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Ellen Pompeo

Ellen Pompeo Says Producers Haven't Decided When 'Grey's Anatomy' Will End

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Mar. 1 2021, Published 11:30 a.m. ET

Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy was monumental, to say the least. It marked the departure of Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev, one of only four original cast members left on the series. 

This turn of events hasn't marked the end of the series just yet, but it may have started Grey's down that path. Plenty of fans were very upset that Alex left the show because of a love triangle years in the making. 

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Season 17 of Grey's Anatomy has a ton of drama, of course, and has taken part of its storyline from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But still, it may not be enough to keep the beloved medical series on the air. 

When is 'Grey’s Anatomy' ending?

For now, pretty much no one knows when Grey's will end, not even the show's cast. In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Ellen Pompeo said they simply don't know if the show's 17th season will be its last. "We honestly have not decided," she said. "We are really trying to figure it out right now. What story do we tell to end a show this iconic? How do we do it? I just want to make sure we do this character, and this show, the fans ... I want to make sure we do it right."

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Alex Karev and Meredith Grey
Source: ABC

Entertainment Weekly says that Ellen's contract is up at the end of season 17. But it might not all be over; the season brought back Patrick Dempsey and T.R. Knight as Derek and George. One of the plot lines for this season is that Meredith has been fighting COVID-19 and those two show up in her dreams.

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The actress, who, along with Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey) and James Pickens Jr. (Dr. Richard Webber), has been on the show since day one, previously revealed that she’s not sure when she’ll be prepared to pull the plug on her most famous character.

"I keep saying, 'I’m ready to move on and I want to stop the show before the ratings go down,' but the ratings never go down!" Ellen told TVLine. "They go down a little bit, but the fact that we are able to hold our [title as ABC’s No. 1 series] is kind of [incredible]."

Fans' disappointment over Alex Karev's sendoff could spell trouble for 'Grey’s.'

If viewers’ reactions to the head of pediatric surgery’s final storyline are any indication, the drama might be on its last leg. Things turned sour in January when Justin announced he was leaving the show, confirming that his last episode had already aired.

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Meredith Grey Talking to Miranda Bailey
Source: ABC

Unsurprisingly, the revelation left fans reeling given that his character never got a proper goodbye. If they’d known what was coming, they probably wouldn’t be so anxious for closure. 

In the March 5 episode, we learned that Alex had been lying to Meredith and his wife Jo about where he was living the past few months. He wasn’t visiting his mother in Iowa. Instead, he had been spending time in Kansas with ex-wife Izzie Stevens and their 5-year-old twins, who were born via embryos frozen by the former spouses years ago.

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alex and izzie greys anatomy
Source: ABC

Alex told Jo in a letter that he was choosing to be with Izzie so that their children could grow up with a father, leaving the attending general surgeon to sign divorce papers. That’s not the man we’ve come to know and love.

"I mean I can't believe I'm saying this but [creator] Shonda [Rhimes] should've just killed him," one angry viewer lamented on Twitter. "That would have made way more sense than this mess."

Another user added, "The way they’ve written off Alex is the most distasteful character regression I’ve ever seen. Make it make sense!!!"

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