Entertainment TV Grey's Anatomy Star Kevin McKidd Says Patrick Dempsey's Return 'Is Perfect for Real Closure' The star opens up about the show's future as well as what it's like on set as the cast and crew adjust to new COVID-19 protocols By Christina Dugan Ramirez Christina Dugan Ramirez Writer-Reporter, TV People Editorial Guidelines and Breanne L. Heldman Breanne L. Heldman Instagram Twitter Breanne L. Heldman is the Senior Editor of TV for PEOPLE. In this role, she oversees all television coverage — and coverage of TV stars — across print and digital. Heldman joined PEOPLE in April 2018 after two years as Senior Editor at Entertainment Weekly. Prior to that, she held editorial positions at Yahoo Entertainment, MTV, E!, and the New York Daily News. The Boston University alum and Cincinnati native frequently appears as an entertainment expert on programs such as Good Morning America, Access Hollywood and the People Every Day podcast and has moderated panels at Lincoln Center, 92Y, New York Comic Con and more. People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 18, 2020 10:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Could Patrick Dempsey's return to Grey's Anatomy be yet another hint that season 17 could be the beginning of the end for the hit ABC medical drama? Star Kevin McKidd is calling Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd (Dempsey) and Dr. Meredith Grey's (Ellen Pompeo) reunion "perfect closure." On Nov. 12, the series’ season 17 premiere concluded with a dream sequence featuring the shocking return of Dempsey more than five years after Derek's sudden death. "It felt like a trip down memory lane," McKidd (who plays Owen Hunt and directed Dempsey in episode 3 this season) tells PEOPLE. "It was fun to see him and we had a great catch-up between takes at the beach. The weather was perfect so it all felt like summer camp — with masks and social distancing of course!" Patrick Dempsey on His Surprise Grey's Anatomy Return: It Was 'Lovely and Inspiring to Go Back' Getty(2) McKidd, 47, also noted that seeing Meredith and Derek together again was "emotional." "The idea of having Mer, with her illness, have these waking dreams where she connects with the love of her life is fitting and cathartic for everyone — for the fans especially," he says. "Mer and Der were the core relationship of our show for many years, and it feels like the timing is perfect for real closure." Grey's Anatomy Showrunner Says Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepherd Will Appear 3 More Times Pompeo, 51, has also hinted that this season could be the end of the road for the series. “We don’t know when the show is really ending yet,” she said in a recent interview with Variety. “But the truth is, this year could be it.” “I’m constantly fighting for the show as a whole to be as good as it can be. As a producer, I feel like I have permission to be able to do that,” she later added. “I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don’t know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be.” Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo. Krista Vernoff/abc If season 17 does end up being the final season, it sounds like the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital clan will be more unified than ever, due in part to their collective experience adjusting to new safety protocols because of COVID-19. In Honor of McDreamy's Return, Remembering Grey's Anatomy's Most Iconic Episodes "It has brought us closer," McKidd admits. "Everyone is rolling up their sleeves and adjusting. We are a family, so we all feel the deep responsibility of keeping each other safe." He adds, "You can feel this shared love and honor between us all even more than usual." Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.