Grey’s Anatomy‘s showrunner revealed the reason why she did not see killing-off Justin Chambers’ character, Alex Karev, as a viable option.
“At the end of the day, there were three choices,” Krista Vernoff told TVLine in an interview published on Thursday, April 9. “[Eliminate] Alex off camera; have Alex be alive and in Seattle — and still married to Jo — and we just never see him; or [reunite him] with Izzie.”
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Essentially, Vernoff decided the third option was the best one. She told the outlet that she felt killing-off Alex would have been“cruel to everyone — particularly Meredith and Jo,” referring to Ellen Pompeo and Camilla Luddington’s respective characters on the medical drama series.
“There was no way to not put those characters through gut-wrenching, ongoing grief if we had [eliminated] Alex off camera,” she added. “Some fans were upset, particularly the Jolex shippers, that [Alex left Jo to be with Izzie] — and I understand why. But I would fight real hard anyone who tried to tell me that fans would not have been equally or more upset if I had [eliminated] Alex Karev off camera.”
The executive producer worried that having Alex remain in Seattle and married to Jo “would absolutely eliminate [the chance for her to play] so many colors that she is so good at playing.” In the end, there was not “even a debate in the writers’ room” about going with the third option.
“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,” he said in a statement at the time. “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.”