Grey's Anatomy are picking apart a franchise travesty with the news that Justin Chambers has left. The actor is not just leaving behind his role as Dr. Alex Karev — he already has. Now, many are trying to make sense of his last appearance on the show back in November.
Chambers announced his departure from Grey's Anatomy last week, in a statement published by Entertainment Tonight. In subsequent reports, fans learned that Chambers already had left the show, meaning his last appearance was their last glimpse of Alex Karev on-screen.
That appearance came on Nov. 14, 2019 with the premiere of Season 16, Episode 8 titled "My Shot." In it Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) attended the hearing that would determine whether she would lose her medical license. Of course, the hearing was rife with drama, but Alex was able to convince the board not to postpone the hearing regardless.
"You can't postpone because these people have come from all over to speak for Meredith," he said.
Alex then held the door for a big group of Meredith's former patients, who were there to testify on her behalf. Their words moved the board, and then Alex swayed them even further by reading letters from Meredith's former colleagues. Finally, the board allowed her to keep her medical license.
Alex is then seen again in the lobby with the other doctors as Meredith's lawyer relays the good news. That is the last we see of this character on-screen. In the following episode, it is mentioned that he went home to care for his mother.
While this ends Dr. Alex Karev's arc on a high note, it is not conclusive or emotional enough for many fans. Social media is still full of pleas for the writers of Grey's Anatomy to come up with a clean, definitive ending to honor this character's long tenure on the show.
Chambers is one of the last remaining members of the original main cast of Grey's Anatomy, having played Alex Karev since Season 1. Without him, the only ones remaining are Pompeo, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey and James Pickens Jr. as Richard Webber. Like many other cast members, Chambers left to seek other work.
"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."
"As I move on from Grey's Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rhimes, original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride," he concluded.
Grey's Anatomy airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.