‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Krista Vernoff Reveals Why Alex Karev Didn’t Die in Season 16

by Jeremy Spirogis
Justin Chambers as Alex Karev on

Alex Karev’s (Justin Chambers) exit in Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 had followers divided. While some viewers have been blissful Alex left with no scarring demise, others would have fairly seen the character die than to desert Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington). So why did the pediatric surgeon obtain the send-off he did? Recently, Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed why the writers determined to not kill off Alex.

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

Justin Chambers as Alex Karev on 'Grey's Anatomy'
Justin Chambers as Alex Karev on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Mitch Haaseth/Walt Disney Television through Getty Images

In Grey’s Anatomy Season 16, Episode 16 — titled “Leave a Light On” — Alex leaves mysterious letters for Jo, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), and Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson). At this level within the season, Alex has been MIA and everyone seems to be rising frightened. But in response to the letters, Alex is with Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) in Kansas with their twins, Alexis and Eli.

Alex reveals he reconnected with Izzie when he contacted her for Meredith’s medical license trial. Then, as Jo would say, one factor led to a different. During their name, Alex discovered Izzie used the embryos they made when she was recognized with most cancers. So Alex chooses to stick with Izzie for his or her youngsters. He additionally confesses he’s nonetheless in love together with her.

In the tip, Alex leaves his shared to Grey Sloan Memorial to Jo. He additionally sends her signed divorce papers. Meanwhile, Alex reinforces Meredith is her personal individual and is robust sufficient to face on her personal, with out him.

Krista Vernoff explains why ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ didn’t kill off Alex Karev

After the Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 finale on April 9, Deadline launched an interview with Vernoff to debate the present cycle, together with Alex’s large exit. And finally, it appears the Shondaland sequence didn’t kill off Alex as a result of they needed to provide the character a greater departure than an off-camera demise.

“I believe that there would’ve been at least as big an outcry if we had killed that character off-camera, and those were our choices,” Vernoff stated. “It was kill the character off-camera, or come up with some believable way that he gets his happily ever after.”

She continued: “Some of the fans have posited, ‘Well he could have just been off-screen in Seattle like April Kepner [Sarah Drew].’ But then you’ve got an actress on the show who doesn’t get to do any of the fun, sexy, playful thrill that we’re known for. Then you penalize the actors who are staying on the show by limiting what you could do creatively with them.”

Vernoff additionally acknowledged Grey’s Anatomy followers who have been disillusioned by the episode. “I wasn’t surprised by the fan reaction,” she stated. “But I know it would’ve been equally angry if I had killed him. So it was like, these are your choices, and I felt really happy with what we chose.”

Why Krista Vernoff cherished Alex Karev’s send-off episode in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16

Although many Grey’s Anatomy followers have been upset with Alex’s exit, others have been happy, together with Vernoff. Still talking with Deadline, the showrunner shared she was “proud” of the episode. Vernoff additionally praised the present’s author, Elisabeth Finch, for doing “an extraordinary job with a nearly impossible task.”

Meanwhile, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Vernoff delved deeper into why she cherished Alex’s send-off episode.

“I love that episode,” Vernoff stated. “I thought it was beautiful, romantic, heartbreaking, painful and the perfect combination of the way so many stories happen in Shondaland, where you’re simultaneously crying for joy and crying for grief. It was perfectly imperfect and it was perfectly messy.”

She additionally defined how Alex’s ending not solely confirmed improvement within the character, however will push others to maneuver ahead.

“It allowed for Alex to have grown as a human in a variety of ways and to still be imperfect and to disappoint a woman he has loved greatly,” Vernoff stated. “It allows for Jo to have been a person who really healed him and in so many ways that he’s now able to go be this wonderful dad to these kids. And it allowed for the characters who are still at Grey Sloan to not have to go through another massive chapter of grief.”

Vernoff continued: “I thought it was beautiful and I’m really proud of it. It was an amazing thing to get to watch 16 seasons worth of material. To get to go backwards on a character’s timeline, 16 seasons, and to have it actually be stuff we shot on the show? That’s rare in TV.”

When Alex left Grey’s Anatomy, the Shondaland sequence made it clear there was no good time to say goodbye. And whereas we’re unhappy by the character’s exit after 16 seasons, the writers are happy with the trail they selected. And who is aware of? This leaves Alex — and possibly even Izzie — open to come back again someday.

“When I left the show in Season 7, people asked me if there was any chance of me ever coming back, and I was smart enough to say, “Never say never,’” Vernoff informed Deadline when requested about Alex’s return. “Here I am, so who knows?”

Read extra: Why ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Fans Don’t Believe in Meredith Grey and Andrew DeLuca’s Romance

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