Justin Chambers' Final 'Grey's Anatomy' Episode Has Already Aired -- Here's How Alex Karev's Story Ended

grey's anatomy alex karev

More surprising than the actor's announcement was the news that his final episode had already aired.

Perhaps more surprising than the Friday news that Justin Chambers is departing Grey's Anatomy after 15 years is the news that the OG Grey's doc's final episode has already aired.

So how did Alex Karev's story end? A bit open-ended, which will likely leave fans hoping for a future return. Chambers' last episode of Grey's aired on Nov. 14, when the devoted doc fought to keep pal Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) from losing her medical license by bringing dozens of her former patients to her hearing and reading letters of support from Grey's docs past like Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh). He did not appear in the subsequent season 16 fall finale.

After being fired from Grey Sloan in the wake of Meredith's insurance fraud scandal, Alex was currently serving as Chief of Surgery at Pacific Northwest General Hospital, while also making trips back to Iowa to care for his ailing mother. All of these may be used as reasoning for Alex's absence, however, his relationship with wife Jo (Camilla Luddington) may also be on the rocks due to Chambers' departure -- as well as Jo's decision to bring home an abandoned newborn, seemingly without consulting her husband.

"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," Chambers said in a statement to ET on Friday. "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."

"As I move on from Grey’s Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rhimes, original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride."

Fans first met Alex in the show's pilot in 2005. He was a surgical intern at Seattle Grace Hospital, before moving up to resident and becoming a pediatric surgical fellow. Grey's Anatomy was renewed for season 17 by ABC in May after surpassing ER as the longest-running primetime medical drama last February. 

As for when the show will eventually come to an end, Pompeo has been candid about when she'll hang up her scrubs.

"It's something Shonda [Rhimes] and I will decide together," Pompeo -- who also serves as a producer -- told ET last October. "I've been doing it a long time and I do get restless, but the fans are just still so passionate about the show."

"I think the fans will let us know," she added. "When the numbers start to drop and people aren't watching the same, people aren't as passionate about it... it's time to call it." 

For more on Grey's, watch below.

Additional reporting by Philiana Ng.