'Grey's Anatomy' Season 11 Spoilers: Derek Gone For Good After Leaving For D.C.? Executive Producer Explains

During the winter finale of Grey's Anatomy, Derek (Patrick Dempsey) finally took that big Washington D.C. offer. But where does that leave his relationship with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) when the show returns?

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Executive producer Shonda Rhimes revealed that Derek's departure will mean Meredith is completely alone for the first time ever since she no longer even has her best friend Cristina (Sandra Oh).

"I love the idea that this could possibly mean that for the first time in her life at the hospital, she has neither Cristina nor Derek, and therefore is essentially alone and how she's going to cope with that. It's going to be very interesting for her," Rhimes told Entertainment Weekly.

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Despite Derek's big move, the show won't be filming in Washington D.C. That means fans will not see Mr. McDreamy as often as they'd like.

"It's highly possible that we might not see Derek for a while," Rhimes said. "There will be a time when you see him again, yes, but it's probable that you won't see Derek for a while."

This doesn't necessarily mean that a breakup is brewing. Pompeo previously said she doesn't believe the popular television couple will ever call it quits.

"Meredith and Derek aren't breaking up. That's not happening," she told the publication in November. "Eventually at some point we'll get back to being good, I'm sure. We go in cycles, but hopefully we'll play out the relationship in realistic ways, and we get interesting stuff so that we can give good performances."

Grey's Anatomy returns Thursday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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