Though we get that TV writers (usually) have valid reasons for cutting out certain characters, it still feels like we’ve been robbed of the opportunity to see these guys reach their full potential. What’s worse is that, even to this day, our hearts haven’t fully healed from their untimely deaths. These were characters that we got to know on a deeper level. We were there with them through their highs and lows and we related to them in their most vulnerable moments. They weren’t perfect, but they were well-rounded and complex beings who had quite an impact, both on the show and us viewers.
So if you’re still not over a fictional death that happened a while ago, we know that feeling all too well. See which character deaths still break our hearts to this day (warning: spoilers ahead!):
But currently (over three years later), we now know that Michael is actually alive. Or at least it appears so… After all, we’ve seen Sin Rostro wear different faces and we’ve seen secret twins appear out of nowhere, so anything could be possible at this point. But even if it is truly Michael, we’ve got mixed feelings about his return because the timing is just awful. Jane finally moved on and found happiness with Rafael, so to see him pop up again after he was declared dead is truly heart-wrenching. We just don’t know what to do with ourselves now.
We had a love/hate relationship with Joel’s character, and if you’ve ever watched him on this show, you can understand why. The fact that he actively pursued Alex when she was with someone else was beyond selfish and pretty immature. Plus, he was the absolute worst at maintaining his own romantic relationships (remember how he treated Maggie?). But interestingly enough, his biggest flaws made him even more relatable. Plus, we can’t ignore the fact that he was a stellar doctor who genuinely cared for his patients. So when we saw his graphic death scene while he attempted to save a patient, we felt like everything fell apart.
It was arguably one of the most shocking moments in TV history. Dr. Kutner, aka the only doctor who actually liked working for House, suddenly committed suicide. And the most disturbing part is that no one understood why. It was never suggested that he privately struggled with depression or tried to deal with something traumatic. There was no hint of him leading a double life. And we never saw him make a medical mistake so dire that it would drive him to take his own life.
So when his character was found dead, we felt like the writers threw that plot twist in at the last minute without taking the time to really think it through. We totally understand that the actor, Kal Penn, planned on leaving the show, but his exit could’ve been handled so much better. It still bothers us to this day.
Not only was James a caring and faithful husband, he was also a fearless journalist who chased the truth, regardless of the risk. When he figured out that something was off about the details of Sally Langston's husband’s death, he did some investigating of his own – and what he’d discovered was pretty mind-blowing. However, B-613 couldn’t risk having a famous journalist know so much information, so they murdered him without hesitation. He essentially died trying to do his job and poor Cyrus wound up having a public meltdown while he was still grieving. It was all so heartbreaking.
Our hearts still break for Allison’s dad, because aside from losing his wife to suicide, he also lost his only daughter when she fought against the Oni. Her death scene was almost too painful to watch, but the show’s creator, Jeff Davis, revealed that it had to end this way because Crystal Reed, who played Allison, wanted to leave the series.
In an interview, he said: "To be honest, we struggled to think of a reason why Allison would leave Beacon Hills. [Having her die] was more true to her character. She’s not the kind of person who would just say, ‘OK, guys, I’m out of here. Take care.’ It was a powerful, painful moment." We couldn’t agree more.
LGBTQ+ fans were (understandably) livid about Lexa’s sudden death because it followed the same old trope of lesbian characters having tragic endings. Lexa was a strong and complex character who became Clark’s love interest. They’d grown super close and they took their relationship to the next level, which hinted at the possibility of a happy ending for the two. But unfortunately, their love story was cut short.
If it’s any consolation, though, the writers didn’t necessarily kill Lexa off by choice. The actress, Alycia Debnam-Carey, wanted to be written out of the show because she got cast as a regular on a different series.
It’s safe to say that Rita was the person who brought out the good in Dexter. Anyone could tell that she was a genuinely good person because she was always warm and supportive. So you could imagine our horror when Dexter discovered that Trinity, a rival serial killer, murdered her and left her lifeless body in a bathtub… with their crying baby sitting in a puddle of her blood. It was way too similar to Dexter's origin story. That was just beyond cruel and so, so painful to watch.
We were actually convinced that Leo would come to Prue’s rescue and heal her after her battle with Shax (after all, she’d been saved before!). But this time it didn’t happen, which meant that Prue really did die in her fight to protects the innocent. It was devastating because she was a fiercely protective guardian and though she definitely practiced tough love, she always kept her siblings together.
But if you’ve ever wondered why Prue suddenly got the boot, it was because of some behind-the-scenes drama. Rose McGowam ended up replacing Shannen Doherty, which didn’t exactly line up with the original prophecy, but the fact that Paige was such an awesome character definitely makes up for it.
The beloved queen of country was the star of this show from the beginning. She was a hard-working, fiercely protective mom whose heart was always in the right place. But unfortunately, Connie Britton wanted to leave the show, and so the writers had to let her go. When Connie talked it over with the showrunners, they all agreed that Rayna’s death was the only exit that would be believable.
Connie explained: "When I was talking to [showrunner] Marshall this summer, I was like, 'Does she have to die?' But then I realized: She would never leave her family. She would never leave her kids. She would never leave Deacon. So there really wasn’t any alternative."
Raina may not have been a major character in the series, but she was still one of our favorites. Her kindness and innocence was a stark (but welcome) contrast to her father’s dark lifestyle. But when she suddenly got killed while trying to defend her brother, it just broke our hearts to pieces. To add insult to injury, her brother witnessed the entire thing and did nothing to help.
Her death was so sudden that it understandably left fans wondering why it had to happen. And according to the show’s creator, this was their way of showing Ghost’s lack of control. Courtney A. Kemp said: “Ghost is constantly fighting this idea that he’s a criminal, but he is. And it was the logical next progression in Tariq’s story; something he couldn’t change or take back would happen. Our show is not about power, it’s really about powerlessness. The idea that you don’t have power over what’s happening next no matter how much you think you do. So we wanted something that at this stage of the series would change everyone’s life forever."
In all fairness, Oberyn’s carelessness and overconfidence ultimately led to his death. He drank before his fight against Gregor and he didn’t even wear a helmet. But still, this was by far one of the most graphic and disturbing deaths we’ve ever seen on screen. Right before he died, he seemed to have the upper hand, but when he tried to solicit a confession from Gregor about killing his sister Elia, Gregor took the opportunity to overpower Oberyn. What made the scene even more cringe-worthy was how Gregor admitted to murdering and raping Elia right before the kill. *shudders*
Just thinking about Lori’s death scene makes our hearts break all over again. It was not only during a zombie attack, but one where she was in labor. Cruel writers. Lori's stomach had to be cut open for a C-section without any proper tools or anesthetics. And to make matters even worse, she had to avoid being too loud so she wouldn’t attract zombies. She’d already been through so much stress and drama in her last days that included her own husband shunning her. In the end, she chose to save her baby’s life over her own (which goes to show just how selfless she was).
When one of Will’s clients, who was accused of murder, shot and killed him in a court session, it all happened so fast and we were just too shocked for words. It might surprise you to know, though, that the show’s writers had planned his death over a year in advance. That’s right. A whole year.
The showrunners considered doing something a little less dramatic, like sending Will off to Seattle or getting him disbarred. However, Michelle and Robert King decided that it wouldn’t be enough. They wanted to create a more “a painful turning point in Alicia’s life.”
While the rest of us were understandably in full panic mode, this war hero calmly accepted his fate after he was captured by Iranian authorities and found guilty of treason. They sentenced him to death and hanged him in public while poor Carrie watched in tears.
Alex Gansa, who developed the show, explained that it was simply time for the character to go. He said: "We spent a lot of hours in the story room figuring out what we could do with his character, and a lot of the emotional landscape had been crossed. We didn’t want to repeat ourselves. Then we thought of this cool thing Saul could do with him to find political asylum in Iran and use that operationally. So it just felt like once he was in Iran, he wasn’t getting out of Iran — and his time was up."
Jen was witty, sharp, and so full of wisdom. But she was always getting the short end of the stick. Her ex left her after he got her pregnant, then she developed a serious heart condition that would eventually take her life. When she was close to dying, we saw all her loved ones visit her to say their farewells and it got us way too emotional. But that didn’t even compare to the heartfelt message that Jen left for her daughter. *sniffles*
Although others usually saw him as a disappointment, Charlie constantly worked to change this by breaking his bad habits and trying to be useful. In fact, he actually lost his life trying to save his friends, proving that he grew to become a brave and selfless hero.
We all knew that his death was coming, but seeing it actually come to pass was heartbreaking. And of course, we can’t forget that infamous "Not Penny's boat" message that wound up saving Desmond’s life.
It was a dark, dark day when McDreamy got killed off of the show. And get this: The doctor lost his life because a neurosurgeon who was on call failed to get to Derek on time. When he finally did, Derek was already declared dead. We've seen a lot of death on Grey's, but this one was the worst.
Some people assumed that Patrick Dempsey got cut from the show because of behind-the-scenes drama with Shonda Rhimes. But of course, that had nothing to so with Shonda’s decision. She explained: "Meredith and Derek's love had to remain Meredith and Derek's love. As painful as it was for me as a storyteller, because I had never really thought that was going to happen, it preserved what felt true to me[...] Derek was going to have to die in order for that love to remain honest. Because I really couldn't have the idea that he just turned out to be a bad guy who walked out on his wife and kids be a true story."
Jonathan Kent was the kind of dad we all wish we had in real life. From day one, Jonathan was an ethical, sincere, honest, and hard-working man. He steered Clark in the right direction and not only helped him to become a great hero, but also a respectful human being.
It all honestly, it sucks that Clark’s attempt to go back and save Lana ended up taking his own father’s life, but of course, he couldn’t have known it would happen. We felt his pain when his father collapsed and died in his arms, right after they’d celebrated his election win. And we’re still not over it today.
Did Matthew honestly have to die right after his wife gave birth to their child... and on Christmas day?? It was the worst timing, and fans even claimed that this tragic plot twist put a huge damper on their holiday spirit. Still, the writers stood by their decision to kill off Matthew’s character because Dan Stevens wanted to leave the show (having him exit any other way would’ve seemed too odd or out of character).
Dan once explained that the fans were so affected by this that he encountered a few who demanded an apology for what happened. Sure, it sounds like a bit much but in a sense, we don’t really blame them.
Sure, he had his faults, but at the end of the day, he was a loving and caring father who always wanted the best for his loved ones. Even with his dying breath, he mentioned his kids while telling his wife: "Boy, we did good, didn't we, Camille?"
It’s comforting to know that his death wasn’t painful at all, but we wish that he didn’t have to pass away so soon. We’d have loved to see more of him, especially with his family.
Anyone else agree that Joyce deserved a mother of the year award? She was a great single parent who supported her daughter in times of need, and she looked out for the Scoobies - Giles included, in her own little way. She also had such a positive impact on people that we often found ourselves wishing that we knew her in real life.
We know you’re probably thinking that hers wasn’t the only awful death that happened (we miss Tara, Anya, and Kendra, too!). But since Joyce was such an influential mother figure, her passing was especially painful.
After waiting for what seemed like forever, we finally found out how Jack died. After waking up to the smell of smoke, he acted quickly to get the entire family (including their pet) to safety. But unfortunately, Jack inhaled too much smoke and he went into cardiac arrest while at the hospital. After saving everyone, he was still selfless enough to go back and save extra items for Rebecca. But what’s truly heartwrenching is the fact that she blames herself for his death, noting that he couldn’t bear to disappoint her.
Stefan has always been a favorite of ours from the beginning, so seeing him go was especially hard. Though he and his brother defeated Katherine before, the two simply couldn’t think of a way to beat her again without risking a life. So in order to save Mystic Falls from being consumed in Hell Fire (and to let Damon have a life with Elena), Stefan chose to sacrifice himself.
He unfortunately met his end soon after he married Caroline, but at least he was able to leave her a message and explain what happened. Caroline let him know that she understood and was very supportive, saying that she’d always love him, while Stefan replied that he would always love her. We need tissues.
While Stefan’s death was painful, Enzo’s felt like the lowest blow. His sarcastic wit and charm was always a highlight on the show, and he and Bonnie had become one of our favorite ships. But then Stefan (aka the Ripper), rushed in and ripped Enzo’s heart out of his body… right in front of Bonnie. Just the memory of her breaking down as she held his dead body is starting to bring back the waterworks.
We felt so bad for Bonnie because didn’t deserve any of this. After all she had been through, from sacrificing herself to save her friends to losing Grams, she deserved her one shot at happiness. Couldn’t the writers at least cut her a break?