The effect of Derek's death on Grey's Anatomy was immense!
It is a precarious situation, killing off the leading character of a show or a movie, a movie is only going to last for two hours, and maybe the death will be talked about, but the actors won’t need to come out next year and justify the death. It is not the case when it comes to TV shows, if it wasn’t the series finale and the show is still coming back for another season, it is a dangerous thing to kill off the main character or a fan-favorite actor from the show.
Take for example the season six finale of The Walking Dead when 'Negan' and Lucille make their first appearance. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was great as the villain, but the problem among fans was not Negan but the person, or persons, he kills. 'Glenn' and 'Abraham' became the victim of the barb-wired bat of Negan and with those couple of swings of the baseball bat; 'The Walking Dead' lost more than six million fans in three years.
Watch: Derek Shepherd dies in Grey's Anatomy
Most of the time, it is not a good idea to kill a beloved character, and fans were also wary about how another death in a popular show is going to affect the series as a whole. The death we are talking about is the unfortunate demise of 'Derek Shepherd' from the hit medical drama show Grey’s Anatomy. For 11 seasons Derek and Meredith were the leading characters of the show, and they were the face of the hit Shonda Rhimes drama but then in the finale of season 11 Derek was killed which did not go down well with the fans of the series.
Many fans were trouble with how the series is going to move forward without the man who was nicknamed 'McDreamy'. It wasn’t the directors and writers of the show deciding to kill off Patrick Dempsey’s character, which resulted in his death; it was the choice of Patrick himself. He wanted to explore other avenues outside of the television series, and after being in the show for almost 13 years, there probably was a sense of repetition for the actor which resulted in him asking to be let out of the show.
Source: The Whisp
Anyway, long story short, Derek was gone, and there was a sense of what’s next among fans, the biggest problem was the back to back loss suffered by Meredith, first it was her best friend, and then it was her husband.
The whole death of Derek was a test of character for all the people involved in the series; the death was such a hot button topic for months the cast of the show realized their show was still relevant after almost 13 years on air and in production. For a series to be in the public’s eye for more than a decade and still be relevant was an eye-opening moment for the cast of Grey’s.
The cast realized they were involved in something which is still in the eye of the public and there was a certain amount of rejuvenated feeling for the cast members to do even more and make the death worthwhile for the fans.
It was an unfortunate death when it comes to the series, but the demise of Derek also allowed other members of the cast to shine through all the noise surrounding the series. Most of all, the female members of the cast, benefitted from the passing away of Derek. Shonda Rhimes is known for putting strong female lead characters front and center in her series and with the Meredith and Derek’s love story not taking much of the run time of the episode every week, the writers of the show got the chance to tell new stories involving strong women.
Shonda Rhimes talked about the reason Derek died and why they needed to kill him. Source: CNN
Though the death was unfortunate, more of the characters started to get their own standalone episodes. We got a more in-depth look at some of the most interesting characters in the show, and it probably wouldn’t be possible if Patrick Dempsey and his star power were still in the show.
The decision to kill Derek was a huge decision by the creative team, and though it was shocking and disappointing in a short time, we got to process the death. In the long run, it was a good decision, and the show was recently renewed for two more seasons which means the fans are still there and support the hard decision to cut one of the leading men in the show.