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25 most shocking and heartbreaking TV show deaths that we'll never get over

Warning, spoilers ahead for TV show deaths from House of the Dragon, Euphoria and more


Ryan with Marissa in One Tree Hill
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
March 31, 2023
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Some shows have been out for weeks, others years, but some TV deaths are so shocking that it doesn't matter how long it takes, we'll never quite forget them - or forgive the writers for putting us through it! From teen dramas to fantasy shows to even a comedy or two, here are the most heartbreaking TV show deaths over the years... 

Chris Miles - Skins 

Chris was the happy-go-lucky, sweetest member of the original Skins crew, and after a cheeky storyline about his affair with his teacher, and a truly romantic one of his relationship with Jal, the fan favourite died after suffering a subarachnoid haemorrhage, the same hereditary condition that had killed his brother. To add insult to injury, Jal's speech at his funeral left us in bits. 

WATCH: Jal gives a heartbreaking eulogy for Chris in Skins

Keith Scott - One Tree Hill 

In a truly harrowing episode of One Tree Hill, Lucas' former friend Jimmy brings a gun to school, feeling abandoned by his pals and despondent about his future. When Lucas' uncle, Keith, goes into the school to find Lucas, he faces off with Jimmy. Unable to stop Jimmy from killing himself, Keith is then murdered by his brother Dan, with the crime being pinned on Jimmy. We will never forget, Dan Scott! 

Dan kills Keith in One Tree Hill© CW
Dan kills Keith in One Tree Hill

Lady Sybil Crawley - Downton Abbey

Seriously, could Julian Fellowes not have just let Lady Sybil live her happy life away from the manor with her dashing chauffeur husband, Branson? In this harrowing episode, everyone's favourite Crawley sister Sybil gives birth at Downton, with their family doctor sharing concerns that she has a potentially fatal condition - which is disregarded by another, more experienced doctor. It turns out Dr Clarkson was right and that Sybil was indeed suffering from eclampsia, but it was too late to help her. 

Lady Sybil Crawley giving birth in Downton Abbey© HBO
Lady Sybil Crawley giving birth in Downton Abbey

Robb Stark - Game of Thrones 

If you listen very closely, you can still hear the echoes of fans screaming over the infamous Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones, in which several main characters were slaughtered - but Robb had to be the most heartbreaking of the lot. Avenging his father as King in the North and scoring victory after victory on the battlefield, Robb was betrayed by the Freys and the Boltons, and killed in the most cowardly of ways, learning in his final moments that "the Lannisters send their regards". 

Richard Madden as Robb Stark at the Red Wedding© Home Box Office (HBO)
Richard Madden as Robb Stark at the Red Wedding

Marissa Cooper - The OC 

Imogen Heap, you outdid yourself on this one. The car wreckage, the sad girl version of Hallelujah, poor Ryan trying to keep Marissa awake. For goodness sake, writers, she was going on a long boat trip! You couldn't have just let her sail away? Was all of this so that viewers would be cool with Ryan being in a relationship with TAYLOR TOWNSEND?! 

WATCH: Marissa dies in The OC

Poussey Washington - Orange is the New Black 

Poussey was an instant fan favourite when Orange is the New Black began, mostly due to her epic friendship with Taystee, and so it was awful when the fun-loving, wise-cracking inmate was suffocated by a guard during what began as a peaceful protest. 

Poussey Washington in Orange is the New Black
Poussey Washington in Orange is the New Black

Omar Little - The Wire 

The late great Michael Kenneth Williams was iconic in the role of Omar, the Robin Hood-esque gangster who was funny, terrifying and loving in equal measure. Omar seemed untouchable on the show, so it was a shock to viewers when - without any warning - he is shot and killed at a corner store by a young drug dealer. The end. 

MORE: 7 stars who were blacklisted from Hollywood: Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl and more

Michael Kenneth as Omar Little
Michael Kenneth as Omar Little

Glenn - The Walking Dead

Ah, the death that saw millions of viewers tune out of The Walking Dead for good. Glenn was one of the greatest characters in the show as someone who managed to get himself out of constant life-threatening situations, including being overwhelmed by walkers, a deathly case of the flu and nearly being killed by cannibals. However, it was Negan and his bat Lucille that ultimately murdered Glenn, and the show saw a huge dip in viewership after the heartbreaking episode. Coincidence? We think not. 

Glenn dies in The Walking Dead
Glenn dies in The Walking Dead

Sarah - The Last of Us 

Although it happens very early in the show, Joel’s daughter Sarah's death packs a massive punch. In episode one, we see the world through her eyes as she goes about her death - showing what a thoughtful, kind person she is by getting her dad's watch fixed, visiting her neighbours and helping to make cookies. When she is killed by the military during the confusion and terror of the virus outbreak, it makes her shocking death all the more heartbreaking. 

Sarah in The Last of Us © HBO/Warner Media/Shane Harvey
Sarah in The Last of Us

Lucerys Velaryon - House of the Dragon 

Speaking of characters who did not deserve the ending that they got, excuse us while we mourn over Lucerys, Rhaenerys' second eldest son who is sent to be a convoy for his mother with their bannermen. While the task is considered very simple, with the Targaryens expecting that Lucerys will receive a warm welcome, it turns out his uncle Aemond is already there. Hurrying home, Lucerys is stalked on his dragon Arrax by Aemond, whose own dragon kills them both, leaving Aemond shocked and spurning the war between the Targaryens forward.

MORE: House of the Dragon: everything to know about season two - and Jon Snow sequel series

Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, this epic series tells the story of House Targaryen.© HBO
Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, this epic series tells the story of House Targaryen.

Danny Lyons - Years and Years

Russell T. Davies certainly knows how to pack a punch, doesn’t he? His drama Years and Years follows a family affected by the political, social and economic turmoil that Britain enters into over the years. In the show, Danny is determined to get his partner Victor - who was deported - back to the UK, so much so that they end up paying to get a dinghy across the channel together. In a heart-wrenching moment, it is revealed that their boat capsized and that many passengers drowned, including Danny. 

Danny died while trying to help his partner
Danny died while trying to help his partner

Kirsten McAskill - Happy Valley 

Young police officer Kirsten stood her ground after pulling over Lewis and Tommy Lee Royce in season one of the hit BBC drama, unaware that she was interrupting their kidnap operation. While Lewis desperately tried to deal with the situation peacefully, Tommy took matters into his own hands by running Kirsten over, several times, leading her to say the haunting line: "I think they've killed me." Has a more gruesome death of a lovely character ever been featured in a BBC drama?! 

WATCH: Kirsten dies in Happy Valley

Min Harper - Slow Horses 

Min is one of the Slow Horses and was a bit of a comic figure thanks to his witty remarks, hapless skills as a spy and burgeoning relationship with Rosalind, which made his season two death all the more shocking. In it, he is found dead in a cycling accident - which of course turns out to be no accident, as he is murdered by Russian mobsters after tailing them. 

Did you see Min's death coming?
Did you see Min's death coming?

Cassie Stuart - Unforgotten 

Was it necessary?! Nicola Walker's character was on the verge of retirement when a car comes out of nowhere, killing her. While the finale - and season five - dealt with Sunny's grief at the shocking loss of his partner, we'll always wonder why she wasn't allowed to go off into the sunset with 30 years in the force well served! 

nicola walker as cassie© Photo: Rex
Cassie's death shocked fans

Colin Morris-Jones - It's a Sin 

While many moments in It's a Sin had us sobbing, nothing was quite so heart-wrenchingly awful as poor Colin's death. The young Welshmen, while a member of the bright and bubbly friendship group, was much more reserved about sex, and even had to deal with the unwanted advances from his boss - which is what made his diagnosis and swift death from AIDs all the more shocking. The discovery of how he caught the disease makes it even more of a gut punch. Be right back, we’re still getting teary about this one! 

Amy Pond - Doctor Who 

Yeah yeah, she might have lived a good life in the past, but STILL. While Doctor Who doesn’t typically kill off their companions, finding other workarounds like erasing their memories, getting trapped in alternative dimensions or loving the Doctor too much to be around (eye roll), they really went and killed off Amelia Pond with a weeping angel. Sending her back to the past, where her husband Rory was trapped, the pair lived a good life together, but never saw the Doctor again. 

Amy Pond is taken by the Weeping Angels© BBC
Amy Pond is taken by the Weeping Angels

Callum - Noughts and Crosses

Book readers were wondering whether the TV show would recreate the horrific ending of Sephy and Callum’s love story, and oh did they. In the show, Callum is hanged for a crime that he did not commit, due to a corrupt and unfair system. His death spurs reform, but that doesn't mean we weren’t devastated that he didn't receive a last-minute reprieve from his fate. 

Callum was executed in Noughts and Crosses© BBC
Callum was executed in Noughts and Crosses

Eden - The Handmaid's Tale 

How could they do this to poor Eden? The teenage bride of Nick is executed by the state after falling in love with another man and attempting to run away with him - then refusing to atone for it. As the most pious character who was very much indoctrinated by Gilead, her death is the final proof that Serena needs for how women aren't safe in the country. 

Eden was executed in The Handmaid's Tale© Hulu
Eden was executed in The Handmaid's Tale

Christopher - Sopranos

Despite being a son figure to Tony, it didn't save Chrissy from his shocking fate in season six. As Tony becomes increasingly concerned over Christopher’s drug use, and fears that he will turn informant for the state, Tony uses Christopher’s severe injuries to his advantage and suffocates him. The moment truly showed how merciless Tony could be - and we weren’t ready for it. 

Christpher in The Sopranos
© HBO
Christopher in The Sopranos

Ashtray - Euphoria 

Ashtray was Fez’s much-loved, adopted younger brother, and his death was harrowing in an awful shootout scene when Fezco is begging both the police and Ash to stop what they are doing. 

Ashtray in Euphoria© HBO
Ashtray in Euphoria

Tanya McQuoid - The White Lotus 

While we wondered whether Tanya might have been paranoid about her new group of gay pals while on vacation in Italy, it turns out that her suspicions were correct, and that the group were planning to kill her. With links to her husband, her death meant that they would come into her fortune - and Tanya made sure it didn’t happen, shooting and killing all of them in a blaze of glory. However, she ended up taking herself out at the last moment by slipping from the boat, hitting her head and drowning. While it was a great, tragic end to a great, tragic character, we're just sorry to miss her from season three. 

The White Lotus men toasting with Tanya© Fabio Lovino/HBO
The White Lotus men toasting with Tanya

Edmund Bridgerton - Bridgerton 

While we of course knew that Edmund Bridgerton wasn't around anymore, the revelation about his death in season two is harrowing. In the episode, he is bonding with his eldest son, Anthony, when he has an allergic reaction to a bee sting and dies - leaving Anthony traumatised. While his death explains why Anthony is as stoic as he is about true love and happiness, we weren't expecting to be so bereft by Edmund's brief appearance.

Edmund had an allergic reaction to a bee sting
Edmund had an allergic reaction to a bee sting

Tokyo - Money Heist 

As the main character of the hugely popular show, no one saw Tokyo's death coming. Taking to YouTube to discuss, this person summed it up perfectly, writing: "This is what makes this show so damn good. Who could’ve seen this coming!? I had a feeling Tokyo might die at the very end but wasn’t expecting it this early. The creators of this show know how to mess with our emotions. I wasn’t Tokyo’s biggest fan but even I shed a tear." 

Tokyo's death in Money Heist© Netflix
Tokyo's death in Money Heist

Rayna Jaymes - Nashville 

Despite being the main character of the popular country music drama, Rayna didn't survive her injuries following a car accident, and she dies with her family surrounding her, singing to her. Some fans suggested that her death ruined the show, with one person writing: "I just literally binged on this series, and I think the death of Rayna completely ruined the remainder of the show. I didn’t know it was coming, and I had become so wrapped up in Rayna and Deacon’s relationship, I was literally hysterical and sooo angry when she died! I still tear up when I think about it!" 

Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes© Sky
Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes

Guinevere Beck - You 

Although You is admittedly a little silly, we have to admit that we were genuinely shocked when the season one finale revealed that Beck didn’t manage to escape Joe, and that he murdered her after her escape attempt. Joe's narration - that he had given her the immortality that she had always wanted by publishing her bestselling book - was haunting. 

Did you see Beck's death coming?© Netflix
Did you see Beck's death coming?

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