Many Grey’s Anatomy fans believed Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) would gain his pancake breakfasts through Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and also Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) till the finish of time. However that arrangement was thwarted as soon as Alex left Seattle because that a life v Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) in season 16. 

Of course, Grey’s Anatomy viewers had actually differing opinions about Alex’s exit. Part members the the fandom were relieved the lovely surgeon was still alive. Meanwhile, others thought Alex’s fatality would have actually been much more fitting. Therefore why go the authors decide against killing Alex on Grey’s Anatomy? here’s what us know.

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How did Alex Karev leaving ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?


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After Meredith’s medical license listening in Grey’s Anatomy Season 16, Alex went missing. The ghosted Jo, make her are afraid the worst. Climate in the 16th episode titled “Leave a irradiate On,” Alex sent letters to Jo, Meredith, Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), and Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson).

In the letters, Alex revealed the contacted Izzie as soon as he reached out for Meredith’s trial. Climate he uncovered out that Izzie provided the embryos castle made when she had actually stage IV metastatic cancer. She had his twins, naming them Alexis and Eli. So Alex made decision to get earlier together with Izzie. Meanwhile, Alex broke things off through Jo, leave her with signed divorce papers.

Krista Vernoff defines why Alex Karev didn’t dice in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16


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Justin Chambers together Alex Karev and Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey top top ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 12 | Richard Cartwright/Walt Disney television via Getty Images

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While some Grey’s Anatomy fans to be disappointed in Alex’s departure, the writers didn’t desire to offer the beloved personality an off-camera death.

“I believe that there would’ve been at least as huge an outcry if we had actually killed the character off-camera, and also those to be our choices,” showrunner Krista Vernoff told Deadline in April 2020. “It was death the character off-camera, or come up v some believable method that he it s okay his happily ever before after.”

Then once speaking with range in November 2020, Vernoff revealed why the Grey’s Anatomy authors were so against killing off Alex. And ultimately, that came down to the influence of his fatality on Meredith and also Jo.

“We didn’t desire to kill ,” Vernoff said. “Jo had actually been through simply a enormous depression in the wake of ‘Silent every These Years.’ She had actually just emerged. … She had just acquired through it!”

Vernoff later added, “I didn’t desire to put the characters through another sustained grief. And that was probably the more far-ranging thing. I don’t want Meredith Grey to shed Alex Karev come death. I don’t desire to check out it! ns can’t take it!”


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The showrunner additionally pointed the end that both Luddington and Pompeo have played “so lot grief” top top Grey’s Anatomy. Therefore it appears the writers additionally wanted to safeguard their actors.

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“Grief is really, really, really difficult on actors,” Vernoff said. “I get that it’s your job. Yet when you need to play sustained grief for illustration after illustration after episode — I’ve never met an actor who didn’t get in their own an individual depression, since they have to run those chemicals with their system.”

As Vernoff has said before, there was no an excellent time come say goodbye to Alex on Grey’s Anatomy. But given the circumstances, it’s clear the team is solve with just how the character’s last arc ended.

“It felt OK to our writers, who additionally grew up through these characters,” Vernoff said. “These human being are genuine to us, too. And that, the felt like the way we might say goodbye come Alex.”