Mark Sloan is leaving Seattle Grace on ABC's Grey's Anatomy. Eric Dane, who plays McSteamy on the ABC series, is not leaving abruptly. This means Sloan may still survive the plane crash at last season's finale.
Speaking to TV Line, Dane said, "I am extremely grateful to everyone at Grey's, ABC and Shondaland for the experience and memories I have had over the course of this run."
Grey's show runner Shonda Rhimes also released a statement in reaction to Dane's departure.
"We're a big family here at Grey's with a long history together and Eric will always remain an important part of our family."
Rhimes also expressed support for Dane's career move.
"I wish him the best and I look forward to watching him as he continues to steam up the big and small screen."
"(W)ill Mark go on? Absolutely. He'll move right along. That's just what Mark Sloan does. But initially I hope there will be a devastation," she said.
Here are three simple reasons why it is about time that Dane leaves Shondaland (and Sloan leaves Seattle Grace):
1. Six years is long enough for the story arc of a player who finally discovers true love. Mark Sloan came into Grey's Anatomy towards the end of the second season. He had no sense of responsibility. By the end of the eighth season, he has become the best version of himself. For Mark Sloan, this is the best time to exit. It's been a beautiful journey for him, even if his one true love died right before his eyes.
2. Mark Sloan would not want to work every day at the hospital where Lexie Grey pranced and smiled her way to his heart. Staying at Seattle Grace would be a pointless torture. It is in his character's nature to want to move forward (or die).
3. Lexie Grey has changed Mark's Sloan life forever. These changes are expected to be encompassing, prompting Mark to seek a better life (should he survive the plane crash). Staying at Seattle Grace does not reconcile well with the idea of "better" things for Sloan.