Everything we love about Grey’s Anatomy

From the first time Meredith Grey wielded a scalpel to the moment she won the coveted Harper Avery award, we were with her.

As a longtime Grey’s Anatomy fan, We’ve seen doctors come and go, and relationships flourish and die. Now, that Justin Chambers (a.k.a Alex Karev) is leaving the series after Season 16, things are starting to look rather bleak for the hit ABC medical drama. We’ve endured the show’s many deaths and countless tragedies, but this one seems too much to overcome.

Isn’t it time we admit that the quality of the ABC series has finally fizzled out? More than half of the core cast has either died or left, the new characters aren’t all that interesting, and we are starting to think the writers have run out of ideas. Watching the series now seems more like an act of loyalty than something to look forward to.

And with fresh medical shows like The Good Doctor and The Resident, can Grey’s even compete? What’s a diehard fan got to do to satiate her thirst for O.R. drama? Here’s an idea: Relive the show’s greatest moments! Read on for a rundown of the best Grey’s moments of all time.

Alex Karev’s story has come to an end in Season 16.

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That’s right, Grey’s Anatomy fanatics. The beloved character is leaving us for good. Justin Chambers announced his big decision to depart from the long-running series which came as a major surprise to fans.

“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 explained in an exclusive statement to Deadline. “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.”

It is truly the end of the era. It also leaves Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr. as the only original cast members remaining on Grey’s Anatomy.

What’s more shocking? According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chambers’ final episode already aired on Nov. 15. As it turns out, the 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy was also Alex Karev’s official sendoff. In true Alex form, he set aside his own problems to save Meredith’s career from imploding. Since Alex is a pivotal character on the series, it is hard to imagine what the show will be without him. (Side note: This is the second BFF Meredith has lost in the past six years. Talk about tragic.)

What will happen to #JoLex?

Thanks to his compassionate nature and brooding persona, Alex Karev quickly became a fan-favorite character on Grey’s Anatomy. Over the years we have seen him struggle in romantic relationships, but all chaos subsided after Alex and Jo (Camilla Luddington) finally tied the knot. Undoubtedly, Chambers’ exit will have serious implications on the status of their marriage.

Although the two could get divorced, perhaps there is a happier ending in #JoLex’s future. Both Alex and Jo have talked about leaving Seattle in seasons past, but it remains to be seen how Grey’s Anatomy will address their departure. There’s also the issues of Jo’s current fellowship. Maybe she could stay back for a while and let Alex do the heavy lifting during their potential move? Whatever the case, it’s going to be interesting and deeply sad to see how this storyline plays out in Season 16.

Pick me. Choose me. Love me.

Dramatic love declarations are Grey’s Anatomy’s specialty, but this Meredith confession trumped them all. When Derek had doubts about signing his divorce papers with Addison, Meredith pleaded with him and asked him to choose her instead, which led to one of the most iconic TV speeches of all time:

*ahem*

“Your choice? It’s simple. Her, or me,” Meredith said. “And I’m sure she’s really great. But Derek, I love you. In a… really, really big… pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your window, unfortunate way that makes me hate you, love you. So pick me. Choose me. Love me.”

Izzie’s Bethany Whisper ads

At first, Izzie was looked down upon by her peers (and patients) because she was conventionally beautiful. Many people thought she didn’t belong on the surgical floor. When word got out Izzie used to model lingerie, Alex — who was a complete jerk in earlier seasons — printed out copies of her old modeling ads and posted them around the locker room. Izzie was taken aback, but in a show of strength, she stripped in front of everyone so they’d feast their eyes on her body instead of mocking her behind her back.

“Gather around and check out the booty that put Izzie Stevens through med school!” she yelled out. “Have you had enough, or should I continue, because I have a few more very interesting tattoos. You want to call me Dr. Model? That’s fine. Just remember that while you’re still sitting on two hundred grand of student loans, I’m out of debt.”

You go, girl.

Addison Montgomery’s first appearance

One of the biggest plot twists in Grey’s history came in the form of “the Queen of Passive Aggressiva,” Addison Montgomery-Shepherd. Just as we thought MerDer was sailing smoothly, it all came crashing down when Meredith discovered Derek was still married.

“Hi, I’m Addison Shepherd,” Addison said. “You must be the woman who has been screwing my husband.”

Yikes!

When Meredith chides Derek for disrespecting her

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl start a relationship. Boy hides the fact that he has a wife. Wife suddenly barges into their lives. Boy and girl break up. Boy rekindles his relationship with his wife. Girl decides to move on. Boy has the AUDACITY to chastise girl for her life choices. Does this sound familiar? Honestly, Derek, that was not very McDreamy of you.

Thankfully, Meredith stood up for herself and put Derek in his place.

“You don’t get to call me a whore,” she said. “When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I’m all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don’t get to call me a whore.”

Yes, yes, yesss.

When Burke abandons Cristina at the altar

First of all, how dare you, Burke? How could you break Cristina’s heart? Second, it was probably for the best. He didn’t deserve her anyway.

Before Cristina got the chance to walk down the aisle, Burke realized he didn’t want to be with someone who was unsure of marrying him. Um, have you heard of wedding jitters? A little nervousness is normal, dude, look it up. He bailed and left Cristina alone. The rest is history, and the scene defined Cristina as a strong, independent woman.

You’re my person

Long live the Twisted Sisters! We all know Meredith and Cristina grew to become BFFs, but in this scene, Cristina revealed she was having an abortion and wrote Meredith as her emergency contact. This cemented their lifelong sisterhood. It was the first time “you’re my person” was ever uttered.

“I put your name down, that’s why I told you I’m pregnant. You’re my person,” Cristina said.

“I am?” Meredith replied, shocked.

“Yeah, you are. Whatever,” Cristina replied nonchalantly.

Sigh. Friendship.

George operates on a patient in an elevator

George got flak from his fellow interns for “killing” a patient on his first day. The misfortune earned him the name “007” (aka “license to kill”), but he proved them all wrong when he performed his first open heart surgery on a patient inside an ELEVATOR (with guidance from Burke, of course, but still).

Way to go, O’Malley!

Meredith holds a bomb

Remember when Kyle Chandler made a guest appearance as a member of the bomb squad, held an explosive device in his hands, and exploded just minutes later? Yeah, that moment will forever be seared in my memory.

Here’s a refresher: A patient shot himself with a bazooka, but the ammunition didn’t explode. The hospital called a code black, and the paramedic had no choice but to stay with the patient in the operating room with her hands stuck inside the body cavity. She freaked out, bolted, and Meredith went into hero mode to keep the bomb steady with her own hands. Yikes.

The hilarious Syphilis arc

In one of the more lighthearted moments of the show, a syphilis outbreak hit the surgical floor of Seattle Grace, and one of the victims was our dear George. Not that STDs are a laughing matter, but maybe the hospital staff used spare rooms as booty call rooms a little too often.

To make George’s predicament worse, he found out he got it from his girlfriend, Olivia, who got it from George’s archnemesis, Alex. Ouch!

The most awkward elevator ride of all time

Derek got the biggest scare of his life when he had to share the elevator with his ex-wife Addison, ex-girlfriend Meredith, and current girlfriend Rose at the same time. The tension was palpable, and it permeated right through the television screen.

To top it all off, Mark — his BFF slash the man his wife CHEATED on him with — also entered. Ha!

Meredith and Cristina dance it out one last time

Before Cristina left for Zurich (and exited the series), the Twisted Sisters danced it out one last time. Cristina reminded her best friend she was extraordinary and told her not to let Derek eclipse her.

“You are a gifted surgeon with an extraordinary mind,” she said. “Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he is not the sun, you are.”

It was one of the sweetest moments of the series, by far.

Meredith drowns in the sea

Grey’s Anatomy kills off characters so often that it’s almost on par with Game of Thrones. Even Meredith Grey — the lead character and the person the show was named after — was killed off… at least for a minute.

While she tended to victims after a ferry boat crash, she accidentally got knocked into the sea and suffered from hypothermia. Derek pulled her out of the water and the rest of the Seattle Grace gang had to hustle to resuscitate her.