Remember when fans thought Grey's Anatomy was going to kill off Justin Chambers' Alex Karev?
Well, the showrunner of the ABC drama has opened up about how best to write out the character, and it looks like death was not an option she really thought about.
“At the end of the day, there were three choices,” Krista Vernoff told TVLine.
“Kill 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.”
If you watch Grey's Anatomy online, you know that the show reunited Alex with Izzie, much to the chagrin of many viewers, who thought it was a slap in the face to the fans who shipped Alex and Jo.
Killing Alex would have been “cruel to everyone — particularly Meredith and Jo,” Vernoff continued.
“There was no way to not put those characters through gut-wrenching, ongoing grief if we had killed 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 killed Alex Karev off camera.”
Additionally, Vernoff worried that keeping Alex in Seattle, but off-screen “would absolutely eliminate [the chance for her to play] so many colors that she is so good at playing.”
That's why there was not "even a debate in the writers' room" about reuniting Alex with Izzie.
Chambers revealed his exit after 15 seasons in January, and that's also the time fans learned that they had already watched his final episode on-screen.
“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 statement to Deadline.
“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.”
With Grey's Anatomy renewed for a 17th season, there is hope that Alex could come back down the line, but given that Chambers left the show under the strangers of circumstances, it seems unlikely.
Now that we know the three options, which one do you think was best?
Hit the comments below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.