Fans of Grey’s Anatomy will learn what happened to Alex Karev on the show’s Thursday, March 5 episode. While viewers have known for several weeks that Justin Chambers, the actor who originated the role of Dr. Karev in the show’s pilot episode and portrayed him over 16 seasons, was leaving Grey’s, ABC confirmed last week that they had dedicated an episode to saying goodbye to one of the show’s beloved stars and original cast members.
In January 2020, Justin Chambers told Deadline exclusively that he was leaving Grey’s Anatomy, saying “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. 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.”
While the March 5 episode honors Alex Karev’s legacy on the show, don’t expect to see any new scenes featuring Justin Chambers. Read on for what we know about his involvement in the “goodbye” episode.
Justin Chambers’s Last Episode on Grey’s Anatomy Aired in 2019, Before His Departure Was Announced
When Deadline broke the news of Chambers’s departure from Grey’s Anatomy, they also reported that his last episode on the show had already aired and that he would not be a part of future episodes. For this reason, fans should anticipate that any reveals about what happened to Karev on the show will happen without Karev present on-screen.
Without Karev there to explain why he left and what happened while he was gone, many fans are predicting that the only way for the show to logically write-off the beloved character, who has grown so much over the past 16 seasons, is by killing him off-screen.
Promo Materials for Alex Karev’s Last Episode Suggest Chambers Will Only Appear in Flashbacks
The vague synopsis of Karev’s goodbye episode, entitled “Leave a Light On,” simply states “Bailey and Ben face a huge, life-altering decision, while Meredith and several of the doctors reflect on the past.” Based on this description, it seems that Karev will be remembered through flashbacks to his previous episodes and most memorable moments. It also suggests that saying goodbye to Karev is not the only storyline the episode follows, and that Bailey’s decision to welcome Joey into her home at the end of episode 15 will also be a major part of the episode.
The promo video for episode 16, which revealed that Karev would have his own goodbye episode like so many of the departed characters before him (Cristina Yang, Derek Shepherd, George O’Malley, etc.), featured no new scenes or footage. The 30-second preview was composed entirely of clips of Alex Karev over the years. Many of the snapshots came from the pilot episode when Alex Karev was first introduced.
The promo informs “After 16 seasons, we’re saying goodbye to Dr. Alex Karev. Next Thursday, see how his story ends,” but gives no indication to how the show will remove the character and bring his existing relationships and endeavors to a close.