• The cast and crew of "Grey's Anatomy" were thrilled over Patrick Dempsey's return, a report says
  • Derek Shepherd appeared in Meredith Grey's dream in the Season 17 premiere
  • Ellen Pompeo said she asked Dempsey to make a guest appearance this season

“Grey’s Anatomy” fans were shocked after seeing a familiar face in the show’s Season 17 premiere. Apart from avid followers of the ABC drama, Patrick Dempsey’s former co-stars and crew were also delighted to see him back on set.

In the “Grey’s Anatomy” episode, Dempsey’s character appeared on Meredith Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo) dream after she collapsed in the Grey Sloan parking lot. In the sequence, Dr. Derek Shepherd reunited with his wife at a beach.

“The timing for Patrick’s return had finally come. He was extremely professional, friendly, funny, and his chemistry with Ellen [Pompeo] was still there. The crew enjoyed the time with Patrick, and there was a lot of catching up,” an unnamed source told Us Weekly.

“[The team is] a big family and Patrick may have left it for a bit, but as families do, they come back together. It was extremely heartfelt and organic to watch it all,” the insider added.

After 11 years of playing his role in “Grey’s Anatomy,” Dempsey left the show in 2015. In his final episode, his character was trying to help the victims of a car crash when he was suddenly hit by a vehicle, leaving fans devastated.

Pompeo opened up about the reunion with Dempsey to Deadline, explaining that the scene was meant to serve as a sort of “ray of light” amid this difficult time. The episode is also reportedly a tribute to the frontliners.

Pompeo revealed that she approached Dempsey about the writer’s idea in Malibu when they were hiking. After asking him to join “Grey’s Anatomy” this season to uplift people’s lives, the actor, who is passionate about helping cancer patients, agreed.

“I think we had the same idea, at the core, to want to help people and bring a smile to people’s faces. So, he loved the idea, and we were just so excited, and we had a ball filming it,” Pompeo shared.

Dempsey, meanwhile, talked about the changes in the “Grey’s Anatomy” set, explaining that he saw old and new faces. Moreover, he noted that there’s “much more diversity within the crew.”

“There was a nice balance, too, of equality that I was seeing. So, culturally, there was a lot of things that were different, that I thought were very positive and very inspiring, actually,” Dempsey said.

Haute Living Cover Launch With Patrick Dempsey And Tag Heuer
Patrick Dempsey at the Haute Living Cover Launch With Tag Heuer At Nobu Malibu at Nobu Malibu on September 20, 2016 in Malibu, California. Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Haute Living