As exits from Grey's Anatomy go, Nathan Riggs (Martin Henderson) last episode this week was rather gentle. He wasn't bombed, hit by a bus or sent onto a crashing plane, but rather starting a new life with his second-time fiancée Megan (Abigail Spencer) and her adopted son. But this was not such a kind episode for Grey's fans who were hoping Riggs and Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) would get their happily-ever-after-or-until-the-next-Seattle-disaster. Turns out, according to Henderson, that pairing was never meant to last.
"I only had a short-term contract with the show," Henderson told Deadline. "This is my final year so I was expecting Nathan’s storyline to be wrapped up. Bringing in Megan and tying up loose ends, provided a reason. That was always intended when they brought Megan back with a twist."
Henderson joined Grey's in season 12, after the departure of Patrick Dempsey, so naturally, some hoped Riggs would eventually fill that McDreamy-sized hole in Mer's life. The actor seems genuinely sympathetic to anyone who was rooting for them.
"I feel bad for fans who were keen on Meredith and Nathan making it, and not being privy to where each character would go," he told Deadline. "But it makes for nice drama and it’s something that Shonda does brilliantly: Dashing people’s hopes and expectations. That’s why the show continues to be successful. You can’t predict what will happen to people at any time."
So, that romance didn't last because people wanted it to? That can't be the only reason. His departure could also be part of the show making room for new blood. Shonda Rhimes and company are maneuvering to make viewers more attached to those new interns who started this season, so that the Grey's can keep feeling fresh.
Henderson, who also worked on previous Shondaland projects Off the Map and the pilot Inside the Box, doesn't think this is his last show with Rhimes.
"She intimated that she’d like to put me ina show with a gun in my hand," he said. "I don’t know what that means if it’s a view on my virility or something darker."