. It broke my heart to leave that show,” he told the L.A. Times. Initially, he thought he was being brought onto the show as a love interest for Ellen Pompeo’s character, but then he realized that his love interest was Heigl’s character and that his character would die. “No one knew how much the story would take on a life of its own. I don’t think even Shonda knew how the fans would be drawn to the romance. It was pretty incredible,” he said.
3. Lexie Gray (Chyler Leigh)
Chyler Leigh’s character Lexie Gray dies at the end of season eight after she sustains life-threatening injuries as the result of an aviation accident. Fans were not happy about Lexie being written off the series; however, it was what Leigh wanted. Before the final episode aired, Shonda Rhimes took to Twitter to explain why Lexie would be killed off the series.
“I love Chyler and I love the character of Lexie Grey. She was an important member of my Grey’s family. This was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that Chyler and I came to together. We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about it and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character’s journey to end. As far as I’m concerned Chyler will always remain a part of the Shondaland family and I can’t wait to work with her again in the future,” Rhimes wrote.
2. Henry Burton (Scott Foley)
Scott Foley had a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy as Henry Burton, a diabetic patient who marries Dr. Teddy Altman. The marriage begins as one of convenience. Henry is in and out of the hospital and cannot afford health insurance. Teddy initially marries him so that he can benefit from her insurance plan, but the two fall in love. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last. Henry dies while undergoing heart surgery.
Fans pointed out similarities between Henry and Teddy’s storyline and one that involved Katherine Heigl where she fell in a love a patient, Denny Duquette, who died at her hands. Foley admitted that there were similarities, but never confirmed to fans that his character would be anything like Duquette. “Sure, there are some definite similarities there,” Foley told TVGuide.com. “The fact that something might happen between Henry and Teddy the way that it did between Denny and Izzie is a definite possibility. That was such a truly epic storyline and really, one of the tent poles of the show. I could never dare to say that Henry would be anything like that.”
1. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane)
Eric Dane played Dr. Mark Sloan who died at the start of season nine. According to creator Shonda Rhimes, she killed Sloan off because his girlfriend died at the end of season eight and she didn’t want to leave his character alive and grieving. We’re not really sure what to think. Dane had specifically said that he wanted to explore other opportunities, which is why Rhimes killed Sloan off.
Even though he made the decision to leave, Dane still found it hard to move on. ‘“Grey’s Anatomy’ is a world…it’s not about any one individual actor and the storylines were sort of…you know, heading in different directions. So it was an opportunity for me to go and I was interested in something different,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I loved doing ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ I would have done it until the final episode, but this was something I couldn’t pass up.”