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10 Shocking TV Deaths That Proved No Character Was Safe


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

Warning: This list contains spoilers concerning the deaths of many major characters from several TV shows.

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Summary

  • Major character deaths in TV shows establish a sense of real danger and unpredictability.
  • Shows like
    The Walking Dead
    ,
    Sons of Anarchy
    ,
    Grey’s Anatomy
    , and
    Lost
    have killed off main characters, shocking audiences.
  • Character deaths can change the tone of a show and have long-lasting effects on the story.

Single major character deaths can be used to establish that none of the characters are completely safe in an intense TV show. With most pop culture, the audience assumes that certain characters are protected from death, usually because they are the protagonists. However, if the writers of any given show want to create a setting where the danger is real, the fact that certain people always survive becomes a plot hole over time. Yet some characters need to live, so they can carry a long-term story.

The preeminent show where anyone can die is Game of Thrones, but several others stand out for killing off even the main characters. On several occasions, a show has continued after the main character leaves, and not always because that character dies. These shows are able to carry on because of a strong supporting cast, which can be the key to shocking character deaths that don’t destroy the stories they are in.

10 Glenn Rhee

The Walking Dead (2010-2022)

The Walking Dead

Based on one of the most successful and popular comic books of all time, AMC’s The Walking Dead captures the ongoing human drama following a zombie apocalypse. The series, developed for television by Frank Darabont, follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who are traveling in search of a safe and secure home. However, instead of the zombies, it is the living who remain that truly become the walking dead. The Walking Dead lasted for eleven seasons and spawned several spinoff shows, such as Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
 

Release Date
October 31, 2010

Cast
Steven Yeun , Andrew Lincoln , Chandler Riggs , Laurie Holden , Jeffrey DeMunn , Sarah Wayne Callies , Melissa McBride , Norman Reedus , Jon Bernthal , Iron E. Singleton

Seasons
11

Streaming Service(s)
Netflix , AMC Plus

Several major characters die within the first few seasons of The Walking Dead. However, Glenn is established as one of the long-term survivors and makes it to season 7. Glenn became such an integral part of the show that fans at least subconsciously doubted that he could ever be killed off. However, Glenn is killed by Negan following The Walking Dead season 6’s controversial ending. Glenn’s death tells the audience that even characters who have been there since the beginning can be killed.

Related

The Walking Dead: Most Unexpected Character Deaths, Ranked

Many characters have come and gone in The Walking Dead, but these particular deaths truly surprised the audience.

9 Maid Marian

Robin Hood (2006-2009)

Marian and Robin in BBC's Robin Hood

Maid Marian is one of the central characters in the Robin Hood legend, but she dies in the season 2 finale of the BBC’s Robin Hood TV show. The villain Guy of Gisborne stabs Marian in a rage after she declares that she has always been in love with Robin. Her death is indicative of how the show will end a season later – with the deaths of basically all the main characters, including Robin and Guy. After Robin’s death, the remaining Merry Men decide to carry on their mission to protect the common people in Robin’s name.

8 Lexie Grey

Grey’s Anatomy (2005-Present)

Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy is considered one of the great television shows of our time, winning several awards and four Emmys. The high-intensity medical drama follows Meredith Grey and the team of doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial, who are faced with life-or-death decisions on a daily basis. They seek comfort from one another, and, at times, more than just friendship. Together they discover that neither medicine nor relationships can be defined in black and white.

Release Date
March 27, 2005

Cast
Kelly McCreary , Patrick Dempsey , Kevin McKidd , Chandra Wilson , Jesse Williams , Jake Borelli , camilla luddington , Ellen Pompeo , Chyler Leigh , Eric Dane , Caterina Scorsone , Giacomo Gianniotti , Anthony Hill , Kate Walsh , Justin Chambers , Sarah Drew , Greg Germann , Martin Henderson , Katherine Heigl , T.R. Knight , Sara Ramirez , Jerrika Hinton , Richard Flood , Sandra Oh , Kim Raver , Jason George , Tessa Ferrer , Isaiah Washington , James Pickens Jr. , Gaius Charles , Chris Carmack , Brooke Smith , Jessica Capshaw

Seasons
19

Fans might have been willing to accept George’s death in Grey’s Anatomy season 5 as a one-off event. While several characters are killed in the hospital shooting at the end of season 6, none of them were on the show for more than one season. However, the Grey’s Anatomy season 8 finale arguably cemented the show’s reputation for having a high death toll. Meredith’s sister Lexie dies from her injuries shortly after several of the main characters are in a plane crash. Lexie’s death is followed by Mark’s at the beginning of season 9.

7 Boone Carlyle

Lost (2004-2010)

Boone Dying in Lost

Lost

Lost is a mystery drama series created for TV that follows a group of survivors of a plane crash and tells its story between the past, present, and future via flashbacks. When Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 crashes and lands on a mysterious island in the pacific ocean, the castaways discover their new temporary home may have a mind of its own, as strange supernatural events keep them locked to the island. From an unknown black smoke creature to dangerous islanders, the passengers must work together to survive the island’s seemingly deadly intentions.

Release Date
September 22, 2004

Cast
Evangeline Lilly , Naveen Andrews , Henry Ian Cusick , Daniel Dae Kim , Harold Perrineau , Dominic Monaghan , Emilie de Ravin , Jorge Garcia , Josh Holloway , Michael Emerson , Terry O’Quinn , Matthew Fox , Ken Leung , Elizabeth Mitchell , Yunjin Kim

Seasons
6

The core premise of Lost places the characters in volatile circumstances: stranded on a remote island after a plane crash. Several minor characters die from injuries and other accidents throughout season 1. However, Boone is the first major character to die in Lost. Boone and Locke are investigating another plane they have found on the island, resulting in Boone falling from a cliff and dying of his injuries. Boone still has a major presence on the show, appearing in some flashbacks and visions. Yet his death marks a turning point and raises the stakes in Lost.

Related

The 5 Most Shocking Lost Deaths (& 5 We Saw Coming)

Lost saw plenty of character deaths throughout its run. Some of them were completely shocking, and others were too predictable.

6 Sybil Crawley

Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

Sybil Crawley and Tom Branson in Downton Abbey

Sybil’s death was not caused by the Downton Abbey writers wanting to establish a certain level of danger but by Jessica Brown Findlay’s decision to leave the show. Nonetheless, season 3 was a tumultuous time for Downton Abbey. The writers had to deal with both Findlay and Dan Stevens leaving, and Sybil’s tragic death demonstrates what this meant for the characters. Fans who were aware of other actors’ impending exits knew that the writers might be forced to kill their characters off. However, after Matthew’s death in the season 3 finale, they made every effort to avoid doing this again.

5 Lucerys Velaryon

House Of The Dragon (2022-Present)

House of the Dragon

Taking place about 172 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon tells the tale of the rise of the Targaryens, the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria. The popular HBO spinoff show first starred Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower before they were replaced by Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke, who play the older versions of the characters. Also starring in the series is Matt Smith (Prince Daemon Targaryen) and Paddy Considine as Rhaenyra’s father, King Viserys Targaryen.

Release Date
May 21, 2022

Cast
Jefferson Hall , Paddy Considine , Fabien Frankel , Ryan Corr , Eve Best , Gavin Spokes , Graham McTavish , Steve Toussaint , Olivia Cooke , Sonoya Mizuno , Bill Paterson , Matthew Needham , Emma D’Arcy , Matt Smith , Rhys Ifans , David Horovitch

Seasons
1

House of the Dragon season 1 does not shy away from violence, upholding the hostile world that was introduced with Game of Thrones. However, Lucerys Velaryon’s death in the season 1 finale is still horrific. Those familiar with the plot of George R. R. Martin’s Fire & Blood know that most of the children on both sides of the Dance of Dragons will die in the ensuing conflict. The death of one of Rhaenyra Targaryen’s sons is a harbinger of the bloody civil war that will dominate House of the Dragon season 2 and beyond.

4 Sasha Braus

Attack On Titan (2013-2023)

Sasha holds a weapon with a determined expression in Attack on Titan

Attack On Titan

Based on the manga, Attack on Titan is a dark-action fantasy series set in a world where humanity has been corralled into walled cities from fear of monstrous human-eating Titans that exist outside of them. When protagonist Eren Yeager’s mother is killed in front of his eyes at a young age, his thirst for vengeance leads him to join an elite group of soldiers created to fight back against the Titan menace.

Release Date
April 7, 2013

Cast
Matthew Mercer , Josh Grelle , Hiroshi Kamiya , Shiori Mikami , Jerry Jewell , Kishô Taniyama , Jessica Calvello , Masahiko Tanaka , Yui Ishikawa , Romi Park , Robert McCollum , Tomohisa Hashizume , Hiro Shimono , Trina Nishimura

Seasons
4

It is no secret that a lot of people die in Attack on Titan. However, there is a core group of characters who are more or less safe. Despite most of them being new recruits, they always survive brutal battles while veteran members of the Survey Corps are killed. Then Sasha, a long-standing survivor, abruptly dies early in Attack on Titan’s final season. With plenty of time left in season 4 for the rest of the cast to continue undertaking dangerous missions, Sasha’s death establishes that their luck may be running out.

3 Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero

The Sopranos (1999-2007)

Big Pussy from The Sopranos wearing a jacket and shirt.

The Sopranos

Considered to be a quintessential drama series to watch, The Sopranos is a crime-drama series that follows Tony Soprano, who tries to manage the expectations of an Italian-American patriarch while acting as the head of a prolific New Jersey crime family. Burdened by the stress of the expectations thrust upon him, Tony regularly visits a therapist throughout the series run. This helps give context to Tony’s actions as a ruthless boss with violent tendencies.

Release Date
January 10, 1999

Cast
James Gandolfini , Lorraine Bracco , Edie Falco , Michael Imperioli , Dominic Chianese , Steven Van Zandt , Tony Sirico , Robert Iler , Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Seasons
6

Streaming Service(s)
Max

Midway through The Sopranos season 2, Tony realizes that Big Pussy is an FBI informant and kills him. Jeremy Urquhart perfectly describes the effect of this (via Collider):

“Big Pussy’s death is the one that truly establishes no one is safe from being written out of the show, as even though the mob’s no-tolerance policy towards informants/rats had been established, perhaps viewers in season 2 might’ve thought a main character would be spared such a fate.”

Indeed, this event has implications for the death of Christopher’s long-time girlfriend Adriana in season 5. Considered one of the most shocking deaths in The Sopranos, Adriana is also killed after it is discovered that she is an FBI informant. However, Big Pussy’s death establishes in season 2 that even a long-standing character like Adriana is unlikely to survive after this information is unearthed.

2 Opie Winston

Sons Of Anarchy (2008-2014)

Opie from the Sons of Anarchy series.

Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy, created by Kurt Sutter, follows a notorious outlaw motorcycle club, the Sons of Anarchy, as they confront drug dealers, corporate developers, and law enforcement to protect their livelihoods and their hometown of Charming, CA. Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Sons of Anarchy explores what happens when the seduction of money and power comes between family. The show follows the Teller and Morrow family legacies, with Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller handling his duties as the V.P. of the club while dealing with the new president – his stepfather – Clay Morrow.

Release Date
September 8, 2008

Cast
Kim Coates , Charlie Hunnam , Theo Rossi , Mark Boone Junior , Maggie Siff , Katey Sagal , Tommy Flanagan , Ron Perlman

Seasons
7

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu

Most of the main characters eventually die in Sons of Anarchy, including the protagonist Jax in the series finale. However, Jax’s best friend Opie’s death is regarded as even more upsetting. While in prison, Jax is going to offer himself up as Damon Pope’s demanded victim in exchange for his friends’ freedom. Opie then starts a fight with one of the guards and is beaten to death in front of the others. Series co-creator Sutter argued, while discussing the reason for Opie’s death on social media, that when “you’re telling stories that take place in an uber-violent world, dying is part of the truth.”

Related

8 Tragic TV Show Deaths That Had To Happen

No matter how much a character is loved, sometimes for the plot to progress correctly, they have to be killed off and leave the show for good.

1 Ned Stark

Game Of Thrones (2011-2019)

Game Of Thrones

Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones is a TV series based on the book “A Song of Ice of Fire” by George R. R. Martin. It tells the story of the ongoing battle between the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros – as they fight for control of the coveted Iron Throne. Friction between the houses leads to full-scale war. All while a very ancient evil awakens in the far north. Amidst the war, a neglected military order of misfits, the Night’s Watch, led by House Stark’s Jon Snow, is the first to encounter icy horrors that threaten all realms of men. The series premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011, and quickly became one of the biggest event series in the “Golden Age” of TV. Winner of 38 Primetime Emmy Awards, Game of Thrones has attracted record viewership on HBO and has a broad, active, international fan base.

Release Date
April 11, 2011

Seasons
8

Ned Stark’s death in Game of Thrones is famously one of the most shocking moments in TV history. While he is framed as the series’ protagonist in season 1, Ned is executed on Joffrey’s orders in the season 1 finale. People might have heard of Game of Thrones as the definitive show where anyone could die, but Ned’s death is the moment that solidifies this.

Game of Thrones then repeats this structure, with Ned’s son Robb and wife Catelyn acting as protagonists for two more seasons before their deaths. Ultimately, the characters who have supporting roles in the early seasons, such as Jon, Sansa, Arya, and Dany, end up becoming the protagonists of the show simply because they survive until the end. Devastating as they are, Ned and other major characters’ deaths are essential in establishing the tone and setting of the story the showrunners are trying to tell.

Source: Collider

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