It's nearly official — Alex Karev is going to jail on Grey's Anatomy. Ever since an extremely ill-advised moment during which he assaulted Grey Sloan intern Deluca, he has been waiting for the other shoe to drop in terms of his fate. Now that it has, viewers need to know how long Alex will be in jail on Grey's Anatomy so that we can emotionally prepare.
Alex turned himself in to the District Attorney's office in the fall finale and, just like the assault itself, he did it to protect Jo. It turns out, Jo said she couldn't marry him not because she didn't want to, but because she is actually already married to a horribly abusive man and had to run away to escape him. Jo is not even her real name, and she had to spill the beans to Alex because all of this new information could come out in court. If it were to come out in court, that could also lead to her abusive husband finding her. So Alex tried to protect Jo by taking a deal that would stop her from testifying and revealing all of this on the stand, sending himself to prison in the process. Ah, that Alex — always a martyr.
Exactly how long Alex is going away is yet to be determined, and there have been a variety of numbers thrown around on the show. Before he took the deal, numbers like "25 to life" were thrown around (felony assault is obviously a big deal). But now that Alex has turned himself in of his own accord, the potential sentence, according to the fall finale, is only two years. Granted, two years is still a long time to be in prison, but it is better than decades behind bars. Alex will, of course, lose his medical license with this conviction, but at least he will be a free man relatively soon.
But will Alex even really go to jail in the first place? Jo may try and save him, if it's not too late already. At this point, I think what's done is done — I'm not a lawyer, save for studying ADA Alex Cabot on Law & Order: SVU, but I'm sure that Deluca can't drop the charges after Alex has already been convicted of them.
That being said, how can Grey's Anatomy continue on without one of its longest-running cast members? Meredith has no one left, and Alex is her person. She is as fragile as me after I watch a puppy rescue video, so she won't be able to cope in Alex's absence. And frankly, I'm not sure any of the other subplots on Grey's Anatomy will be able to carry the rest of the season without this one.
My bet is that Alex gets off on a technicality or Jo tries to take his place, a la Belle subbing for Maurice in Beauty and the Beast. Right now, Grey's Anatomy is trying to make us think that Alex is going to jail for two years, but I wouldn't expect anything to go as planned.