When you follow a TV show long enough, the characters start to feel like real-life friends and family. Given this fact, when those sadistic TV writers decide to kill off one of your favorite characters, it can definitely have a serious impact. Below are a few of the most memorable TV character deaths of all time.
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12 Omar Little – The Wire
Omar was the underdog stick-up man of the Baltimore ghetto. He stole from the rich drug kingpins and gave to himself. With a plethora of enemies throughout all five seasons, it’s pretty much a miracle that he lived as long as he did. However, that gunshot to the head courtesy of a seriously young little boy came as a shocker to pretty much everyone. Let’s whistle “Farmer in the Dell” one more time in his honor.
11 Rita Morgan – Dexter
Rita’s departure from Dexter was one of the most shocking and unexpected character deaths in recent memory. The horrible reveal came in the final moments of season four… right after all the loose strings of the season had already been wrapped up. With all the tension of the episode removed, the sight of Dexter walking into Rita lifelessly sitting in a tub filled with her own blood really brought a downer to that last episode.
10 Joyce Summers – Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Most characters on Buffy The Vampire Slayer don’t die of natural causes. Despite this fact, the death of Joyce Summers via boring-old aneurysm proved especially memorable. The 2001 episode coldly opens with a close-up of Joyce’s lifeless eyes staring directly into the camera. From here, the characters starkly reminisce about the character with a number of heartfelt moments throughout the episode.
9 Bill McNeal – NewsRadio
Given the reality of Phil Hartman’s death, this on-air death proved especially difficult. Whereas many shows would seek to find a more light-hearted way to explain the sudden absence of a TV character (or worse, simply replace him or her with another actor), NewsRadio nobly went with the truth. Hartman died between the fourth and fifth seasons of NewsRadio. For the season opener of season five, the cast learns Bill has had a heart attack. The episode brought a lot of the real emotions into the fictional world, and helped cement the death as a very memorable TV moment.
8 Teri Bauer – 24
With a new twist ending pretty much every hour of the day, Jack Bauer’s wife had a pretty miserable final 24 hours. After Jack saves her from being kidnapped and raped, all seems to be on the mend for this TV couple. That is, until Jack’s mistress reveals herself to be a plant, and shoots Teri right in her pregnant stomach.
7 Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake – MASH
MASH was a show that truly knew how to balance humor with grief. One of the saddest moments of the show was the episode in which Henry Blake had been discharged. Shockingly, Radar delivers the news to the rest of the cast that Blake’s plane was shot down en route to home. Famously, MASH writers report that they kept the death of Blake a secret to the cast until minutes before shooting. This helped make the reactions of Radar and the rest of the crew as authentic as possible.
6 Dan Connor – Roseanne
The death of Dan Connor is perhaps on of the most WTF TV deaths ever to occur. As the TV audience was led to believe, Dan suffered a heart attack, but eventually survived to win the lottery and become a millionaire with the rest of his family. However, in the series finale it was revealed that Roseanne Connor wrote the entire television series based on her fictional real life. In this “real” reality of the Connor universe, Dan actually died from the heart attack.
5 Maude Flanders – The Simpsons
“No foot-longs.” How’s that for a beloved TV character’s final words? Sadly, Maude was chosen to die because voice actor Maggie Roswell decided not to continue with the show after season 10. In classic Simpsons style, the character was comically killed off courtesy of a t-shirt gun at the Springfield Springway. The force of the shirt sent her reeling off the top of the grandstand and into the waiting arms of her beloved Jesus.
4 Anastasia Dualla – Battlestar Galactica
Talk about unexpected. Dee had finally seemed to reconcile with her estranged husband (Apollo). Grinning happily from this fact, Dee quietly smiled at herself in the mirror right before she put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Suicide doesn’t happen often on TV shows, but in this case, it made poignant, if difficult, sense to the story progression of the character.
3 Susan Ross – Seinfeld
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more ridiculous (yet totally believable) cause of death than toxic glue from cheap wedding envelopes. Throughout season seven, poor George Costanza was trying desperately to find a way to call off the impending marriage between him and Susan. Just as it seemed he resigned himself to a lifetime of holy matrimony, Susan went and died completely by accident. Of course, in true Seinfeld form, the death failed to phase anyone (besides George and his restrained jubilation).
2 Adriana La Cerva – The Sopranos
This one was a tough one to watch. Adriana had been suckered into talking with the FBI about her husband Christopher’s role in the Soprano gang. Though she stayed strong to her husband and never gave the authorities much to work with, the news of these meetings enraged Christopher. Though he loved her and hated to do it, he ordered Silvio to drag her into the woods and take care of her for good.
1 Charlie Pace – LOST
There are a ridiculous number of memorable deaths from LOST. With a character pretty much dying off every other episode, you could easily make a whole list of “most memorable LOST deaths.” However, of them all, Charlie’s dramatic death in the flooded Looking Glass Station remains one of the most memorable scenes in the show. Not. Penny’s. Boat.