Alex Karev’s Final ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Episode Spoilers & Theories: Does He Die?

Justin Chambers, Alex Karev

ABC ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" stars Justin Chambers as Alex Karev.

On season 16 episode 16 of Grey’s Anatomy, fans will finally learned what happened to Alex Karev and say goodbye to the beloved character, who’s been a part of the cast since the show’s pilot episode. Since Justin Chambers announced he would be leaving the show in January 2020, everyone involved with Grey’s Anatomy has been tight-lipped about how the story would write off Dr. Karev.

The official synopsis for the goodbye episode, entitled “Leave a Light On,” remains vague. It simply says “Bailey and Ben face a huge, life-altering decision, while Meredith and several of the doctors reflect on the past.”

So, how will Karev be written off the show? We’ll have to wait until the episode airs at 9/8c on Thursday, March 5 to see how it all goes down, but read on for what we do know and what fans are predicting.

Showrunner Krista Vernoff Says They Wrote Off Alex Karev ‘As Carefully as We Could’

In an interview with Variety, showrunner Krista Vernoff explained their approach to writing off Alex Karev following Justin Chambers’s departure from the show. While she didn’t reveal how they chose to remove Karev from the show, she did say “It was a very careful threading of a needle, where we are giving a little bit of information and pain to Jo. We’re, episode by episode, illuminating the story of where Alex is. And it takes us quite a few more episodes to get there and to give the audience clarity.” Later, she added “Jo went through so much pain and so much grief just last season that I wanted to be careful. And so it’s a bit of a mystery [what’s going on with Alex], so that we don’t watch Jo in the same place that we watched her in last season. We did it as carefully as we could. But it takes a while to get there.”

At the end of February 27’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Jo tearfully told her longtime friend Link that she learned he was not, in fact, visiting his ailing mom, reaching the conclusion that Karev had simply up and decided to leave her. It’s likely that there will be a twist explaining the real reason for Karev’s exit, as sticking to Jo’s theory that he intentionally left her and their marriage without explanation would be a cruel ending to their story and a harsh reality for Jo’s character (who, as Vernoff agreed, has already gone through so much).

Fans Think the Only Way to Write off Alex Karev Is by Killing the Character

Since Justin Chambers’s last episode aired back in 2019 (before the season 16 Winter Finale), fans should not expect any new scenes of Alex Karev during his goodbye episode. Because of this, many predict that killing the character in an off-screen death is the only way to logically remove his character from the show.

On viewer wrote “I don’t want Alex Karev to be dead, but I know that he would not treat Meredith and Jo like this and just vanish.” Another agreed, writing “i’m convinced shonda is killing alex karev bc we didn’t witness that incredible character development the past 16 years for him to just up and leave jo and meredith.”

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