After Grey’s Anatomy officially said goodbye to Justin Chambers‘ Dr. Alex Karev on March 5, the show’s last remaining original intern Ellen Pompeo knew exactly how to give the show’s fans a dose of sunshine through the sadness. The 50-year-old star of the ABC medical drama shared an Instagram Polaroid photo hanging out with former co-star T.R. Knight, 46. It brought back memories of Meredith Grey and George O’Malley as if it were still the late aughts. “Old friends are the BEST friends @t.r.knight… but like we aren’t old… we’ve just known each other for a very long time yes yes that’s it….” Ellen captioned the pic, joking about their ages.
In the selfie, Ellen is makeup free and wearing a black tank top. She has her hair pulled back in a photo and despite a few lines on her face, she still looks youthful. T.R. is standing just over Ellen’s left shoulder wearing a blue t-shirt. Both have wide smiles that show what true friendship is, 11 years after T.R. left Grey’s.
Ellen and T.R.’s characters were among the five physician interns introduced when the show premiered in March 2005, starring alongside Sandra Oh, 48, Katherine Heigl, 41, and Justin, 50. T.R. left the show in 2009, and his character’s death was one of the most heartbreaking in Grey’s history. George was written out by quitting Seattle Grace to join the army. On his way home after being given his last day off, he jumped in front of a bus to save a woman’s life. George was rushed to Seattle Grace, but his injuries were severe and his face was disfigured.
He was listed as patient John Doe because he was so unrecognizable. His identity was finally revealed after he kept writing “007” on Meredith’s palm with his finger, which was his his nickname after almost killed a patient. She then realized John Doe was George, and he sadly passed away from his injuries after being rushed into surgery shortly thereafter. All these years later, that moment can still bring a tear to the eyes of Grey’s die-hards.
Justin was the last of the original five to remain on the show with Ellen though season 16. But he abruptly announced he was quitting the show on Jan. 10, 2020 and that his appearance on the show’s 350th episode on Nov. 14, 2019 was his last. That meant he wouldn’t be around to wrap up his character’s story arc.
On the March 5 episode — SPOILER ALERT — it was revealed that his Dr. Alex Karev had found out that he had twin sons with ex-wife Dr. Izzie Stevens — played by Katherine, who left Grey’s in 2010 — and decided to move to the Kansas farm where they were living so they could be a family. In letters he sent to current wife Dr. Jo Karev (Camilla Luddington), Meredith, and Bailey (Chandra Wilson), Justin in voiceover explained his decision and the surprise situation. Unlike George O’Malley’s emotional exit, fans pretty much unanimously hated the way Alex Karev was written out of the show.