Ellen Pompeo Has a Lot to Say About Alex's Exit on Grey's Anatomy

Even though fans disagreed with her thoughts.

Ellen Pompeo Said Alex’s Grey’s Anatomy Exit was the “Best Possible Storyline” — And I Agree
Photo: ABC

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Grey's Anatomy Season 16, Episode 16 "Leave a Light On"

On March 5, Grey’s Anatomy fans bid adu to Alex Karev (played by Justin Chambers). The hour-long episode saw the beloved “Evil Spawn” leave behind his wife Jo, and longtime friends to live with ex-wife Izzie and their five-year-old twins in Kansas.

Yes, you read that correctly. And now that you’ve (hopefully) recovered from the shock of this somewhat soap opera-esque twist, it would be understandable if you wanted to join the chorus of fans expressing their outrage at the sendoff.


“Izzie having Alex's kids and not telling him all these years and him going back to her now is reverse character development at its worst,” another said.

Yet another person took the drastic measure of blocking the accounts of the show and the writers.

Despite the negative feedback, Grey’s Anatomy’s leading lady Ellen Pompeo spoke out about Alex’s farewell in a statement on Instagram to, well, say exactly the opposite.

“For me personally for Karev to go back to the beginning.... was the best possible storyline. It pays homage to those incredible first years and the incredible cast ...that created a foundation so strong that the show is still standing. So let’s not be sad,” she wrote. Pompeo also thanked Debbie Allen, a producer, director and actor on the series for “giving Alex Karev the best send off” and she credited Shonda Rhimes “for creating the most amazing character.”

Earlier this year, many fans were shocked to find out that Justin Chambers would exit the show after 16 seasons. It was yet another gut punch came when fans found out they would not see him appear in his farewell episode.

Still, we saw clips of him throughout, including his first appearance on the show, his weddings and that time he got shot. He did lend his voice to it as well reading letters to his wife and to fellow original characters Meredith, Miranda Bailey and Richard Webber. The character explained that as much as he loves his wife and friends in Seattle, when he found out that Izzie had his children he felt it would be wrong to leave and not be a part of their lives.

As Alex has matured we’ve seen him become a caring pediatric surgeon and someone who will go to great lengths to defend and protect people he loves. So, I buy the storyline, enough of it anyway that I can try and be happy for Alex and his new life. Am I disappointed that he went back with Izzie after the horrible way she left him 10 seasons ago? Sure. But I’m also thankful the show chose not to kill off yet another beloved character. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to read all the stories or tweets about whether Alex’s death crushed you more than Derek’s.

Ellen Pompeo Said Alex’s Grey’s Anatomy Exit was the “Best Possible Storyline” — And I Agree

Over 16 seasons Grey’s Anatomy has changed a lot. Pompeo has spoken openly about working to change the atmosphere on set after the tumultuous early years and as the highest-paid actress on a primetime drama she’s in a powerful position to do just that. The show has centered its female characters and female friendships and been unafraid to tackle timely social issues particularly in recent years and it seems she has no plans of stopping.

“No matter what the challenge or how tired we all are in the end... you keep us going….” Pompeo wrote in her statement.

And so too will Grey’s Anatomy keep going, at least for now.

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