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.”