Another one of Grey’s Anatomy’s original cast members has finally decided to leave the warm comfort of long-running ABC medical drama: According to Deadline, Justin Chambers—a.k.a. Alex Karev, the mean jerk who later became a nice jerk—has announced that he is leaving the show after 15 years, with his final episode (as far as Deadline knows) being the November 14 episode of Grey’s Anatomy (it’s 350th). That means we have presumably seen the last of Karev already, which means he’s either going to fade away quietly, like with an off-screen phone call, or he’s going to go out in such a gruesome fashion that they don’t need to show Chambers at all. Is there any kind of horrific disaster that the show hasn’t done yet?
In an interesting statement that seems to downplay just how much time he’s spent dealing with ironic medical twists and heart-wrenching relationship drama, Chambers said, “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,” adding, “For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices.” He’s been playing this guy for 15 years, which is certainly a lot of time to wish you could diversify your acting roles.
Now Chambers must navigate a path that very few have been able to successfully explore: The transition between being in Grey’s Anatomy to being in anything else.