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You Bastards! TV Characters Who Got Killed


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#1

ciscokidinsf

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 11:02 AM

Damn... there is nothing I hate more than a good character getting killed... specially for the wrong reasons, like disputes or just plain mean-ness (not to mention characters killed for sweeps episodes) While some shows kill characters all the time (Oz, Sopranos) some shows do it the wrong way. Other are done just right.

Let's get some obvious bad ones out of the way:

Zhaan, from Farscape: Virginia Hey could've stayed if they had accomodated her regarding her makeup (that was making her ill and be bald all the time) instead, she got canned out of the show.

Jadzia Dax from DS9: while she left the show on her own accord, the way they wrote her death in the show was just stupid... it made so sense to be an almost random killing.

Wild Bill Hickock from Deadwood: Not a bad death plot-wise, but it came too early IMHO, as that was one of the characters I love from Deadwood and Keith Carradine was darned good at it.

Some good ones:

Bobby Simone from NYPD Blue: It was a bit too long and dramatic, but given enough attention and was a good way to have Jimmy Smits out of the show.

Maude Flanders from The Simpsons: While the whole thing was just a bit shy of being funny, I think it gave Flanders more possibilities in the show. I didn't like Maude too much. But the writers handled it well.

Katherine Black from Millenium: Possibly the bleakest, darkest episode in Millenium (and that is saying a lot!) is when Frank Black's wife dies (Frank gives the virus vaccine to his daughter instead) Wow... still have chills about that one.

Cyril O'Reilly from Oz: 'Nuff said.
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#2

skye1974

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 11:25 AM

HA!! I like this!

I was devastated when they killed Pilot on Captain Power.

Also, I was highly upset when Tasha Yar was killed on ST:TNG, but later I realized that, yeah, they didn't need her.
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#3

Sylph

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 11:54 AM

Hey ciscokidinsf! <waves> Great topic.

Cyril O'Reilly from Oz: 'Nuff said.

I'll also add Adebesi for good measure. It was a "WTF?" moment but it was sure damn good.

Jen from Dawson's Creek: Of all the characters on the show, they killed her with cancer. I will admit that I cried when Jen died onscreen.

Tara from Buffy:What makes it hurt so much is not only is Tara one of the best characters on the show, but the ep she was killed in finally added her name to the main credits. ME just ripped my heart out and gleefully stomped on it when she got shot in front of Willow.

Ritchie Ryan from Highlander. To add insult to injury it was Duncan, his best friend, that did it. Jaw meet floor. Totally unexpected and it ruined the show for me.
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#4

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 12:12 PM

Colin Hanks as Alex on Roswell. He was on of those characters who was always pushed aside and never really developed, but had potential. (See also, Ross, Pete.)

I wasn't so much pissed that he died, but the resolution of it was just horrible. Tess killing him for deciphering that manuscript thing? Please.
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#5

DarkEmerald

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 1:23 PM

Doyle in Angel. Too soon, too sad. The transfer of his powers to Cordy was a good character move, but I still miss Doyle.

And ultra-sad that Glenn Quinn passed away not that much later.
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#6

Eris Rising

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 1:33 PM

Mrs. Lansingham on "The West Wing".

The one that will always get me, though, is Joyce Summers on "BtVS". To have her die with something so mundane. No demons involved, no magic. Just death. My own mother had died not too long beforehand, which didn't help when I tried to hold back the sobs through the whole episode.

Whedon did a great job with the total lack of music in that episode. When someone that close dies so suddenly, life doesn't have a soundtrack.
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#7

Ridha

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 1:35 PM

Doyle on Angel: Not only was he a character that was just perfect for the Joss-verse in terms of the half-demon half-human physiology and all the storyline directions that could have taken, not only was he the one thing to distinguish Angel from a Poor Man's Buffy as not only were Angel and Cordelia both from BTVS, but so was Doyle's replacement Wesley (and such an unrecognisable version of himself that it's a joke to continuity; if they wanted someone so utterly different why not make it a different character), not only did Doyle get the best lines and was the cutest, most interesting, charmingly flawed, likeable character, but his portrayer Glenn Quinn was the most talented, handsome, freaking special guy, who was perfect in the role. His death so early on meant that I went from watching every ep from S1 eps 1-9, to just watching sporadically until S5 when Spike came on board and the show seemed to improve generally in dialogue etc.

Lilah on Angel: At least they got some good stuff out of her, apart from the initial shock value of Cordelia's evilness (they could have used Lorne as that sacrificial lamb instead) her death was a waste, and particulary in view of the W & H arc of S5 Lilah would have been such a perfect addition. Especially with Lindsay coming back, my shippy drean of those two could have been fulfilled, with Lilah taking the place of Eve in that storyline.

Tasha Yar: Skye 1974 can you elabourate more on what you mean when you say they didn't need her. I mean, really they didn't 'need' any of the cast members, as professionally they could all be credibly killed off and replaced, and it's enough of an ensemble cast that no one person carries the show, but I can only think of 2 or 3 people who killing off would have been a bigger mistake. Tasha had a great backstory with her troubled/sordid past emerging to become a Starfleet officer, and I would have loved to have seen more of that, she was one of the more likeable characters but not in a one-dimensional way, the actress was a great combination of pretty so you could get into any romantic storylines (had there been the opportunity, sniff) but in a 'real' way (as compared with say Jeri Ryan, whose appearance seems to scream 'sex factor'), in a male-domaniated cast, indeed franchise, she was a female who was a very different character to the others on the ship, compared with the very girly Deanna and smooth Beverly, and I thought she had more chemistry with her fellow cast members than most of them. In fact while I generally didn't much like the smug William Riker, and had zero-interest in his chemistry free romance with Deanna (who I did actually come to like, just not with him) I thought he had great friendship and romantic chemistry with Tasha Yar. Plus she had a great name! And I'm interested to know what the story behind her leaving was - from your post I got the impression that they decided they didn't need her and she got pushed out? If so that's a crying shame, because not only was she one of my faves on a personal level, but for all the above reasons she could have done alot to change the dynamics of the cast for the better.

Richard Sharpe's long lost brother (whose name I've forgotten) on Sharpe: The casting was such a coup, as they looked so alike, the backstory of 2 men who have very similar characters of noble fighters but circumstance had them on different sides, and the fact that when they did reconcile they clicked really well, albeit with an interesting edge, made his death that same episode so wasteful.

Charles Kowalsky on SG1: Sexy as hell, a great foil for Jack (so nice to see him with a buddy just kidding around).

Zoot and Amber on the Tribe: Luckily they realised their mistake with Amber, and brought her back (although not in time for S2 where she would have shined with those story arcs, but for S3 where so much else had changed about the show that it lessened the impact), but damn Zoot was wasted potential. They could have had a whole Star Wars saga going on there, plus the actor was fab.

Harry Garibaldi on Hill Street Blues.

In contrast the characters I am indifferent too, or even like but think their death actually could serve some good drama in the long run, always manage to laugh in the face of credibility and come back, eg, Vaughn off Alias.
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#8

iMissEthan

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 1:42 PM

Since this thread was started today, we have to include John Amos. Anyone who watched Good Times will get chills reading Damn, Damn, Damn, but last night they went ahead and killed his character off West Wing. I know he wasn't a lead, but he added a lot to that show in the scenes he was in.

If they hadn't painted themselves into a corner with his character, I would have liked to see Rocket Romano hang around a few more seasons on ER as well.
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#9

sidekickgirl

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 1:56 PM

Jen dying on Dawson's Creek made me hurt all sorts of ways. Sylph, I believe it was heart disease, not cancer, that killed Jen.

On the first season of Party of Five, Bailey's girlfriend (and Griffen's sister) Jill, died. I remember being shaken by that.


Of course, it was a sad, sad day in TV land when Carol's boyfriend +"Sandy" (aka. Matthew Perry) died after drinking and driving on Growing Pains.
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#10

M. Darcy

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 1:59 PM

Gary on 30something. I cried buckets over that car accident (of course, I think I was going a little crazy at the time between school, working and writing my thesis).

If any Ozites are wondering why I didn't say Chris Keller, its because he never died (la, la, la, I can't hear you).

Edited by M. Darcy, May 13, 2004 @ 2:01 PM.

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#11

skye1974

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 1:59 PM

Ridha, first off, let me say that I thought the EXACT. SAME. THING. about Yar and Riker. I wish they had given them more scenes together. I didn't like Riker and Troi together either, and I still don't. Also, I practically worshipped Tasha because I thought she was such a cool female character with, as you mentioned, a great backstory. When they killed her off, I almost stopped watching I liked her that much. When I said they didn't need her, I simply meant that the show was good even without her. I don't remember what the story was behind her leaving.
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#12

Mr. Excitement

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 2:12 PM

Sylph writes:

Ritchie Ryan from Highlander. To add insult to injury it was Duncan, his best friend, that did it. Jaw meet floor. Totally unexpected and it ruined the show for me.



I agree. The second time he was killed, it all but ruined the show. By contrast, the first time-when he and Tessa were killed and he was revealed as an immortal-that was when the show really took off. It did a great job of underlining the themes of the show, and Adrian Paul always delivered when he was given heavy drama.
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#13

ChinkyGirl

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 2:13 PM

Laura Palmer from Twim Peaks owns this thread! Brilliant use of an important character who was killed off before the show even started!
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#14

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 2:17 PM

If they hadn't painted themselves into a corner with his character, I would have liked to see Rocket Romano hang around a few more seasons on ER as well.


Same here. And the way that they wrote him out really pissed me off. Paul McCrane gave almost a decade to that show, and they write him out by dropping a helicopter on him. After which the only person who cares that he's dead is Elizabeth. I can't blame PMC for wanting to escape the steaming pile of crap that ER's become (especially because Romano had become a caricature of his former self), but he deserved more respect than the writers treated him with.

I was upset that Fitz was written out of TWW, but John Amos wanted out, and at least he's getting a better send-off than Romano.

I still hate John Wells, though. Idiot.
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#15

Eegah

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 2:19 PM

Bobby Ewing, anyone? The one good thing to come out of that fiasco was that it taught all tv writers in the future to NEVER kill off a character unless they're absolutely sure the actor is never coming back.
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#16

TudorQueen

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 2:26 PM

You've already named several notable deaths that had an impact on me - Gary on 30Something, Wild Bill on Deadwood, Mrs Landingham and Fitz on West Wing - so I'll just add a few:

I stopped watching OZ after they killed Said. He was my favorite character and his death was so useless and random... though that was true of most of the deaths on that show...

Teri on 24 - possibly the most shocking death on network series tv, and the one that established definitively that all bets were off on that show.

Dr. Bobby Caldwell on St. Elsewhere - it happened offscreen, but his dignified exit, and the reverberations it had on the show, on the rest of the cast... memorable and resonant.

Sgt Esterhaus on Hill St. Blues and Coach on Cheers. I know the actors died, necessitating the character deaths, but they were done with great class and style.
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#17

Fabrisse

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 2:46 PM

Dr. Janet Fraiser (Teryl Rothery) on Stargate SG-1. It was well handled, but she will be sorely missed. And unlike Doyle or Yar, the actress wasn't leaving of her own accord.
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#18

NewbiaTheElf

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 3:08 PM

I didn't like it when, on As Told By Ginger, the old lady (Maude?) that Carl wanted to marry died. She was COOL. I didn't have emotional investment in her because she was only around for one episode, I didn't even care if she got together with Carl (I like the telekinetic girl better) but the way she died was ridiculous: She was just talking, then said,"Oh foo," and dropped dead. And then Courtney took a picture.
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#19

iMissEthan

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 3:11 PM

Gary on thirtysomething had me crying tons too, and Mrs. Landingham was also a shock. I don't count when it happens in the last episode, because all the characters are leaving, so Chris Keller doesn't come into play for me. And I think Said needed out for a movie role if I'm not mistaken. Wasn't it that piece of crap Bruce Willis thing (sorry I can't be more specific)?
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#20

lastplaceulook

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 4:24 PM

Claire, the assistant D.A., on Law and Order! That episode had a different feel from the rest and I thought it was exceptionally well done.
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#21

ciscokidinsf

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 4:32 PM

Speaking of killed Assistant D.As.... Richard Bay (Jason Kravits) from 'The Practice' (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, back where 'The Practice' didn't suck) It was extremely well done and although the character was annoying (on purpose) everyone missed him dearly in the show.

Edited by ciscokidinsf, May 13, 2004 @ 5:36 PM.

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#22

Shem the Penman

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 4:38 PM

Lord Refa from Babylon 5 is one of my favorite TV deaths. Doublecrossed by Londo and stomped to death by enraged Narns while gospel music plays on the soundtrack. Kosh's death was terrific too -- really built up the Shadows and Mr. Morden as the tremendous villains they were.

Another memorable death: Luther Mahoney on Homicide. It was a tremendous shock when Kellerman suddenly wiped the smirk off his face with a bullet -- and set up some of the show's greatest storylines.

Edited by Shem the Penman, May 14, 2004 @ 9:10 AM.

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#23

acatmaylook

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 5:09 PM

As an old lady (you kids get off that lawn!), I remember when Col. Henry Blake's tour of duty in Korea ended. Everybody was happy when he left for home, then Radar announced that his plane went down. (M*A*S*H)
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#24

TudorQueen

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 5:15 PM

acatmaylook, that is one of the great, shocking tv deaths from our unspoiled youth and I cannot believe I left it out!
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#25

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 5:30 PM

I agree with Shem--the death of Lord Refa was perfect. Horrible, and funny--trying to escape an underground tunnel filled with his enemy while a choir sings, "ain't no hiding place, no, ain't no hiding place".
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#26

dr gailey

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 6:22 PM

Prue Halliwell on Charmed. Her death came from the real life feud of Alyssa and Shannen. Even though I like Paige, Prue kicked ass.

Edited by dr gailey, May 13, 2004 @ 6:43 PM.

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#27

moonkat

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 6:38 PM

The serious:
Jenny Calendar on BtVS...I was shocked because she was the first semi-regular "good guy" character on Buffy to be offed and it also established the bad-assness of Angelus.

The funny/ridiculous:
Mitch Leary (Dawson's dad) on Dawson's Creek...killed in a car crash. He was eating an ice cream cone while driving. The scoop fell off the cone and he went reaching for it and lost control of the car. How embarrassing!

Edited by moonkat, May 13, 2004 @ 6:41 PM.

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#28

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 6:55 PM

Word to Teri on 24 and Jenny on BTVS. Also adding Joyce on Buffy. I was completely unspoiled at that point and when Buffy walked into the house at the end of the episode and you can see Joyce lying all unnatural-like on the couch behind her, I literally gasped out loud. Plus The Body was, in my opinion, one of the best episodes of any show ever.
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#29

Eris Rising

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 7:00 PM

Word to Teri on 24 and Jenny on BTVS. Also adding Joyce on Buffy. I was completely unspoiled at that point and when Buffy walked into the house at the end of the episode and you can see Joyce lying all unnatural-like on the couch behind her, I literally gasped out loud. Plus The Body was, in my opinion, one of the best episodes of any show ever.


Hey, I got there first a page or two ago! *grin* Seriously, it's nice to see someone else who had such an intense reaction to that. I wasn't spoilerized either. No warning, just...she's gone. And that mind-screwing of the "revived" Joyce in the first few minutes nearly ripped my heart out. All the way around, one of the finest moments of the series.
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#30

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Posted May 13, 2004 @ 7:05 PM

Oh, Luther Mahoney's death on H:LotS was incredibly effective! Drove the plot and surprised the viewer. Ditto Mrs. Landingham; I was unspoiled and didn't see it coming, and it was a wonderful (and touching) exploration of how survivors deal with unexpected, senseless death. St. Elsewhere's Bobby Caldwell's off-screen death from AIDS was one of the first storylines of its kind, and I think they can be forgiven for its off-screen nature because...well, at least they were talking about it (almost nobody else was), and it was both sensitively handled and didn't serve as an excuse for moralizing.

Another tearjerking but well-handled death of a character was that of Sgt. Esterhaus on Hill St. Blues. Like the death of Coach on Cheers, the death came about because the actor portraying the character had died, but the show did a great job of acknowleding the character and letting the fallout from the situation drive storylines and character development. The very real sadness of the actors came across onscreen, but it didn't veer into maudlin, unbearable sentimentalism or mawkishness.

A famously funny one for the over-35 crowd (and TVLand viewers): Chuckles the Clown's funeral on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Totally inappropriate emotional reactions played for laughs, and for once, played really well. It probably helped that we didn't really "know" Chuckles, though. It's harder to laugh when you'll actually miss a character (paging Bill MacNeil/Phil Hartman).

A bad one: The Lone Gunmen on XF. No. Just...no. Pointless, trivializing dismissal of popular supporting players for no apparent reason except to piss off the fans, as far as I can tell.
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