ABC's medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" took a time-jump of about a year in the previous season that saw its central character Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) returning to Seattle to start living her life as a widow.
Meredith's husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) passed away in a car crash in the previous season, and according to showrunner Shonda Rhimes deciding to kill Derek was one of the difficult decisions she had to take.
"I found it incredibly painful to write and incredibly painful to watch," Rhimes told TVLine. "I didn't go to a single moment of the filming because I was like, 'I'm just going to stand there and cry like an idiot.'"
Rhimes also revealed why she decided to take a time-jump of about a year, saying it was to give Pompeo's widow time to get adjusted to Derek's death.
"I couldn't imagine a world in which Meredith could go a month and be able to speak or breathe — or [even] six months," Rhimes shared. "I needed time to pass for her to even be in a place where I felt like she could have a conversation."
In season 12, viewers will see Meredith, who would have moved into her mother's house with her three children, trying to adjust to a life without Derek. But forgetting her misfortune wouldn't be that easy as everyone around her will be either dating or in a serious relationship.
"Grey's Anatomy" is going back to its roots, and season 12 will be high on the romance and sex factors. However, a romance for Meredith is not something Rhimes has envisioned for the upcoming season.
"I have not planned to [bring in a love interest for Meredith], and that's not really the focus of what we're doing with her right now," Rhimes told Variety. "I'm not going to say we're definitely not doing it, because I could be wrong, but that's not my plan right now."
"Grey's Anatomy" will return to ABC on 24 September.