The ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16, Episode 16 Promo Trailer Bids Farewell to Alex Karev and Fans Are Already Crying

Grey’s Anatomy fans have been wondering how Alex Karev will be written out of the ABC drama after Justin Chambers announced his departure in January 2020. Many viewers were worried Alex wouldn’t receive a proper exit, as Chambers’ final episode reportedly aired on Nov. 14. Since then, the show has tip-toed around the subject. But now, it seems viewers will find out the real reason why Alex leaves Grey Sloan Memorial. In the Grey’s Anatomy Season 16, Episode 16 promo trailer, the network confirmed fans will bid farewell to Alex on Thursday, March 5. 

The ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16, Episode 16 promo teases Alex Karev’s exit

On Jan. 10, Deadline reported Chambers’ departure from Grey’s Anatomy after 16 seasons. In a statement, 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. 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.

Then following the Feb. 27 episode of Grey’s Anatomy Season 16, ABC aired the promo for the 16th episode, titled “Leave A Light On.” And basically, everyone better stock up on tequila and tissues because the teaser alone will break your heart.

The promo kicks off with a scene from the Grey’s Anatomy pilot and A Great Big World’s “Say Something” playing softly in the background. Viewers watch as shots of the original interns — Alex, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), George O’Malley (T.R. Knight), Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), and Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) — flash by. Then it’s highlighted Meredith and Alex are the last two remaining from MAGIC — until March 5.

“After 16 seasons, we’re saying goodbye to Dr. Alex Karev. See how his story ends next Thursday on Grey’s Anatomy,” the promo reads. 

Why does Alex Karev leave ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

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For now, fans will have to wait and see how “Leave A Light On” unfolds Alex’s exit on Grey’s Anatomy. The season 16, episode 16 promo trailer merely showed old clips from previous seasons, highlighting the character’s lengthy journey and relationships on the show. 

Meanwhile, the description for the March 5 episode, doesn’t give away any details either. “Bailey [Chandra Wilson] and Ben [Jason George] face a huge, life-altering decision, while Meredith and several of the doctors reflect on the past,” the release on ABC reads. 

But even so, the end of Grey’s Anatomy Season 16, Episode 15 had fans believing Alex left his wife, Jo (Camilla Luddington). In the final moments of the Feb. 27 episode, Jo reveals a major bombshell — Alex isn’t with his mom in Iowa like we all were led to believe.

“He left me,” Jo says. “I think he woke up one day and felt the need to escape his life and me. I called his mom. He wasn’t there, he’d never been there. And I can’t breathe.”

Jo — as well as audiences at home — crumble into tears.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ showrunner opens up about Alex Karev’s final arc

Justin Chambers as Alex Karev and Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey on 'Grey's Anatomy' - Season Twelve
Justin Chambers as Alex Karev and Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Richard Cartwright/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

As Grey’s Anatomy fans anxiously wait for Alex’s farewell episode, some may find comfort in showrunner Krista Vernoff’s previous interview with Variety from Feb. 13. Vernoff revealed Alex’s departure will take some time “to give the audience clarity.” But she hinted the character’s exit won’t completely shatter Jo.

“It was a very careful threading of a needle, where we are giving a little bit of information and pain to Jo,” Vernoff said.

She later added: “Jo went through so much pain and so much grief just last season that I wanted to be careful. And so it’s a bit of a mystery [what’s going on with Alex], so that we don’t watch Jo in the same place that we watched her in last season. We did it as carefully as we could. But it takes a while to get there.”

Regardless of how Alex leaves Grey’s Anatomy, we know it’ll be painful to watch. As mentioned, the character has been with fans for 15 years. So naturally, it’ll be hard to let him go. Let’s just hope it’s an ending fitting for a king — or as Cristina would put it, “Evil Spawn.”

Read more: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Fans Have Strong Opinions On How Showrunners Are Dealing With Justin Chambers’ Mysterious Exit