Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff says that while Justin Chambers’ final episode has already aired, fans can expect more “clarity” on his character’s fate within the next few episodes, reports TVLine.
Fans were shocked to discover that Chambers had abruptly exited the role of Alex Karev after starring on the show for 16 seasons. Alongside Ellen Pompeo, James Pickens Jr., and Chandra Wilson, Chambers was one of the few remaining cast members left on the show from Season 1.
Not only were fans of the medical drama heartbroken over the loss of Alex Karev, but they were also upset to discover that he wouldn’t get a proper send-off due to the abruptness of Chambers’ exit. In the past, when cast members have opted to leave Grey’s Anatomy, they typically finished out their final season or contract before moving on, allowing their character to get a fitting conclusion to their story arc. That wasn’t the case with Chambers, who departed midway through the current season.
In the actor’s official statement, he said that he was interested in pursuing different career choices. The Inquisitr reported that he allegedly sought treatment for stress and depression at the mental health facility Privé-Swiss in Connecticut, upon his exit.
Per TVLine, Vernoff said that creating a storyline to explain Alex’s absence “was a very careful threading of a needle, where we are giving a little bit of information and pain to Jo. We’re, episode by episode, illuminating the story of where Alex is. And it takes us quite a few more episodes to get there and to give the audience clarity.”
Earlier this season, Jo Karev, Alex’s wife on the show, revealed that her husband was visiting his ailing mother. Then in last week’s episode, Jo told Amelia Shepherd that Alex had suddenly stopped returning her phone calls.
“Jo went through so much pain and so much grief just last season that I wanted to be careful. And so it’s a bit of a mystery [what’s going on with Alex], so that we don’t watch Jo in the same place that we watched her last season,” explained Vernoff in the article mentioned above.
What Vernoff is alluding to is Jo’s storyline regarding the truth about her conception. Grey’s Anatomy delivered a very powerful episode about sexual assault in Season 15, where it was revealed that Jo was conceived through rape. Since meeting with her birth mother and learning the truth, the character has struggled to come to terms with her trauma.
At the beginning of Season 16, she checked into an in-patient psychiatry facility to get treatment for her clinical depression. Vernoff isn’t interested in re-traumatizing Jo with Alex’s storyline, but it’s unclear how the mystery of his absence will play out.
At this current time, there are no plans for Chambers to reprise his role.