Grey’s Anatomy fans are in shambles after it was announced that Justin Chambers, aka Dr. Alex Karev, is leaving the show after 16 seasons. Perhaps it is comforting to know that lead actress Ellen Pompeo, who plays Dr. Meredith Grey, is just as salty about it as we are.
Replying on Twitter to an article on his departure that called it “one of its biggest losses yet” Pompeo wrote, “Truer words never spoken” with a broken heart emoji. Despite her sweet sentiments, Chambers’ departure feels abrupt and leaves a lot more questions than answers. Specifically, it seems very odd that Dr. Karev will not receive the same kind of send-off episodes that other original cast members have had. Additionally, it remains unclear how his absence will be explained in the series since Dr. Karev just became the head of Pacific Northwest General Hospital.
Chambers confirmed on January 10 in a statement to Refinery29 that this would be his last season of Grey’s Anatomy.
“There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years,” Chambers said. “For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time,” said Chambers.
Chambers was one of the four remaining original cast members for Grey’s Anatomy, which will return to ABC on January 23. Chambers’ last appearance as Dr. Karev was on the November 21, 2019 episode, and he is not expected to appear in any future episodes. The three remaining original cast members are Pompeo, Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey), and James Pickens Jr. (Dr. Richard Webber).
Though Chambers is leaving, fans should fear not for the future of Grey’s Anatomy. Pompeo, who is also now an executive producer on the show, previously stated in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter that the series will not end until she herself wants to end it. More concretely, ABC has renewed the show for a 17th season, so fans of the show can look forward to episodes until at least 2021.