With the Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Eighth Season about to be released on DVD, we chat to series regular Justin Chambers.
What is the focus for your character, Alex Karev, in Season Eight?
Alex concentrates on being a better surgeon in Season Eight. He’s also a bit of an outcast because he was the rat who ratted out Meredith, so he has to deal with those issues, too. I think there were some good lessons for Alex to learn this season.
There were certain obstacles that came between some of the doctors, but they’ve been together for so long that now’s the time to lay the cards on the table and explain everything.
All of the characters in the show are flawed, which means watching them trying to work through things is very interesting. It’s fun to watch and it deepens their friendships, too.
The show is all about the trials and tribulations of being interns in a hospital, and it works!
What is Alex’s biggest flaw?
I think that he runs away from his issues and his fears. He can’t make commitments and sometimes he tries to take the easy way out.
I don’t necessarily consider him a cheater but if he can take the shortcut, he will do that despite the fact that it usually bites him in the nose.
In all honesty, I think his biggest flaw is not being able to make a commitment. When he commits to someone – like with Lucy who ended up stabbing him in the back – it reinforces the message, ‘I should stay home. I don’t want to mature; I don’t want to grow up.’ I think that’s his biggest failing.
What would you like to see happen to Alex in the show in the future?
I would like to see his mom and dad, and I would like to see more of his relationship with his brother. I would also like to see him happy again in a relationship, and I would like to see him become a really good doctor.
However, if all this happened then the series would be over and there wouldn’t be anything left to write about, and I definitely don’t want that to happen.
When the show finally ends, I’d love to see everything resolved for Alex – but not for now. It’s fun to find out what’s going to happen to him next.
You were part of the original Grey’s Anatomy cast. How would you describe your Grey’s Anatomy experience?
It’s been eight years since I first started on the show. That’s a big chunk of time, especially in this very important part of my life with my family and my children growing up.
You know what? I couldn’t have asked for a better gig. It really worked out great for me.
Why has your time on the show been so productive?
Grey’s Anatomy has given me a lot of security, especially as my kids have grown older. Plus, for the last eight years, I didn’t have to get on a plane and go to do a job out of town or in another part of the world.
I’ve always looked at it as almost working at a factory because you go to work, you clock in and you do your time. But we still get to be creative and it is a character-driven show.
A lot of other shows are more procedural and the actors don’t get to be silly or dramatic – but Grey’s Anatomy isn’t like that. We have all the right elements of a really creative, fun acting job – and we get to wear pajamas every day! It’s incredibly comfortable to work on a show set in a hospital.
What do you think of the musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy from Season Seven? And do you hope to be more musical again in the future?
The musical episode was great with Kevin McKidd, Chandra Wilson, Sara Ramírez and Chyler Leigh singing their hearts out – but it was a lot of hard work.
To be honest, I don’t know if another patient or character will have a dream or be singing again, but you have to give credit to [series creator] Shonda Rhimes for thinking up ideas like that.
I love it when they say, “Let's try something else. Let’s be different.” It was inspired by the musical craze that’s going on right now in the world.
Musical shows are really popular because there are lots of talented kids out there that can sing and dance. Sara Ramírez is such a brilliant singer and Kevin McKidd is, too.
After eight successful seasons, what do you think about the future of Grey’s Anatomy?
Well, I know that we love going to work and we’re still doing exciting stuff.
I think we’re still giving the audience what they want to see, so we just play it day by day. I would love to continue on the show for many years, but it will go where it goes.
Everything must come to an end eventually, but I think as long as the audience is continuing to enjoy it, I don’t see why it shouldn’t continue.
Do you think the show could survive if one of the main actors, such as Patrick Dempsey or Ellen Pompeo, left?
It might feel odd if they weren’t on the show, especially as Ellen is the whiz on Grey’s. However, it is an ensemble show and the audience relates to many different characters.
That’s to the credit of the writers and that’s what makes Grey’s Anatomy work so well. I think it takes all of us to make it work, but who knows what the future holds?
And also, who knows what people want to see in the future? Maybe a change is good? I certainly hope nobody leaves the show, but it’s constantly evolving and I’ve got no idea what’s around the corner.
I look forward to finding out.