‘Grey’s Anatomy’: The 1 Song That Makes Shonda Rhimes Cry ‘Every Time’

As the creator and executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes makes her fans cry almost weekly. However, it turns out that there is one song that makes her breakdown in tears “every time” she hears it.

Shonda Rhimes, creator and producer of 'Grey's Anatomy'
Creator and producer of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Shonda Rhimes | Christian Alminana/Getty Images For Cannes Lions

When will ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ end?

Grey’s Anatomy is renewed through season 17, so it will be on air at least for 2020-2021. Rhimes and Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey) have a long-running pact that it will go on as long as the star wants it to.

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“Ellen [Pompeo] and I have a pact that I’m going to do the show as long as she’s going to do the show,” Rhimes told E! News in 2017.“So, the show will exist as long as both of us want to do it. If she wants to stop, we’re stopping. So, I don’t know if we’ll see 600, but I want to keep it feeling fresh. As long as there are fresh stories to tell and as long as we’re both excited about the stories being told, we’re in. So, we’ll see where that takes us.”

What ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ song makes creator Shonda Rhimes cry ‘every time?’

“One of the songs that make me cry is “Chasing Cars,” every time, which is how Derek died, which to me was tremendous,” Rhymes told Billboard. “The story of how we placed that song is crazy. We had a song in that scene. It was done — locked and loaded.”

Meredith’s husband, Derek Shepherd, died in season 11, episode 21, and it was titled, “How To Save a Life.” He was heading down to Washington D. C. to quit the president’s brain mapping project when he stopped to help several people in a car crash. As Shepherd was returning to his car, he was struck by a semi-truck. 

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“It was the day the show was going to air,” Rhimes continues. “That morning, a song arrived from Sleeping at Last. It was their cover of ‘Chasing Cars.’ I listened to the song, and I started weeping uncontrollably, partially because I was still processing the fact that one of my characters’ was dead. But also because I knew it was the perfect song for the death of this character that we were going to air that night.”

Fans will remember that Derek didn’t die immediately after the truck hit him. He was rushed to a local hospital, unable to speak, but begging for a CT scan. The doctors did not do a brain scan before rushing him into the operating room. By the time they realized he had a blown pupil, it was too late. “Chasing Cars” played while Meredith sat by Derek’s side as they took him off life support.

Shonda Rhimes switched the song to ‘Chasing Cars’ at the last minute

The producer didn’t know whether or not the song could be switched, but she tried.

“It was literally that scene in Broadcast News where people are running down the hall and screaming with hair on fire,” Rhimes said. “I got a call at 3:00 from the network that said ‘I don’t think we are going to make it happen.’”

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Everyone else knew it was the perfect song for Derek’s death, too. They were waiting on pins and needles to see if it was going to work out.

“We didn’t know it was going to happen until it aired on the East coast,” she continued. “The entire post-production team was standing around the little monitor that is the East coast feed, down the hall, listening and waiting to see if it was going to happen. When it did, you could hear a cheer erupt.”