Post Mortems

Grey's Anatomy Boss Reveals Why Jo Was Able to So Quickly Bounce Back From Alex's Shocking Betrayal

Grey's Anatomy Season 17

Grey’s Anatomy’s decision to have Jo rebound so quickly from Alex’s betrayal was as much a humane one as it was a creative one. Since the twist came not too long after the character’s Season 15 mental breakdown, which was brought on by Jo’s discovery that she was a product of rape, showrunner Krista Vernoff could not in good conscience send the beleaguered doc — or her portrayer, Camilla Luddington — down another harrowing road.

“I didn’t want to put anyone through it,” Vernoff tells TVLine. “[Camilla] had so beautifully gone through many months of very dark storytelling, and I didn’t want any of us to watch Jo go into a hole again.”

Jo’s remarkable resilience in the wake of learning — via a Dear John letter, no less — that hubby Alex had abruptly dumped her to be with ex-wife Izzie and their young twins “also felt honest,” Vernoff maintains, “because I’ve had the experience in my life where the pain of not knowing is so much worse than a very painful truth. Jo had so many episodes of not knowing [where Alex was] that even though the [eventual] answer was horridly painful, there was really honest relief [in just knowing what was up]. Getting an answer finally allowed her to strangely feel better than she had when she was just in the dark.

“Jo had imagined every possible worst-case scenario,” the EP continues. “And even though one of them came true, just having the information allowed her to move on. It felt like she had done a lot of grieving for the relationship in the weeks prior to receiving that letter.”