‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 16: Is Jackson Dead or Alive?

After 15 seasons on the air, Grey’s Anatomy certainly knows how to keep a viewer’s attention. After a nerve-racking season last year that ended in a cliffhanger, fans are more excited than ever to find out what happens in season 16.

The biggest question on everyone’s mind is what happened to Jackson? Luckily, with the premiere getting closer, we have the inside scoop into what to expect for the next season.

Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey's Anatomy.
Jesse Williams | Richard Cartwright/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Meredith faced serious consequences in the finale

Season 15 was described by showrunner, Krista Vernoff as the “Season of Love” and it ended with Meredith finally professing her love for Andrew. Although not until he’d covered for her insurance fraud and found himself in jail because of it. An event that caused Meredith, Richard and Alex to all be fired for their part in the crime. 

Meredith has always been a rule-breaker, but she usually gets away with her mischief. This season was different. We finally saw her face repercussions of her actions. Although, the crime was committed from a noble place. The insurance fraud was done to protect a family that had been traumatized by immigration.

Vernoff discussed these incredible events with The Hollywood Reporter. When asked if Meredith’s actions were an argument for immigration reform, she said, “The very nature of what Meredith did was an argument for reform… The idea that this family is suffering this much and is now going to suffer more was more than Meredith could bear. So she made what accounts for a really stupid decision from a really noble place.”

The fact that so many characters were fired as a result will have major consequences on the next season. Regarding this, Vernoff said, “It is consequential AF, as the kids say. We were excited in the writer’s room about that. We couldn’t stop laughing, like, ‘Holy sh*t, what have we done?! What are we doing?!'”

Since this was the “Season of Love,” Meredith’s admission wasn’t the only profession of love during that episode. Owen admitted his feelings for Teddy, while she gave birth to their daughter. But Teddy isn’t exactly free to pursue a relationship with Owen. She has her boyfriend, Koracick, who is back home building the nursery with no idea that Teddy is in labor. 

Season 15 ended with a big cliffhanger

The biggest event in the season finale was the cliffhanger regarding Jackson, something that Vernoff hoped would keep viewers speculating all summer. During a multi-car pileup, Jackson leaves Maggie alone and walks into the fog, not to be seen again.

Now Maggie and fans of the show are terrified about what could have happened to the character. Is he still alive?

When asked why they left the show so open-ended, Vernoff said, “It was a creative decision. It was a cliffhanger. I want people to come back [in the fall] and talk all summer and wonder what happens to him. We have not mapped it out.”

What’s next for season 16? Is Jackson still alive?

The big question on everyone’s mind for the season 16 premiere, which airs September 26, is whether Jackson is alive or dead. Luckily, we do know that the actor who plays Jackson, Jesse Williams has signed on for the next two seasons, according to Cinema Blend. That means he’ll definitely be a part of the show through season 17, but in what capacity? 

As we get closer to the season premiere, ABC has released a summary for the first episode and it answers a few of our questions. The episode is called “Nothing Left to Cling To” and the summary reveals that Jackson helps a man in a dangerous situation, and his relationship with Maggie comes to a crossroads. 

Based on this, it appears that Jackson is still alive after all. That’s good news for his fans. However, we also know that he won’t be a part of every episode this season.

Williams has a Broadway debut coming up in the spring of 2020, which will cause him to miss a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. But missing a couple of shows is much better than starting the season six feet under.