Grey's Exclusive: Ellen Pompeo Weighs In on Mer-Der Fight: 'He Needs To Get Over It, Quick'

Patrick Dempsey has indicated that if Grey’s Anatomy‘s Derek and Meredith can promptly move past their season-ending feud, he might be coaxed into staying with the ABC drama beyond the coming season. Well, from where Ellen Pompeo sits, it’s her leading man’s McDreamy alter ego who holds all the cards when it comes to the couples’ short- and long-term future.

“Listen, what Meredith did clearly crossed a line. Derek has a right to be pissed,” Pompeo tells TVLine, referring to how Mer tampered with her husband’s clinical trial to ensure that Adele Weber received the Alzheimer’s drug versus a placebo. Upon learning of the meddling (thanks for that, Alex), Der flew into a quiet rage, questioned his missus’ morality, then ultimately and unknowingly left her cradling their newly adopted daughter Zola, all by her lonesome.

Exclusive: Ellen Pompeo Opens Up About Her Uncertain Grey’s Future and Likely Successor

But shouldn’t Derek know by now how his doctor wife operates, leading with her heart and not always her head? Pompeo thinks so. “Derek so often stands on his moral high ground,” she says, “while Meredith does see things as gray, not black or white. It’s who Meredith is, and Derek should understand that.”

Indeed, Mer’s latest actions are not without precedent. As Pompeo recalls — echoing series boss Shonda Rhimes’ recent words almost verbatim — “This character has always been someone who … sees the line between right and wrong as blurred. From the first episode, she has always struggled with making appropriate decisions. She’s put her hand on a bomb, and she told the shooter [from the Season 6 finale] to shoot her. She’s a complex character, and Shonda has been very deliberate about that from the beginning…. Shonda knows exactly what she’s doing.”

Exclusive: Shonda Rhimes Says Next Grey’s Season May Be Original Cast’s Last

Duly noted. But where do Mer-Der go from here? How quickly can they work through this professional standoff and move forward with their personal happiness, as newly marrieds and brand-new parents? Pompeo acknowledges that while Derek is right to have a beef, claiming the moral high ground doesn’t hold a candle to the bigger picture.

“I think Derek should feel wronged for a second,” the actress tells us, “but then he needs to get over it, quick!” (With reporting by Louis Virtel)

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  1. Amy says:

    I hope he gets over it quickly. That is no one storyline I really want to see dragged out, especially if this is their last season. Didn’t we suffer through three or four seasons (I honestly can’t remember – it felt like a really long time) of Meredith and Derek together, then apart, then together, etc?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I wonder if they might even use a small time jump to get past the messiness of making up, and pick up with Mer-Der happy (again) together, with maybe a few hints at that nasty hiccup they worked past.

    • Danielle H. says:

      I just kind of sighed and deleted the eppy when my DVR finished the finale because I was like “Another Mer/Der breakup? Really??”. If Shonda has any brains left she will resolve this by the 2nd eppy of the next season. Although I think even if that happens, Patrick is leaving. He retraced his words probably at the suggestion of his people so that it would give fans hope of a multiple season return. Some of us are smart though and see that that’s not happening.

  2. fan since day 1, epi 1 says:

    Lol Ellen! As usual, straight to the point. Derek does love to take the moral highground…only when it suits HIM though. He had no trouble blurring lines between right and wrong when he straight up lied by omission for months to Mer about being MARRIED & later on having adulterous sex in the exam room on prom night! Yes, Mer really screwed up career wise but him breaking not one, but two sets of marriage vows and bailing, after his hateful verbal insults (which are par for the course for the douche) don’t make him right. It makes him look like weak. He bails when times get hard. No love for Derek right now. Him running away was some serious character assassination. I have to wonder if Shonda is wanting the Merder shippers to hate him. Is she doing to Derek what she did to Izzie and George’s characters at the end? SR is so angry they want out so she either ruins their character or “throws him under a bus?” I find it absurd that we’re back to this point with them after 7 long seasons of back & forth. It’s a shame that Shonda & her minions can’t find more intelligent, mature, compelling storylines. PD mentioned in an article several days ago how he’s tired of the juvenile sl’s and I for one, totally agree. It’s just ridiculous.
    Thanks for the EP interview Matt. I love any little EP morsels you can give us!

  3. tallu says:

    I think the new season should pick up that same night with Derek returning home. He remembers the specific promises from his post-it vows and comes back – maybe not all sunshine and lollipops – but willing to work it through.

  4. Paul says:

    Mer/der are so boring by now. Still trying to make Patrick Dempsey sexy is getting more and more difficult with the newer and better looking actors joining the show. What she did was help out a friend and it didn’t compromise the results of the trial so he needs to stop whining and go home to his wife and the kid HE wanted. Glad it’s his last season

  5. Stacy says:

    Does anyone really believe they won’t be all back together just fine by the end of episode 1? They have to be the most predictable couple on television. Its too bad because they started off interesting then slowly turned so boring.

  6. Dominique says:

    I think both Derek AND Meredth are right. Meredith never should”ve changed those results, despite the fact that it was about Adele. I get why she did it, bu she did not only mess with her job, she messed with Derek”s job, with the hospital’s credibility, all the other people participating in the trial, who will now have a different outcome and may not be a candidate at all.

    Derek has every right to be angry, like I said, but he also knwos who Meredith is, what she’s like and how she acts.

    I just really hope these two will work it out fast. I thought Shonda said she was done breaking them up, that their break up in s3 was the final one.

    • Anna says:

      I agree with this. Both are right and both are wrong. Meredith took the hit but she should acknowledge at least the damage she did, cause she initiated this chain of events. And Derek should just get off his horse and apologize for his fit.

  7. Jessica says:

    I think they need to permanently put that post-it on Derek’s head. Remember the “no more running, ever” part “Mcdreamy”? Ridiculous.

  8. Ruby says:

    Who cares? Meredith and Derek have become a complete snoozefest a bunch of seasons ago and it’s not going to change anymore. Of course Derek will suddenly get over it in the season opener, return home and everything will be bright and sparkly again. *yawn* Shonda should have had the guts to split them up for good before she and her writers got bored with them too and only kept draging them along out of obligation. The characters are still interesting, Meredith more so than McJerk, their relationship I could totally do without.

  9. sarah says:

    I hope he gets over it soon. But it definitely seemed like he would from the way they set it up in the finale. He’ll get over it but in the meantime Mer will get a chance to really bond with Zola.

  10. jenna says:

    Pompeo must want to return for season 9. She’s been talking about the show more this spring/summer than she has in 7 years.

  11. Kathryn says:

    LOL, this is the one of the many differences between Grey’s TV land and the real world. IRL doing this to a clinical trial is TOTALLY unthinkable. Doctors don’t get to see shades of gray when it comes to faking research. That’s a game over offense. Period.

    • Biochemist says:

      As a scientist I have to say thank you. She pretty much destroyed a huge portion of his professional life and what he’d work for. For the sake of one person, another? That’s not love. It’s legally, morally, professionally wrong, and if people understood how complex and time-consuming drug development and clinical trials are, they’d see it’d be unrealistic for Derek to forgive her at any point in the near future.

  12. Trista says:

    Let’s not forget why Derek began the trial in the first place – maybe this is not as much a moral question for him as it is a realization that without the trial he could lose Mer to the disease. It might be easier for him to get angry than to be scared.

  13. Nathalie says:

    I don’t think the trial is the real issue. Derek essentially called Meredith a whore, a lemon and now he added “bad mother” to his list of insults and ran away again. Apparently insulting the women in his life and running away is what he does best. I’m so over it. And I wish Meredith would stop letting him get away with it too. But it’s the same with all of Shonda’s love stories. Women putting up with verbally abusive and generally douchey men is her definition of true love.

    • Liz says:

      AMEN!! He called her a bad mother for God’s sake! What an *ss! And then he left her! Just like her father did, just like he himself did when Addison came back, when he couldn’t “breath” for her, when she wasn’t ready soon enough for him etc….
      PD is SO right. Enough with the teenage stuff already.

  14. Tessa says:

    Who cares about Mwe/Der…what about MerAlex? That is the only relationship I still care about on this show!

  15. Tara says:

    Sorry, I just have to say it. The clinical trial storyline is interesting but totally off base. The likelihood of a doctor being able to see if the patient is on placebo or drug is slim to none, unless it matters to the patient care, which in this case, it does not. She didn’t change the results of the clinical trial. She only changed who got the drug, not the patient history or the lab results after the drug was administered. I agree that what she did was wrong, and stupid, but it doesn’t actually effect very much in the long run. Well, it effects their relationship but not much else.

  16. Brent says:

    There’s a real pattern there: Addison, Meredith, and his sister Amelia. A woman in his life screws up or is somehow not perfect and he immediately refuses to forgive them. Is it because his mother was somehow perfect? One has to wonder what “sins” – real or imagined – his other sisters have committed since they are almost never mentioned anymore.

    Of course all of this is based on how Shonda writes the character. One has to wonder about her issues really.

  17. Sandy says:

    I think it’s stupid that they agreed to give Derek and Meredith a special needs baby when she is in her surgical residency and is married to a surgeon. I’m sorry, but who is going to take care of the baby with a shunt in her head while they are both working? A baby sitter? A live in nanny? What about all the nights on call for both of them?

    My husband went to medical school and residency while our daughters were 7 and 9 while I worked full time as a RN. We were lucky that the girls were in school during the day. It would have been impossible if they were babies that needed taken care of every hour of the day.

    Residents have to take call during the night and they have to stay at the hospital…no room for a baby. Meanwhile Derek needs his sleep because he is doing surgery on people’s brains, for goodness sake.

    How much time does that give Meredith and Derek to bond and teach and take care of the baby? Who is going to give up their job to take care of her? I doubt very much that it’s going to be Derek. So Meredith puts her dream of being a surgeon on hold so she can take care of the baby, because Derek decides that he wants a baby.

    And what was with the hospital sending the baby home that day before the new parents even had time to buy anything or get the house ready for a baby? They needed at least a day warning. Just wouldn’t happen. Meredith should have said no, that she needed to get hold of her husband first.

    • Amy says:

      Oh my goodness. It’s a drama-based TV show. If I wanted to watch a medical documentary on real doctors lives, I’d go to the cable channel that deals with that sort of thing. This is a “fictional” drama, and I am personally loving the Mer/Der/Zola story. I’m looking forward to how it goes, and after 7 seasons-going on 8, for the audience that have watched their story since the first episode of the first season, MerDer have waited long enough to have a baby, and with this potentially being the last season for both actors, I could care less if it stretches the “reality” boundaries or not. I’m just happy to see the SL finally happening and want to see where it goes. Thank you for the story about Meredith. Loved what Ellen Pompeo has to say about Mer and Derek’s upcoming storyline.

  18. Heather says:

    So now Ellen Pompeo is saying, that Patrick holds all the cards and if he stay’s into season 9 she will also stay. Interesting comment are these two talking in private ha most likely.
    Thanks for this interview, always love a good EP or PD interview couldn’t care less about the others, I’m a Mer/Der fan and have been from the start.
    Also if anyone wants to watch the Australian version of GA but with loads more spice and well hot aussie’s suggest you take a look at a show called OFFSPRING.

  19. Sue says:

    I love you Ellen but step away from the Kool-aid that Shamda is serving up. I too hope Derek gets over it quickly because that story line was a poo covered mess and made no sense. Not sure how they can redeem Meredith in Derek’s eyes. And I’m not sure Meredith would want to adopt a baby with a man who consistently walks away when things hit a rough spot. Meredith is strong enough now to raise a baby on her own but, based on her history, she knows what “Daddy” walking away would do to a little girl. Derek see’s things in black and white only when it’s convenient for him. In Shondaland things happen quickly for some characters, clinic built in eight days, Owen and Cris checking out ads for housing and poof next episode they are in they own place. Things move much more slowly for Mer/Der. Their house is still under construction after years so given past performance I expect Derek to be angry all of season eight. Hope we at least get angry sex and then makeup sex. Not sure how they can pull off a time jump working with a baby now. Derek and Zola are magical and Meredith and Zola rock! As much as I like most of the other characters on the show I’m addicted to Derek and Meredith. When Ellen and Patrick leave I’m done too.

  20. disari says:

    ok i like merder… but i think it would would be interesting and unpredictable to break them up especially with actor’s contracts coming up… patrick dempsey has said he isn’t coming back.. keep meredith and put her with..sloan or avery.. she has an especially interesting dynamic with sloan.. i like lexie but Grey’s Anatomy is Meredith. i’ve always thought meredith would be a better doctor and person without catering to derek’s ego and narrow view of the world. meredith needs to find her specialty in surgery, general, trauma, or even neuro..
    Derek chasing after meredith would be a good thing.. lol especially if she was with mark..

  21. onix says:

    i really hope there will be a season 9 with der+mer, because there is already only 3 of the 5 interns left!!! grey’s anatomy is awesome but it will never work if they keep losing original cast members. the whole show was about mer, mcdreamy and the other 4 interns. i really think that they should do something exciting like bring izzy back and mer should be kidnapped – that way der will forget about her mistakes and remember how much he really loves her! i think they should just leave a gap before the next mer+der tradgedy. no one can survive this much! grey’s anatomy is really cool but they should really stop replacing the castmembers and just add new ones. and shonda rhimes are actually damn good- without her….