Popular television shows always have ardent fans. Fans laugh and cry with their favorite characters and understand their trials and lives, as if they were a part of their own. Almost all TRP shows have something going really right for them, from innovative scripts, unusual storylines or just a fabulous star cast. When the star of a show is quite literally, the star of the show though, it gets very difficult to take risky character related decisions that may or may not benefit the show.
Yet every once in a while, the shows head for a risky gamble and a character is taken off a show. This is sometimes done in the most unusual of ways and the death or disappearance is often not taken very well by the fans. On the other hand, there are times where a character is killed off due to fan demands. Yet, whatever the reasons for such TV deaths, if the writer is creative in writing the death scene, the scene usually turns out to be imaginative, unexpected and most definitely entertaining.
13 Aiden Mathis – Revenge
Aiden Mathis, portrayed by Barry Sloane, made a total of 43 appearances on the hit ABC drama Revenge, before he was killed off in the most unexpected of ways and that too by the most unexpected of characters. Yes, the conniving matriarch Victoria Grayson indeed had the motive, as well as the burning desire, to get him eliminated from the picture. Considering that the lady in question usually preferred that someone else do her dirty work (and her perfect manicures stay perfect), it was a great plot twist when she herself poisoned Aiden and then suffocated him with a pillow. The queen bee descended from her pedestal for the ghastly deed, all to make Emily feel the despair of lost love, just as she had!
12 Maude Flanders – The Simpsons
Maude Flanders, the wife of Simpson’s neighbor Ted Flanders, was a devout Christian character on the much-appreciated show The Simpsons. Her character was killed off in the 11th season of the successful show in an episode titled ‘Alone Again, Natura-Diddily’. Her unfortunate demise was neither expected nor in any way conceivable, until it actually happened and left everyone in shock. While at the Springfield Speedway, Maude was accidentally knocked off the grandstand by air cannon propelled t-shirts. It was not just her fall that killed her though. It appeared that she could not be quickly resuscitated because Homer had parked in the ambulance zone, making its fast access to her impossible!
11 Edie Britt – Desperate Housewives
Edie Britt, played by Nicollette Sheridan, was one of the most interesting, non-main cast on the popular show, Desperate Housewives. Always going after what she wanted without the thought of consequences, trying to steal the other women’s husbands and ex-husbands and generally stirring up trouble, Edie Britt (the show’s sexy character) added a lot of spice and drama to the series. After a manipulative staged suicide attempt to maintain a hold on Carlos, audiences worldwide expected that if Edie Britt was to really die on the show, it would be in an unexpectedly wild and in a totally ‘big bang’ manner. Audiences were not disappointed when a live electric wire electrocuted the blonde bombshell after her car hit a utility pole, while she was trying to run away from Dave, a husband who had just tried to strangle her!
10 Lori Grimes – The Walking Dead
It was a most unexpected and gruesome TV death that claimed the life of Lori Grimes, a beloved character from ABC’s post apocalypse zombie drama The Walking Dead. For a character that could produce a hot meal just as easily as she could wield a knife and shoot a gun, it was quite disappointing to see her die off a difficult childbirth in a filthy prison’s boiler room. When Andrew deliberately lets a walker enter the prison where Lori is stuck, stress leads her to go into preterm labor. When she’s unable to push the baby through, she knows that the only way to save the baby is through an emergency C Section. Maggie Greene, with her limited resources, fatally cuts Lori’s stomach to save the baby and Lori dies even before she could see her daughter. Lori’s son Carl, later shoots her in the head to prevent her from coming back as a walker!
9 Eddard Stark – Game of Thrones
Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark had appeared on billboards and in advertisements soon after the launch of the Game of Thrones' first season. Hence, no one (absolutely no one) expected the man pitched as the show’s main protagonist to be killed off at the end of the first season itself. The producers accepted that while it was indeed a very risky death for the show (as well as in the book), it worked well to prove to the audiences that nothing can be taken for granted and just about anything can happen on this show. When Stark realizes that Joffrey is not the rightful heir to Robert’s throne being the result of an incestuous relationship between Cersei and her brother, he tries to prevent his accession to the throne. He is however betrayed by his allies and declared a traitor. Despite confessing to the crime to save his family, he was executed in Baelor by Ser Llyn Payne and his head is placed above Traitor’s Walk, on a spike.
8 Sayid Jarrah – Lost
When Sayid Hassan Jarrah, the fictional character from ABC’s show Lost, was also killed off unexpectedly, then resurrected, many were surprised with this unanticipated twist. Sayid was initially killed when young Ben’s father shot him in 2007, yet, just a few days later, he was resurrected by the Man in Black and recruited on his side. He was shown to be in an almost blank state until a talk with Desmond Hume helped him snap out of it. His ultimate death helped him redeem himself from his past deeds, as he sacrificed his life aboard Widmore’s submarine where the Man in Black’s bomb exploded.
7 Heather Brooks – Grey’s Anatomy
Heather Brooks, the chatterbox, over energetic new intern to join Seattle Grace (Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital) was McDreamy’s favorite student, having been handpicked by him to train in neuro surgeries. Her death came as a tragic surprise for most viewers. After a super storm, when Heather is sent to find Dr. Weber, she sees him suffering from electrical shock in the generator room. As she ran over to help him, she stepped into a puddle with live electricity running through it. After her collapse, Derek and Shane rushed her into surgery and though they repaired a subdural brain bleed, she couldn’t be saved due to brain swelling.
6 Rita Bennett – Dexter
Rita Bennett has played an important role in the seasons of the show Dexter, mostly as Dexter’s ‘significant other’. Her relationship with Dexter and the maturity of the character was evolving for the better with each season, when the show’s producers made the sudden and unexpected decision to kill the character. The death on screen was portrayed perfectly, considering the strict level of secrecy that the cast, crew and producers maintained regarding the plot. Rita was murdered by the Trinity Killer, Arthur Mitchell. This was his way of exacting punishment for Dexter’s constant pursuit of him.
5 Brian Griffin – Family Guy
One of the most unexpected TV deaths came when Brian Griffin, the beloved family Labrador retriever was killed off in season 12 of the hit series Family Guy. The fan reaction to his death was so intense and venomous that Brian had to be brought back somehow. His death is shown as a hit and run accident while setting up a street hockey net. Brian dies succumbing to his injuries while at the vet clinic. Though a replacement in the form of a new dog Vinny was brought on the show, audience outcry ensured that the producers brought back Brian by making Stewie go back in time using his time machine and preventing the dog’s death in the fatal accident.
4 Hank Schrader – Breaking Bad
Though his death had been on the cards through the start of the season when he was killed, Breaking Bad’s character Hank Schrader, was killed off in quite a gut-wrenching manner right in the beginning of an aired episode. In his efforts to being the blue meth kingpin Heisenberg, who turned out to be the alter ego of his brother in law Walt, Hank was shown to be caught up in an intense gunfight. Hank was shot at point blank range and killed by Jack Welker during this gun battle.
3 Lane Pryce – Mad Men
Though characters on the show Mad Men are not known to be ticked off on the writer’s whim, one death in particular is worth mentioning in this list. After embezzling company funds to cover his personal debts, the character of Lane Pryce did try to lie his way out of his predicament. Yet, when the fraud was apparent, he was asked by Don to resign as a way of making a dignified exit. Broken by this, Lane decided to commit suicide through carbon monoxide poisoning but his car wouldn't start. Going for plan B, Lane typed in his resignation letter and hung himself from the ceiling of his office. His body, as well as his resignation letter, was found by his partners the next morning.
2 McDreamy Derek Shepherd – Grey’s Anatomy
The last few days have been hard on all Grey’s Anatomy fans for not only one of its oldest and most favored stars has recently been killed off, but it has brought down the curtains on the show’s favorite couple. After a run that lasted 11 years and over 250 episodes, no one could have seen it coming for Patrick Dempsey who gave the character its heart and soul. In an unexpected twist where Derek was shown helping some accident victims, he is shown to have met with an accident himself. What’s worse is that he was admitted to a hospital that didn't follow proper protocol. Derek ends up brain dead and in a heart wrenching moment, it is his wife Meredith that takes the call to shut off his life support and let him go.
1 Charlie Harper – Two and a Half Men
In the most wildly imaginative death sequence ever written, the death of millionaire playboy Charlie Harper in Two and a Half Men has to be right at the top. After being unceremoniously dumped from the hit show in 2011, Charlie Sheen’s character of Charlie Harper was killed off without wasting much time. Initially, Charlie was believed to have died after being hit by a train while he was vacationing in Paris (it was hinted that it was Rose’s doing). But it was later revealed that Rose had in fact kept him prisoner in her basement instead. When Charlie finally managed to escape her clutches and make his way to his beach house, he was dramatically crushed by his own piano, which was being transported out of his house by a helicopter.