'Grey's Anatomy' Plans Justin Chambers Farewell Episode That Will 'Provide Closure' After Actor's Exit

Dr. Alex Karev is getting a formal goodbye on Grey's Anatomy. The character, played by actor Justin Chambers, has been around since the series very first episode, however, his character hasn't been seen on screen since November. While there was the lingering question of whether or not he'd get a formal sendoff, the teaser for next week's episode, "Leave a Light On" makes it clear that it will happen.

"After 16 seasons, we're saying goodbye to Dr. Alex Karev," the voiceover on the promo says. "Next Thursday, see how his story ends."

Along with the promise of closure, the trailer is also littered with scenes of Chambers' character across his many years on the show, indicating he'll be a big, big focus next week. You can see for yourself below.

However, as E! News pointed out, Chambers released a statement back in January that indicated his last episode had already aired in November, which seems to indicate that, like the promo above, his appearance will be cobbled together from existing footage.

"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," the statement read. "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."

The actor then went on to give a special thanks to the ABC network, as well as creator Shonda Rhimes and the only three remaining original castmembers remaining following his exit: Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, Jr.

Since Chambers' last episode aired in November, it was assumed in the show that his character was in Iowa visiting his mother. However, tonight's installment made it quite clear that was not the case. Although, in the last couple of episodes, Karev stopped answering calls from his wife, Jo (Camilla Luddington) and was even seen typing a text to Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), although whatever he was typing never ended up getting sent.

Showrunner Krista Varnoff also told Variety last week that giving the character an appropriate farewell was like "threading a needle."


"We're episode by episode illuminating the story of where Alex is," Vernoff explained. "And it takes us quite a few more episodes to get there and to give the audience clarity."

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.