‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Spoilers: Fan-Favorite, Original Cast Member Exiting & Last Episode Has Already Aired

Justin Chambers portrays Dr. Alex Karev on 'Grey's Anatomy'
Kelsey McNeal / ABC

ABC’s long-running hit series Grey’s Anatomy is losing a familiar face. Justin Chambers, who has portrayed Dr. Alex Karev since the Shonda Rhimes show began, is ready to say farewell. Unfortunately, spoilers indicate that this exit has already happened.

Chambers shared a statement with Deadline about his decision to leave Grey’s Anatomy. He thanked show creator Shonda Rhimes, the network, and his fellow cast members for the experience he has had.

The show is currently airing Season 16 and Grey’s Anatomy has had plenty of high-profile departures. Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, and Katherine Heigl all starred on the show in earlier seasons and left via one storyline development or another. Some former cast members have left on good terms with Rhimes and the cast, and others, not so much.

For Chambers to publicly acknowledge his departure before it’s been fully addressed on-screen isn’t necessarily a standard approach for Rhimes and her cast. However, it’s not completely unheard of with the ABC drama either.

“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,” declares Chambers in his statement regarding his Grey’s Anatomy exit.

“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 explains.

When will Grey’s Anatomy viewers see the last of Karev? As this news initially broke, spoilers didn’t reveal specifics on this front. However, Chambers’ character was not a part of the fall finale, and it wasn’t immediately revealed whether he would be back for any other episodes this season.

The show returns with its next new episode on January 23, and ABC’s synopsis doesn’t make any mention of Karev. The character wed intern Jo Wilson in the Season 14 finale and more recently he had been fired from Grey Sloan in connection with Meredith’s insurance fraud situation.

Since then, Karev took a position at Pacific Northwest General Hospital as Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery. The last that fans saw of Karev, he had left the hospital in order to care for his ill mother. Was that essentially the farewell Grey’s Anatomy viewers will get of Chambers and his character of Karev?

Sadly, according to new updates from TV Line, it seems that is indeed the case. The site explains that Karev’s departure to care for his mother during the episode that aired last November 14 was apparently the last one for Chambers.

The site speculates that the way this was done, with no big send-off for an original cast member, may signal that the decision was a rather sudden one. For now, additional specifics are not available.

Grey’s Anatomy moves to a later time slot when it returns this month and spoilers suggest that there are sizzling-hot storylines on the way.