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The Top 30 Most Shocking TV Deaths

The Top 30 Most Shocking TV Deaths

By Autumn Topping

   A weekly Top Lists Column

The cast of Lost. Photo: ABC

The cast of Lost.
Photo: ABC



Still reeling from the game changing death from The Good Wife, for this week’s top list, I knew I had to write about TV’s most shocking or outlandish deaths, the deaths that stay with you anyway. Whether that be an earned and emotional death of a beloved character, a death used only for shock value (HATE those), killing a character off because an actor quits, or the ones that really just rub you the wrong way (I have a particular example I will share below). Whatever the reason for a character’s demise, these are the deaths I personally find the most shocking:

The Top 30 (in no particular order):

  • 1) Jen Lindley's death from Dawson's Creek was certainly not the ending I hoped for the character but truly was perfect and moving. - Photo: WB
  • 2) Buffy's Mom, Joyce Summers, dying suddenly from natural causes was both heartbreaking and surprising. - Photo: WB
  • 3) Carter from Person of Interest was one of the main characters. This wasn't supposed to happen, right? - Photo: CBS
  • 4) In the last episode of Roseanne, it revealed that Dan had really died from a heart attack... - Photo: ABC
  • 5) Who 'actually' thought that killing Marian off from Robin Hood was a good idea??? Oh, and by the hand of Guy too when he was starting to change... - Photo: BBC
  • 6) Ellen AND Jo from Supernatural. Their deaths were gut-wrenching. I just wished these two had been in the show more. - Photo: CW
  • 7) Sybil from Downton Abbey died suddenly from child birth. Why did Jessica Brown Findlay have to quit? - Photo: ITV
  • 8) AND Matthew from Downton Abbey at the very last second of season 3. Ruined Christmas for many. - Photo: ITV
  • 9) Dualla's suicide from Battlestar Galactica really just came out of the blue. But great writing. It really made sense to the episode's feeling of losing hope. - Photo: Sci-Fi
  • 10) I'm still not over Doyle's death from Angel only 9 episodes into the series. Bad choice I still think but I loved he went out a "hero." - Photo: WB
  • 11) Okay, so I don't watch Game of Thrones but even I heard about the shocking Red Wedding. How awful! - Photo: HBO
  • 12) Hale from Lost Girl. I heard about this death before it happened accidentally. I'm so shocked that I haven't tuned in yet. - Photo: Showcase
  • 13) Alex from Roswell. So I believe Colin Hanks quit...Still, I did NOT see this one coming. But at least we got a romantic goodbye dance... - Photo: WB
  • 14) Michael from Prison Break. So he survived EVERYTHING to just die suddenly at the end? No thanks. - Photo: Fox
  • 15) Mitchell's death in Being Human was extremely shocking but then again, he did have The Hobbit to film... - Photo: BBC
  • 16) AND George's death in Being Human as well. This one WAS depressing. Honarable mentions go to the offscreen death of his love Nina and later baby. - Photo: BBC
  • 17) Most of The Vampire Diaries deaths feel like they were done mostly for shock value and therefore rubbed me the wrong way. One of my least favorite deaths though goes to Elena's biological father John because he sacrificed himself for nothing (to keep Elena from becoming a vampire) and no one seemed to care. Just yuck. - Photo: CW
  • 18) Beaver's (or Cassidy's) suicide after revealing himself as the murderer of a bus full of kids (as well as being Veronica's rapist) was a twist that just hurts. - Photo: UPN
  • 19) Nick and Stephen from Primeval. Nick was supposed to be the lead. This wasn't supposed to happen. And Stephen was awesome. Sometimes, I hate change. - Photo: BBC
  • 20) For the STUPIDEST death on the list, I have to go with a tie between Jimmy Olsen and Davis Bloome from Smallville. I still hate this scene where Davis goes all psycho (after seeking redemption all season mind you), stabs Jimmy, tries to kill Chloe (after she went back to Jimmy - double ugh), and then Jimmy impales Davis before dying. So much distaste for this plot turn. Photo: CW
  • BONUS PIC: After Davis died, no one cared about the psycho. What happened to the body? According to Sam Witwer in a TV Guide interview, “They stuffed him in a closet to deal with later.” I much prefer Witwer's ending on the fabulous end to Being Human.
  • 21) Pretty much most of the cast of Lost, though the deaths stopped being shocking after a while. - Photo: ABC
  • 22) Will Gardner from The Good Wife. Who could have seen this? Killing the romantic lead off a show never ceases to take the audience by surprise. Romantic and devastating. - Photo: CBS
  • 23) Justin Ripley from Luther definitely gets one of the most heart-wrenching and shocking deaths on this list. It was like killing a puppy. - Photo: BBC
  • 24) Wash from Serenity (his death was in the movie but it was a continuation from a TV show so I'm counting it). This had no thematic purpose other than shock value. I was very disappointed with Whedon on this one. - Photo: Fox
  • 25) Lexie and Mark from Grey's Anatomy. No happy ending for these two... - Photo: ABC
  • 26) Half the cast of Torchwood. Why kill off Tosh, Owen, AND Ianto? These deaths were real bummers. - Photo: BBC
  • 27) Teri Bauer from 24. Jack spent the entire season trying to save his family and the President,only to lose his wife in the last minute thanks to the traitorous Nina. - Photo: Fox
  • 28) I loved Prue from Charmed! A real shame she and Alyssa Milano (Phoebe) didn't get along in real life. - Photo: WB
  • 29) Ryan from Nikita. Okay, this death wasn't exactly 'shocking' but his ending still surprised me. He truly went out a hero. - Photo: CW
  • 30) Graham (The Huntsman) from Once Upon A Time. A death written mainly to prove the writers had the power. Weak move and choice to kill such a wonderful character so soon. - Photo: ABC

What TV Deaths were the most shocking to you? Sound off below...



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  • Rissi

    Exactly!? Who decided/thought it a good idea to kill off Marian on Robin Hood… like, really!
    I’ve not seen Will’s on-screen death yet but have read all about it – I’m sure its quite the tearjerker – that has to be one of the “bravest” TV deaths to date.

  • Mary H. Kendzicky

    Alyssa Milano is yummy. I want to cram my nose into her vulva. our partners: order actos