WARNING: THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Television this year has been a veritable funeral procession for many viewers’ beloved characters. None of our shows were safe — from Teen Wolf, to The Good Wife, to How I Met Your Mother — people were dropping left and right. Here are 20 major character deaths that left an impact on us.
Wells Jaha, The 100
Poor Wells (Eli Goree) was killed off before his character could really grow, a fact which enraged book readers because in Kass Morgan’s The 100 and its sequel, Day 21, Wells is still alive and, uh, well. At least he and his best friend Clarke Griffin got to make peace with one another before his untimely death.
Sara Lance, Arrow
Sara Lance a.k.a. The Canary (Caity Lotz) was Laurel’s wild “party girl” sister who betrayed her by having an affair with Oliver Queen a.k.a. Arrow. She was presumed dead after sneaking aboard Oliver’s yacht, which became shipwrecked. She emerges years later in Starling City as a crime-fighting vigilante who uses a sonic device in lieu of the Canary Cry from the comics. She’s fatally wounded by three arrows in the Season 3 premiere, leaving her sister Laurel to continue her superhero legacy.
Leslie Shay, Chicago Fire
Shay’s (Lauren German) fate had been left in the air after Chicago Fire’s season 2 cliffhanger finale, but the season 3 premiere confirmed everyone’s worst fears: Shay succumbed to her injuries following an explosion in Firehouse 51.
Pierce Hawthorne, Community
A mean old man who was a little senile, Pierce (Chevy Chase) was always the least liked member of the study group and often acted as an antagonist, especially to Jeff. We got a few poignant moments with him, however, whenever he showed us his softer side. His last act of kindness was awarding Troy with his share of Hawthorne Wipes, Pierce’s family company, and told him that he must sail around the world in order to earn his forture, something that Pierce himself failed to do for his father.
Joffrey Baratheon, Game of Thrones
No other character death this year has been as satisfying as Joffrey’s (Jack Gleeson) on HBO’s Game of Thrones. The sadistic boy-king was poisoned on his wedding day by the Tyrell family matriarch and Petyr Baelish. Game of Thrones being the kind of show that loves to kill off the “good guys” for maximum audience angst, it was about damn time one of the villains kicked the bucket.
Oberyn Martell, Game of Thrones
This Game of Thrones death, on the other hand, was much more emotionally painful. Oberyn (Pedro Pascal)quickly became a fan favorite after his season 4 appearance, being a vibrant, sarcastic, Lannister-hating, spear-wielding bisexual warrior who came to King’s Landing to avenge his sister, Elia Martell. We cheered when he engaged in a one-on-one duel with the Lannister family’s champion and Elia’s murderer, The Mountain, and unbelievably started beating the ever-loving shit out of him. Alas, the show was only building us up so it could tear us down. Oberyn’s cockiness got ahead of him and his skull was literally crushed into bits. Refer to this gif of Oberyn’s lover Ellaria Sand for our exact reaction.
Tywin Lannister, Game of Thrones
Another much-deserved death in the world of GOT. The best part is, he died on a toilet, at the hands of the son he’d abused and tormented his whole life. We are going to miss Charles Dance though, whose portrayal of the Lannister patriarch gave us some wicked good scenes.
Will Gardner, The Good Wife
Holy. fucking. shit. Will’s (Josh Charles) death during a courthouse shooting (ironically perpetrated by Will’s own client, who Will had been steadfastly fighting for) was one of the most shocking television moments of 2014. Retta, who plays the fantastic Donna Meagle on Parks and Recreation, tweeted out her devastation while watching the episode, which led to a comforting phone call from Josh Charles himself. If only we’d gotten a call to talk us through our grief!
Beverly Katz, Hannibal
We’re still really bitter about this. Never mind that the way Beverly (Hettienne Park) died – going into the lion’s den alone, not telling anyone else where she was going in case something happened, and with no guarantees that Hannibal was actually out of the house at the time – seemed grossly out of character. Beverly was one of the few women on Hannibal, the most prominent woman of color, and she was literally fridged (and then sliced up like prosciutto) to further Will Graham’s pain.
Doug Stamper, House of Cards
Doug’s (Michael Kelly) growing obsession with and possessiveness over his charge, Rachel, really skeeved us out, so we were relieved when Rachel managed to escape by smacking him over the head with a rock. There’s a chance he’s still clinging onto life – reportedly, Doug’s eye twitched a little in his last scene of Chapter 26 – but considering the amount of blood on his face and that his body had been lying in the same spot in the woods overnight, we don’t think those chances are good.
Zoe Barnes, House of Cards
Another shocker. We doubt anyone saw it coming when Frank Underwood shoved the wily reporter in the path of a train, least of all Zoe (Kate Mara), whose last thoughts were probably of the “goddammit” and “I trusted you!” variety.
The Mother, How I Met Your Mother
Long-time viewers of How I Met Your Mother felt betrayed when in the series finale, it was revealed that The Mother was dead the entire time Ted was telling his kids that unnecessarily long winded seven season story. They were further outraged when the episode turned into Ted going after the “real” love of his life, Robin, whose relationships had apparently stagnated at the exact right time to leave her free for Ted to swoop in.
Proteus, Penny Dreadful
Poor, sweet, Proteus (Alex Price). He only appeared in two episodes, but he left a huge impression. His wide-eyed wonder at the world, his gradual realizing of his true nature, and his desire to make a new life with new friends, all came to an end when Caliban – the original Frankenstein’s monster – showed up and ripped him to pieces. Compared to the adorableness of Proteus, we can’t say we much liked the angry Caliban replacing him.
Daniel Grayson, Revenge
Oh, how fickle the heart. It’s not that we forgot how infuriating Daniel’s (Josh Bowman) “poor me rich boy” act was in the early seasons of Revenge (only a Grayson could paralyze his significant other in a drunk driving accident, get away with everything punishment-free thanks to his family’s wealth and connections, and still somehow make it all about himself). We could never forget or forgive him for shooting Emily in season 3 and cruelly telling her he did the world a favor by rendering her barren. And then there was that weird “my life’s dream has suddenly become running a fashion magazine” plotline. What the heck was that? But in the episodes leading up to his dramatic season 4 exit, he was starting to grow on us like a particularly persistent fungus. Witty banter will do that to you. We never ever wanted him to get back with Emily, but at least she could’ve gotten some kinky hate sex out of it before he died.
James Novak, Scandal
Despite his status as a recurring character, we never expected Scandal to kill James off. Married to White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene and a dedicated journalist, James became a very important character over the years and was involved in a number of major storylines, including the Election Rigging scandal. He had a few near misses, like that time his own husband ordered a hit on him, before he was ultimately gunned down in the street by Jake Ballard. At least Dan Bucatinsky, the actor who played James, gets to walk away with an Emmy. Unfortunately, his fictional adopted daughter is in the sole care of one Cyrus Beene; that can’t be good.
Oh, Harrison. We hardly knew ye. And when it finally came time for Harrison to get his own storyline, with the introduction of a mysterious new character named Adnan Salif, it ended with Harrison getting killed. And Columbus Short only has himself to blame, having been accused of domestic violence multiple times.
Frank Irving, Sleepy Hollow
The first season of Sleepy Hollow was fantastic, but Season 2’s focus on the Crane Family Melodrama unfortunately delegated most of our favorite characters — Abbie Mills, Jenny Mills, and Frank Irving — to secondary status. Frank, in particular, barely showed up at all, which made his noble sacrifice in the midseason finale lack the emotional punch it was supposed to, instead feeling hollow and unnecessary. We can only hope that this is a fake-out (with a show like this it’s certainly possible) and Frank will return somehow.
Allison Argent, Teen Wolf
Poor Allison in her final season existed in her own space, separate from the rest of the cast. Her storyline mostly revolved around her burgeoning romantic and sexual relationship with Isaac. Unfortunately, the writers didn’t do a good job building up to her death, since we barely saw her most of the time. Still, it was a fairly heartbreaking moment. She was the Katniss of the Teen Wolf universe with her signature bow and arrows, and was an important member of the original cast. We were sad to see her go.
Bob Stookey, The Walking Dead
Much like his name — “Bob” — Bob was a pretty irrelevant character who didn’t have much to do during his stay on The Walking Dead except make out with Sasha. But he had one of the most memorable deaths the show has ever had — his leg getting sawed off and then eaten by a bunch of cannibals right in front of him. Unfortunately for the cannibals, Bob’s meat was “tainted”. He was later returned to Rick’s group and died amongst friends.
Beth, The Walking Dead
Beth lasted a lot longer on the show than we thought. She was someone who mostly existed in the background, occasionally broke out into song, and could have been easily killed off at any time. The writers managed to figure out how to make her somewhat relevant this year, so her death actually packed an emotional punch for the audience. She came a long way since trying to commit suicide in her first season, and became a source of hopefulness and light for other characters, like Daryl. We didn’t completely buy the way she went out, however — trying to shoot Dawn. Where did that come from?