Ellen Pompeo Talks 'Grey's Anatomy' Without Patrick Dempsey: 'It's Amazing How Much You Get Done Without a Pen

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The lady power is strong on the Grey's Anatomy set these days.

Ellen Pompeo opened up about working on the medical drama without Patrick Dempsey, whose alter-ego, Dr. Derek Shepherd, was killed off last year after 11 seasons on the series, and how Grey's is doing better than ever.

"It's amazing how much you get done without a penis," Pompeo joked on Monday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "We miss him dearly, but yeah, the show is doing very well."

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The 46-year-old actress confirmed that the current 12th season will not be Grey's Anatomy's last -- exactly because they're not afraid to kill off beloved characters.

"I think a lot of people were really upset about his departure, which is super understandable, but I think the change is part of the reason the show goes on so long," she explained. "People tune in to see, what does the show look like now? What is Meredith going to do without Derek? They get so upset about the change, but change is precisely what everyone always needs to sort of get to the next place."

Pompeo also revealed that she feels more "engaged" in the series following Dempsey's exit.

"For me, too, it's, 'How do I act without him?' It's more challenging for me. I'm more invested," she said. "I have to work harder to find my groove without that missing part. It keeps me more engaged. I'm more engaged this season than I have been in a long time -- for the fans. I want to make sure the quality stays good and they're there for us. I want to be there for them."

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Dempsey, who will next appear on the big screen in Bridget Jones's Baby, echoed a similar sentiment when he discussed his decision to leave the show to work on movies.

"It's completely reinvigorated me," the 50-year-old actor revealed. "I've enjoyed it immensely. I think the pace of it is really good. Getting back to something that has a beginning, a middle and an end. And it's very collaborative and it's organic in how it comes together, how it changes and evolves. It's just a completely different approach. With the show, you're just grinding it out to get through it."

Meanwhile, former co-star Katherine Heigl recently reflected on her Grey's Anatomy Emmys scandal. Find out why she said she should have just "shut up" in the video below.