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How ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ bid farewell to Justin Chambers

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(CNN)This story contains spoilers from Thursday’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Dr. Alex Karev has officially done his last shift on “Grey’s Anatomy.” The sudden departure of actor Justin Chambers from the show left the writers of the series in a predicament and with the herculean task of bringing to conclusion the story of a character…

(CNN)This story contains spoilers from Thursday’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Dr. Alex Karev has officially done his last shift on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
The sudden departure of actor Justin Chambers from the show left the writers of the series in a predicament and with the herculean task of bringing to conclusion the story of a character who’s been with the long-running drama since the beginning.
So, how’d they do it?
Short answer: letters, voiceover and lots of stock footage.
The long answer: After going MIA several episodes ago, this week’s episode began with four characters — Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Jo (Camilla Luddington), Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Richard (James Pickens Jr.) — receiving letters from Alex.
In them, he explained that he was not returning to his job or former life because he was now living with Izzie (Katherine Heigl).
Yes, Izzie, the doctor to whom he was once married and hasn’t been seen on the show since Season 6.
Alex explained that when Meredith needed the backing of past patients and colleagues to ensure she didn’t lose her medical license, one of the calls he placed was to Izzie. In their phone conversation, he learned that Izzie was now living in Kansas, a surgical oncologist and a mother of two — and the children were his.
Back when Izzie was going through cancer treatments, she and Alex, who were married at the time, froze some embryos in case they wanted to have children in the future.
After meeting his children for the first time, Alex couldn’t imagine being anywhere else (or, apparently, find the spine to say goodbye to his wife in person).
Chambers nor Heigl appeared in the episode. Though, Chambers voiced the contents of the letters.
Chambers’s departure from “Grey’s Anatomy” was announced in January. At the time, it was also reported that the actor had made his last physical appearance on the show. But Showrunner Krisa Vernoff assured last month that the character’s story was not done.
It does seem to be now, however. At least until the characters remember it’s 2020 and Facetime exists.

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