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How Did Scrubs End? Remembering the Series Finale(s)
The medical comedy Scrubs ended with Season 8... and then again with Season 9.
The doctors on Scrubs ended their final shift about a decade and a half ago. The beloved medical sitcom, which ran for nine seasons from 2001 to 2009, is now streaming in its entirety on Peacock. That means it might have been a while since fans of the show last saw J.D. (Zach Braff), Elliot (Sarah Chalke), Turk (Donald Faison), and the rest of the Sacred Heart staff.
If you want a refresher on how the series ended before embarking on a rewatch — or if you’re watching for the very first time and just want some spoilers, we’ve got just the cure. Here’s a breakdown of how Scrubs ended after Season 8. And, also, how it ended again, sort of, with the unexpected 9th season.
When Did Scrubs End?
The first seven seasons originally aired on NBC, but after Season 7 — which was shortened due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike — the series moved over to ABC for Season 8. Creator Bill Lawrence announced that this eighth season would be the show’s last, and all of the main characters’ storylines were brought to satisfying conclusions over the course of 19 episodes. The two-part season finale (which at the time was meant to be a series finale), “My Finale,” aired on May 6, 2009.
This would not actually be the end of Scrubs, though. A ninth season, also known as Scrubs: Med School, would also air on ABC before ending on March 17, 2010. More on that in a bit, but first a recap of how Season 8 ended, as it's widely considered to be the true ending to the series.
What Happened to the Main Characters at the end of Scrubs?
“My Finale” is about J.D.’s last day working at Sacred Heart Hospital, as he has taken a new job so that he can be closer to his son, Sammy, who he co-parents with his ex, Kim (guest star Elizabeth Banks.) J.D. and Elliot are dating and have, by the episode’s end, officially moved in together. J.D. and Turk remain best friends despite no longer working at the same hospital.
Cox (John C. McGinley), now the Chief of Medicine at Sacred Heart, finally gives J.D. the affirmation he’s been desperately seeking for close to a decade, though it's clear it pains Cox to admit that J.D., his protege, is a great doctor. Carla (Judy Reyes), is still happily married to Turk and working as head nurse at Sacred Heart. Kelso (Ken Jenkins), having retired as Chief of Medicine, decides he wants to be a doctor again, working part-time rather than just hanging around in Sacred Heart’s coffee shop all day. The Janitor (Neil Flynn) and J.D. finally get to the bottom of their antagonism and reach a détente, with the Janitor revealing that his real name is Glenn Matthews. (An orderly calls him “Tommy” in a scene right after this, so who knows if he was telling J.D. the truth.)
The episode ends with J.D. seeing visions of the many, many people he encountered over the years working in Sacred Heart, including several guest stars and characters both major and minor. Finally, set to a Peter Gabriel cover of "The Book of Love," J.D. sees a vision of the future, implying that he will go on to marry Elliot, have a kid with her, and remain close to Turk, Carla, Cox, and Jordan (Christa Miller). According to this vision, J.D.’s son Sam will end up marrying Turk and Carla’s daughter Isabella.
It’s a beautiful ending that honors the seasons that came before it while also promising a lovely future for our characters. But, that wasn’t the actual end of Scrubs — though it certainly is the finale from an emotional sense.
What is Season 9 of Scrubs about?
Although Season 8’s finale was intended to be the end, ABC ordered a ninth season of the show. Several things were different in Season 9, as the show no longer took place at Sacred Heart, which had been torn down, but at a teaching hospital that was built on the site. Only three of the seven main characters, J.D., Turk, and Cox, appear as series regulars in Season 9, and they’re not even in every episode. Other major characters only appear in a handful of episodes. The Janitor is only in one episode, and Carla does not appear at all.
In their stead is a new crop of medical students who are billed as the next generation of Scrubs, including Lucy (Kerry Bishé), who takes over narration (and daydreaming) duties from J.D. Michael Mosley and Dave Franco also star.
There’s nothing wrong with Season 9 — it’s funny and the new cast is charming — but it certainly feels like Scrubs properly ended with Season 8 and that 9 was a short-lived new show. Season 9 ended on March 17, 2010, with “Our Thanks,” — the final Scrubs finale.