Former social justice heartthrob Jesse Williams will be leaving his role as Dr. Avery on the hit television drama Grey’s Anatomy.
The show, now in its 17th season, is where most people first saw and fell in love with Williams. Although it was a bummer that he was married to Dr. Kepner, a character that few people liked, Jackson Avery enchanted millions of fans every Thursday night for 12 seasons.
“Jesse Williams is an extraordinary artist and activist. Watching his evolution these past 11 years both on-screen and off has been a true gift,” Grey’s Anatomy executive producer/showrunner Krista Vernoff said in a statement to Deadline.
The aqua-eyed activist became a series regular in season 6 of the show after a season 5 recurring spot and quickly became one of the most popular characters. In 2019, he won an NAACP Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Williams’ career has evolved in the years since he’s been on Grey’s Anatomy. He has directed some episodes of the show and Rebel. Most recently, he produced Two Distant Strangers that went on to win an Oscar for Best Live-Action Short film in April.
Thankfully, the actor’s last episode won’t end in a befuddling tragic death like so many other popular characters on the show. Jackson Avery will simply hand in his resignation letter, and his co-workers at Grey-Sloan Memorial will give him a warm goodbye.
Williams is bowing out with grace and gratitude for the experience.
“I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda, the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen and Debbie,” he said.
Ellen Pompeo portrays Meredith Grey, and Debbie Allen plays Avery’s mother and also serves as executive producer on Grey’s Anatomy.
What’s next? Sarah Drew, who portrayed Dr. April Kepner and Dr. Avery’s wife and mother of his child, teased a possible “Japril” spinoff where Williams and Drew reprise their on-camera relationship. However, a merciful God will not allow that to ever be so.
Williams is slated to star in a 2022 Broadway production that was put on hold during the pandemic and is also scheduled to be in the Amazon movie Marked Man.
Viewers can catch his last performance as Dr. Avery on the May 20 episode entitled, “Tradition.”