Unexpected TV Deaths That Were Beyond Upsetting To Viewers

People sure get attached to fictional TV characters. When writers do something unexpected like going and writing off beloved characters like Joyce Summers from Buffy or Carl Grimes from The Walking Dead, fans will be a bit shocked.

But it’s not always the writer; sometimes actors ask for their character to die, like Mischa Barton on The OC. Even so, it doesn’t make the death any less jaw-dropping. Grab some tissues, because here are some of the most unexpected and shocking TV deaths.

Bob Newby Sacrificing Himself In Stranger Things

Bob Newby Sacrificing Himself In Stranger Things
Netflix
Netflix

Sorry, but a show can’t just write off an actor who plays Samwise, Rudy, and a Goonie. It’s just all sorts of wrong. That’s why fans of the sci-fi series Stranger Things were so startled witnessing Bob Newby’s death, played by Sean Astin. Granted, he went out like a true hero, saving Joyce, aka his gal, and her family before taking on the juvenile Demogorgons by himself.

Bob, the employees at Hawkins Radio Shack salute you and your sacrifice. But that doesn’t mean viewers are over the death; it hit way too hard for anyone’s personal wellbeing.

Lance Sweets’ Death In Bones Was Anything But Sweet

Lance Sweets Death In Bones Was Anything But Sweet
Fox
Fox

Nine seasons. Fans of the crime-mystery-drama series Bones had nine seasons to get to know and fall in love with the character of Lance Sweets. And what do the showrunners do during the first episode of the tenth season? They go ahead and kill him off, having him taken out by a corrupt assailant named Kenneth Emory.

Fans were devastated when Sweets was shot; he was about to have a kid! They were so shocked a few viewers actually thought he was going to survive. Alas, he didn’t. And the shocking death actually came because actor John Francis Daley had a scheduling conflict with directing National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Fans Were Stunned By Dr. DeLuca’s Death On Grey’s Anatomy

Fans Were Stunned By Dr. DeLuca's Death On Grey's Anatomy
ABC
ABC

For 128 episodes, fans of the critically acclaimed series Grey’s Anatomy got to know Dr. Andrew DeLuca. They followed him as he saved life after life at Grey Sloan Memorial. So, it was beyond shocking when he was stabbed during the 17th season’s mid-season premiere.

Even though he died a hero, stabbed while attempting to pursue a trafficker, it didn’t make his death any easier on the fans. Dying on the operating table, DeLuca even told Meredeth Grey, “I don’t regret it.” So tissue-worthy.

Uncle Keith Being Shot By His Brother On One Tree Hill

Uncle Keith Being Shot By His Brother On One Tree Hill
The WB
The WB

First off, from start to finish, the entire episode of “With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept” was not okay. It was an emotional roller coaster. And just when viewers think all of their favorite characters are in the clear, out of the school, and away from the shooter, Dan Scott has to go do the most Dan Scott thing ever, shoot his own brother.

Years later, and fans of the teen soap opera still aren’t over the untimely and shocking death of Uncle Keith. Seriously, it was one of those characters everyone went to for fatherly advice since many other dads were absent.

Leonard Snart Sacrificing Himself On Legends Of Tomorrow

Leonard Snart Sacrificing Himself On Legends Of Tomorrow
The CW
The CW

The fact that Leonard Snart started off as a common criminal made his death in Legends of Tomorrow that much more shocking. He winds up taking the place of not one but two of his fellow Legends, wanting to be the one to make sure the machine blows up, so Oculus doesn’t gain control.

It was very out of character for Snart, which made the event that much more jaw-dropping. In the end, he died a hero, something that he, ironically, loved to bash, making sure everyone knew that he was a thief that looked out for no one but himself and his partner, Mick Rory.

Gemma “Taking Care Of” Tara Knowles On Sons Of Anarchy

Gemma
FX
FX

One of the most gruesome moments in Sons of Anarchy also happens to be one of the most devastating and shocking, the death of Jax’s wife, Tara Knowles. In a whole series of people misunderstanding each other, when it finally comes down to it, Jax’s mother, Gemma, winds up stabbing Tara in the back of her head.

She does this all because Gemma believed Tara was going to rat out the motorcycle club. Oh, yea, Gemma, why on earth would she rat out her own husband? Long story short, the viewers knew Gemma was wrong, making Tara’s death that much more shocking.

Shireen Baratheon Didn’t Deserve To Go Out Like That On GoT

Shireen Baratheon
HBO
HBO

Of all the characters in the eight seasons of Game of Thrones, Shireen Baratheon was arguably the most innocent. Her kind nature and willingness to help others, especially Davos, made her death that much more shocking.

Shireen’s father did nothing but manipulate a young girl and use her own faith in him against her. Hey, maybe next time, he won’t blindly follow some crazy lady with bright red hair who advises killing his daughter on a pyre. Talk about father of the year. Shireen deserved so much better.

Fans Weren’t Okay After Buffy’s Joyce Summers Died

Fans Weren't Okay After Buffy’s Joyce Summers Died
The WB
The WB

In a show full of supernatural beings, someone dying of nothing more than natural causes should be a breath of fresh air. Well, it would have been if that someone wasn’t Buffy Summers’ mom, Joyce. The sudden brain aneurysm was shocking, to say the least.

While her death was heartbreaking, Buffy’s reaction to finding her mom lying still on the couch might have been even more so for fans of the series. Joyce was a mother figure to more people than Buffy and Dawn, after all.

Comic Fans Were Shocked That The Walking Dead Offed Carl Grimes

Comic Fans Were Shocked The Walking Dead Killed Carl Grimes
AMC
AMC

Fans of the popular AMC show The Walking Dead were pretty shocked when Carl Grimes was killed off in the show’s eighth season. His untimely death was especially confusing to those who’ve read the comics, since Carl is “the last man standing.”

For many, the writing was just sloppy. Seriously, he gets killed by a bullet that passes through a buck? The network should have just paid Chandler Riggs more, so they were able to stay with the storyline. Instead, they threw the comics out the window and got rid of the character to save cash.

The Back-To-Back Deaths Of Ana Lucia And Libby On Lost

The Back-To-Back Deaths Of Ana Lucia And Libby On Lost
ABC
ABC

Some expected Ana Lucia and Libby’s deaths on Lost, but no one could have anticipated for them to go out the way they did. In the episode “Two for the Road,” Michael shoots Ana Lucia only to turn around and shoot Libby directly after. It was seemingly out of nowhere!

Some people expected these deaths solely because of some highly publicized issues going on with the actresses a few months before the episode. According to the showrunners, though, their characters’ deaths were planned a year in advance.

Sara Lance’s Quick And Random Death On Arrow

Sara Lance's Quick And Random Death On Arrow
The CW
The CW

Considering Sara Lance “dies” twice before actually getting shot in the chest with three arrows, seeing her plummet to the ground from a rooftop was shocking, to say the least. Not to mention that she lands in front of her sister! Seriously, the writers just had to throw that little detail in there.

It was even more of a shocker when it’s revealed Thea Queen, of all people, is the shooter! But Sara is trained by the League of Assassins; they have magic resurrection ponds and whatnot. So, plot twist, Sara is resurrected in another shocking display of “what on earth is this strange place of Nanda Parbat.”

Rita Bennett On Dexter Was A Lot To Take In

Sara Lance's Quick And Random Death On Arrow
Showtime
Showtime

Out of all of the emotionally messed-up characters in Dexter, Rita Bennett’s death was arguably the most shocking to take in. She was Dexter’s lifeline to emotions, and seeing her lying in that bathtub was one of the biggest jaw-dropping moments of the series.

Their relationship was going so well, and Dexter wanted nothing more than to have a life with her and her children. But, no, Dexter just couldn’t get a happily ever after. Instead, he is riddled with guilt and blaming himself for not being able to save Rita from one of his archenemies, the Trinity Killer.

For People Who Didn’t Read The Books, Ned Stark

For People Who Didn't Read The Books, Ned Stark
HBO
HBO

Okay, so Ned Stark probably was going to die at some point in Game of Thrones. Since, ya know, pretty much everyone dies at some point or another. But people who didn’t read the books weren’t expecting what was very much one of the main characters getting beheaded in the first season!

Yes, the show is a bloody medieval-esque drama, but that doesn’t mean people can’t get out of their death sentences. Just look at Jamie and Tyrion Lannister. Either way, it was very shocking, especially considering his younger daughter was right there.

Sarah Lynne And Her Shocking Passing In Bojack Horseman

Sarah Lynne
Netflix
Netflix

For fans of the comedy Bojack Horseman, the death of Sarah Lynne was a double-edged sword. On one side of the sword, they kind of saw the untimely death of the troubled pop star. But that doesn’t mean the circumstances in which she died were any less jaw-dropping.

Her passing was actually up for debate among a lot of fans. While she dies in a hospital, many believe she could have been saved had Bojack gone for help in time. Alas, he was too afraid of getting into trouble.

The Car Crash Death Of Derek Shepherd On Grey’s Anatomy

The Car Crash Killing Derek Shepherd On Grey's Anatomy
ABC
ABC

In a medical drama, people dying is kind of the name of the game. But one death was a shock across the fandom, the one of Dr. Derek Shepherd, aka Dr. McDreamy. During season 11, the character suddenly dies in a car crash, taking his last breaths on the operating table.

According to an interview actor Patrick Dempsey did, he was happy with the way his character’s death unfolded. He said, “It really was something that was kind of surprising that unfolded, and it just naturally came to be, which was pretty good. I like the way it has all played out.”

The Murder Of Moira Queen On Arrow Was Jaw-Dropping

The Murder Of Moira Queen On Arrow Was Jaw-Dropping
The CW
The CW

Lies, drama, and more than one questionable acquaintance… nothing was ever boring when it came to Moria Queen, the matriarch of the Queen family. While more than one fan wanted to shake her, Moria never went through with plans unless it meant her children were safe.

But after the earthquake machine in The Undertaking, prison, lying about her daughter’s father, and running for mayor, viewers thought the Arrow character was in it for the long haul. That’s why no one thought Slade Wilson was actually going to kill her. It was very unexpected.

Marissa Cooper Dying In Ryan’s Arms On The O.C.

Marissa Cooper Dying In Ryan's Arms On The OC
Fox
Fox

While Marissa Cooper was a character with more than one issue, fans of the soap opera The O.C. never expected the character to die! In a ridiculous car chase, Ryan is driven off the road, resulting in Marissa’s untimely death in his arms and the jaws of teens all over the country hitting the floor.

The thing is, Marissa’s death wasn’t the original game plan for the series. In fact, it was actress Mischa Barton who wanted to kill the character off to pursue other projects and not be dubbed “the girl from The O.C.” for the rest of her career. Well, that didn’t really work out for her.

Mark Greene’s Passing In ER Was Very Emotional

Mark Greene
NBC
NBC

Mark Greene’s death in ER was a lot for fans to take in. It was shocking, emotional, and way too much for a character who’s been a staple in the medical drama for 180 episodes. In the episode “The Beach,” Greene is seen lying in a hospital bed with his daughter singing a lullaby he used to sing to her.

He had an inoperable brain tumor. Even though it was a lot for viewers to take in, actor Anthony Edwards actually asked to be written out of the show. He wanted the open schedule to explore other projects and opportunities. So selfish.

The Stabbing Of J.T. Yorke On Degrassi: The Next Generation

The Stabbing Of J.T. Yorke On Degrassi: The Next Generation
CTV
CTV

One of the most shocking deaths on TV happened back in the early 2000s. At a birthday party for Liberty, the girl he loved, J.T., is stabbed by Drake Lempkey, a student from a rival school. He bleeds out in the parking lot with Liberty holding him in her arms. Talk about drama and too many emotions for a teen show!

According to actor Ryan Cooley, it wasn’t his idea to kill off J.T.; it was the writers who thought of it. Ironically, Cooley was considering leaving the show anyway so he could have the opportunity to attend college. In the end, it looks like it worked out.

The Mother’s Mystery Illness In How I Met Your Mother

The Mother's Mystery Illness In How I Met Your Mother
CBS
CBS

Fans waited nine seasons to meet Tracy McConnell, aka “The Mother,” in How I Met Your Mother only to witness her death in the series finale. Okay, yes, it’s implied that the mother is no longer alive since Ted is telling his children the story of how they met. But that doesn’t make it any less shocking.

Not only is the death kind of unexpected, but the writers don’t even give fans the courtesy of explaining the illness! She just passed away from some mystery illness. Viewers were already wrapping their heads around the death without having to dive into WebMD to figure out what was wrong with her!