17 TV Character Deaths That Totally Surprised Us ... & Felt All Too Real

Tanvier Peart | Nov 4, 2016 TV
17 TV Character Deaths That Totally Surprised Us ... & Felt All Too Real

Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee

Television shows have the power to steal you away from reality and completely suck you in. (Maybe this is why it's become so darn easy to engross ourselves in nonstop binge-watching marathons.) And as much as we shake off each episode we view, or tell ourselves that it's just some stupid show, the truth is our favorite TV series always stay with us -- especially when a character we've come to love dies. 

Of course there are shows -- like Lost, for example -- that make us speculate whether or not what we're seeing is actually real. This makes the discovery of people being dead all along not that shocking.

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But then there are TV series that deal us mighty blows when one of our beloved characters gets taken out. Sometimes we deal with it, and othertimes we need to vent our frustrations in a 140-character-or-less rant.

There have been tons of surprising TV character deaths over the years, but these still sit with us, as we never really saw their demises coming.

Caution: There are a ton of spoilers ahead. And, yes, you might need to grab a tissue.


Image via Gene Page/AMC

  • Derek Shepherd

    Image via ABC

    If Shonda Rhimes keeps killing off our favorite characters on her shows, we're just gonna have to boycott. (Kidding, we'll still watch.) Saying goodbye to Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) -- aka "McDreamy" -- on Grey's Anatomy was a somber day. He was with us since the beginning, and we were rooting for him and Meredith to ride off into the sunset with their children. Of course, that will never happen now ...

  • Jack Pearson

    Image via Ron Batzdorff/NBC

    The NBC hit show This Is Us hasn't even been on for a year and is already giving us all the feels. So many are still grieving the death of Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), who fans recently found out is no longer alive. He was a husband and father of three, and now we'll have to keep tuning in -- with tears in our eyes -- to see how everything unfolds.

  • Glenn Rhee

    Image via Gene Page/AMC

    Damn you, Negan!! Fans of The Walking Dead were screaming at their televisions during the season seven premiere as they said goodbye to Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), a beloved character who's been kicking ass since season one. And while some people speculated Glenn might die -- assuming you read The Walking Dead graphic novel -- no one expected Negan to kill off another cast member so soon. We will always remember our favorite pizza delivery guy and the love Glenn had for Maggie.

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  • Jon Snow


    Thank goodness for redheaded enchantresses who can help bring people back to life. When Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) unexpectedly died on Game of Thrones -- no thanks to his a-hole colleagues on the wall -- fans were outraged and in their feelings. Needless to say we all calmed down when he was resurrected. #JonSnowLives

  • Ned Stark


    Speaking of the Stark clan (Jon Snow was thought to be the bastard son of Ned), can we talk about Ned Stark (Sean Bean) -- and how much we were not ready for his death in season one of Game of Thrones? It was so horrible, we lost our heads.

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  • Denny Duquette


    Nope, just nope. Shonda Rhimes has been known for playing with people's emotions, but the death of Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) on season two of Grey's Anatomy was too damn much to handle. Poor Izzy lost the love of her life after he proposed. How is this okay?!

  • Poussey Washington


    Man ... The death of beloved inmate Pousey Washington (Samira Wiley) at the hands of a correctional officer on Orange Is the New Black was tough. Sparking the hashtag #PousseyDeservedBetter, Poussey's death foreshadowed social issues -- like minorities dying in the custody (or at the hands) of law enforcement and the haste to paint the deceased in a bad light.

  • Will Gardner


    This one is still a bit painful for us to talk about. The Good Wife made our jaws drop when it killed off Will Gardner, played by Josh Charles. (His client shot him inside the courtroom.) This plot twist was a heavy blow that some thought went too far. "My loss is catastrophic. My grief is immeasurable. Please respect my privacy at this time," wrote one fan on Twitter.

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  • Lexie Grey & Mark Sloan


    Geez, can no one end up together on Grey's Anatomy?! These two gave us so much life with their on-again, off-again relationship. No one (no one) could've anticipated season eight's plane crash that left Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) professing his love for Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) as she lay dying under debris. And if that wasn't heartbreaking enough, we had to say goodbye to Mark after he died from his injuries in season nine. Mark and Lexie will always be together in our hearts, and the renaming of the hospital on the show -- Grey Sloan Memorial -- proves just that.

  • Dan Conner


    A wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion -- not one where you're saying goodbye to your dad forever. Though we give Roseanne props for not ripping our hearts out by showing Dan Conner (John Goodman) dying on TV, we were so, so shocked to find out that his part in the end of the final season was just a fantasy. He really did die from a heart attack. *Sob*

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  • Lucy Knight


    Before there was Grey's Anatomy, we had ER. This show not only gave us our weekly dose of a well-scripted medical drama, but also made us fall in love with so many characters -- including Lucy Knight (Kellie Martin). We'll never look at Valentine's Day the same after a schizophrenic patient stabbed her to death in an episode. At least Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) got to read her card. Damn ...

  • Hodor

    Image via HBO

    Game of Thrones is known for killing off any and everyone -- and not giving an F about it -- but Hodor (Kristian Nairn), Bran's silent and trusted giant, was too damn much. He sacrificed himself to the white walkers to keep his buddy alive, and we will always remember this gentle colossus every time someone says, "Hold the door."

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  • Matthew Crawley

    Image via ITV

    Christmas came and went for Downton Abbey fans who were dumbfounded when Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) died in a car crash on the way to see his baby boy. Definitely not the holiday spirit we were expecting during the most wonderful time of year. (Bah humbug.)

  • Jen Lindley


    Even though we (eventually) got over the untimely passing of Dawson's dad, Mitch Leery, on Dawson's Creek, finding out Jen (Michelle Williams) had a heart condition -- and seeing her quietly pass away next to her beloved Grams -- was all too much. We're thankful Jack, Jen's BFF, was able to step in and take care of her 1-year-old daughter, but this one hurt ... bad.

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  • Tara Knowles


    Yeah, this Sons of Anarchy death likely did not help mothers-in-law and their daughters-in-law. When Gemma Teller (Katey Sagal) killed her son's wife and the mother of her grandchild, Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff), fans were outraged -- to say the least. It was already bad enough Mom tried to drown Tara in dirty dishwater, but what she did with that carving fork was beyond gruesome.

  • Adriana La Cerva


    We've all heard the saying "snitches get stitches," but what, pray tell, is a gal suppose to do when the Feds start hounding her for info about her man? On The Sopranos, Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo) loved Christopher and tried her best to keep him out of jail. Hoping to start a new life in witness protection, Adriana was ultimately taken to the woods and killed by one of Tony Soprano's henchmen. Guess it doesn't pay to be "ride or die." Horrible.

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