Every year we bid farewell to some amazing characters on our screens. Knowing there are always goodbyes doesn't make it easier and often their exits are downright shocking.
From kick-ass grandmas to heroic fathers, from lawyers to gangsters, and even with a few doctors and lawyers thrown in, Death comes for all of them.
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Television deaths can be vindicating. Sometimes they're justified. But we've gone through the year to find the deaths that hit us hardest, the deaths that had meaning and affected the surviving characters as much as it affected us.
Sometimes we even knew it was coming. Other times, it was brutal and unexpected. Most times, it ripped out our heart and stomped on it.
So as the year winds down, we lay these characters to rest as well.
Cable -- Bull
Our Queen of the Deep Dive, Cable was the wildest card in Jason Bull's bag of tricks. Whether she was tracking a jury member's online buying patterns or faking a weather report, she could always be depended on to shed a smart-alec light on the case and to call out everyone -- up to and including boss man Bull -- on their B.S. With actress Annabelle Attanasio set to move on, we knew Cable would be exiting between seasons but the choice to kill her off was heart-breaking for the team and viewers alike.
Quentin Lance -- Arrow
Although he started as an adversary, Quentin's involvement in Team Arrow was unquestionably positive. As a father, as a mentor, as a friend, he's been an invaluable resource. His death on Arrow Season 6 Episode 23 was the sort of hard reality in a 'verse full of impossible resurrections that sends shockwaves through the system.
Alvin Olinsky -- Chicago P.D.
A well-loved character dying an unjustified death. The repercussions for his murder were far-reaching but couldn't bring him back. R.I.P. sir.
Monty & Harper -- The 100
They did a time jump and gave us their son as an adult that will be hanging out with the main characters now, but that isn't a replacement for Monty and Harper. Their deaths definitely shattered the audience and with their son Jordan being a main character in the next season, their deaths will linger over everyone on the show.
Nicole Walker -- Days of Our Lives
Nicole's death on Days of Our Lives was as devastating as it was pointless. Nicole has been a wisecracking, sensitive, wounded do-the-wrong-thing-for-the-right-reasons character for over 20 years, and the show teased a reunion between her and Eric (a very popular pairing) after she'd left for a year only for her to be killed off two weeks after her return. It was as gratuitous as it was heartbreaking.
James Nava -- Shades of Blue
Harlee had finally found love with the ADA when he was murdered while trying to protect a witness from the corrupt police she was trying to take down. Harlee’s complete anguish over the loss of a love she never thought she deserved was heart-wrenching.
Kanan Stark -- Power
Kanan had escaped death time and time again, to the point where it was becoming comical. But Power really went there this summer by killing off one of the biggest characters on the show. His death has been mourned and forgotten already by most, except Tariq who played a hand in his death and also saw him die. This is sure to have a profound impact moving forward, as he tries to follow in the footsteps of both his father and his late mentor.
Madison Clark -- Fear the Walking Dead
The choice to kill Madison Clark off is concerning. It plays into a pattern of women beyond that 20-year-old age range becoming more disposable, something that happened on Major Crimes with Mary McDonnell too. It just felt off.
Dolls -- Wynonna Earp
Dolls was beloved by the characters and fans alike and his death really hit viewers hard. Although he left a heartbroken Wynonna behind to mourn him, his relationship with her will always be one of the best in the series. Dolls touched the lives of all his friends and always put himself in the line of fire if it meant saving someone else. His huge heart will not soon be forgotten.
Julie Swagger -- Shooter
We spent the entire season thinking Bob Lee's wife and daughter were untouchable. That turned out to be a lie. Julie was always Bob Lee's moral compass, and the two of them had hit a rough patch but made amends in the middle of a gunfight. Of course, the cardinal rule of Shooter is that Bob Lee can never be happy for long. Killing Julie was devastating for the fandom, but she went out like the badass that she was.
Klaus Mikaelson --The Originals
This death caused SUCH the melt-down in the fan base. After all, Klaus was quite literally one of the originals of The Originals. Many felt that his death was a total ploy to push the spin-off, cheap ending for the character, as well as a lazy way to write a redemption arc...ugh.
Kelly Anne Van Awken -- Queen of the South
Kelly Anne had become a part of Teresa’s inner circle. She considered Teresa like a sister so when she betrayed her to Devon Finch and the Feds it was devastating. The worst was when Pote couldn’t look at Kelly Anne and pull the trigger. James had to step in and do it for him.
Kiki Jerome -- General Hospital
Kiki's death on General Hospital has been really devastating. She brought a youthfulness to the show that was really lacking. She had formed so many great relationships with other characters and has even made some like Franco and Griffin more likable. The fact that she was murdered by the man sleeping with her mother was even more tragic.
Isobel Bloom -- iZombie
Though Isobel was a recurring guest-star on season 4 she vibed really well with the squad so we grew attached to her, specifically her friendship with Ravi. Going in, we knew she was going to die since she was terminally ill when Renegade smuggled her into New Seattle and she was immune to the zombie virus, but that didn't lessen the eventual blow. When they found her on the ground and realized it wasn't one of her pranks, it was soul-crushing. The only upside to her death was that she didn't die in vain as Ravi discovered that her brain was a cure itself.
Ben Button -- Riverdale
Ben's suicide on Riverdale was jaw-dropping and shocking. It's sad to lose the character because, even though he was minor, he was the strange appearance that popped up throughout the show. Of course, now that he's been spotted delivering a pizza to Sabrina in Glendale, there will probably be a whole new crop of Ben theories coming out.
Baz -- Animal Kingdom
The entire season revolved around the aftermath of Baz's death and the effects. Pope swore to get to the bottom of who killed his brother and it set the boys against Smurf for a while.
Rufus -- Timeless
Only in the Timeless fandom would fans be more pissed off at those who canceled the series than at the writers who took a huge risk leaving us with such a huge cliffhanger. Rufus is the heart of the series, so knowing all season that Jiya could foresee his death still didn't prepare us for how gutwrenching it would be when he actually died.
Jo Laughlin -- Legacies
This was more recent, but Jo's re-death on Legacies was traumatizing not only to viewers, but to Alaric, who had to re-live her death over again, and also the twins. It was cruel to bring her back just to kill her off again. Lizzie and Josie just met their mother, they wanted to get to know her and connect with her, but there was no denying that she wasn't meant to be alive. She was a zombie resurrected by the necromancer in order to use the emotional connection to get Alaric's knife. However painful her short-lived return was, it offered up a beautiful reunion between a mother and her girls and gave Alaric the closure he never got after Kai killed Jo back on TVD.
Alison Bailey -- The Affair
Shock is an understatement for the reaction of fans when it became clear that one of their central characters was well and truly dead having committed suicide by drowning. Alison not only doesn't finish out the series, she doesn't even live to the end of this penultimate season. Not only was it unexpected but it leaves Noah and Cole in a strange relationship, her daughter Joanie without a mother, and Ben with some unanswered questions.
Butch Gilzean -- Gotham
No one seems to stay dead for long in Gotham but Butch is unique in that he not only comes back from the dead but actively seeks to be truly alive, heartbeat and all, in order to be with Tabitha. And as they jump through Cobblepot's various hoops to gain access to Hugo Strange, it never occurs to them that Butch's former boss might be anything but altruistic in this endeavor. After Strange does his thing, it looks like there might actually be a happy ending for these crazy kids but then -- oh yeah, #GOTHAM -- Cobblepot straight up kills Butch in front of Tabby in the longest revenge plot ever, paying her back for killing his mother two seasons previously.
Carl Grimes -- The Walking Dead
Carl's death on The Walking Dead Season 8 midseason premiere was an emotional rollercoaster for both the characters and viewers. The final moments shared between Carl, Rick, and Michonne were especially heartbreaking. While the decision to write the character out of the series was a surprising -- and perhaps unwise -- move on numerous levels, at least it was a meaningful death and became the catalyst in Rick's decision to ultimately save Negan and inspire hope in rebuilding the world that Carl had envisioned.
Rooster -- The Ranch
Fans were outraged at the character dying when his motorcycle went over a cliff in Part 6. The way the character left the show at the end of Part 5 was a fine way to write Danny Masterson out. Killing the character, even though it was off-screen and a body was never found, felt unnecessary. It was harsh & changed the entire dynamic of the show.
In addition, his family was devastated. Colt and Rooster were best friends and his death changed Colt, especially once his daughter was born. There is a big hole in his life and it is affecting the way he lives his life.
There is little humor to the show now that Rooster is gone, which is not good considering it is a comedy.
Jahil Rivera -- Star
Troubled but ambitious, Jahil has been his own worst enemy at every turn in the road. The bullet he dodged in Season 1 killed his godson but he isn't so lucky the second time around. His death is a game changer for everyone involved the Take Three and Midtown Sound.
Lily Kendall -- The Resident
The Resident is no stranger to losing patients, but we became emotionally attached to Lily Kendall almost as much as Dr. Hawkins did. Seeing him desperately trying to revive her through chest compressions was dizzying and devastating. And seeing Nic set-up to take the fall for her death was even worse. Unlike with other patients, Lily's death also played a major role in exposing Dr. Lane for misdiagnosing and mistreating patients.
Jack Pearson -- This Is Us
For a show that has built its reputation on making people blubber like babies, This Is Us pulled out all the stops in revealing how Jack Pearson dies, a fact that the audience knew of well in advance. Knowing didn't make it any easier and the Crock Pot fake-out only heightened the emotional upheaval as they manage to sow that tiny seed of hope that he might not die yet only to rip it away again.
Grace O'Brien -- Doctor Who
You wouldn't think the death of a character you'd only just met would matter so much but Grace O'Brien's death as a casualty of the climactic battle with the Stenza warrior Tim Shaw on Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 1 turns out to be the catalyst for many of the decisions made by her husband and grandson throughout the season. Beyond that, she was a loving wife, understanding grandmother, and kick-ass adventuress to boot.
David Rosen -- Scandal
The only true white hat in the crowd at Olivia Pope and Associates, David Rosen survived all the shenanigans seven seasons could throw at him only to be the last body the series would bury. His death inspired Olivia to hold fast to the high road in the Gladiators' final stand and, although the Cyrus' ultimate punishment was cut from the aired finale, the message was clear that, in Washington D.C., every action exacts a price eventually.
Dr. Hugh Culber -- Star Trek: Discovery
The tragedy when an innocent is killed is made worse when the killer is never brought to justice. Dr. Culber is not only part of the U.S.S. Discovery's medical team, charged with some of the weirdest and most top-secret cases due to the experimental spore drive his husband Paul Stamets is piloting both research-wise and then literally. His death at the hands of Ash Tyler (aka activated Klingon sleeper agent, Voq) is never accounted for (although he gets a very nice plaque in memoriam) as Voq/Ash Tyler is just left to hang out with the new Klingon leader as a "consultant" and that's somehow okay. Pfft.
Alan Pangborn -- Castle Rock
Alan Pangborn's love for Ruth Deaver was easily the most heartfelt and genuine emotion portrayed on television this year. Every touch, look, and conversation between the two conveyed a depth of feeling we IRL people can only aspire to. So when he thinks The Kid holds the key to reversing Ruth's dementia, we understand why he leaves her alone to fulfill the task assigned to him. In his absence, The Kid's presence drives Ruth into greater confusion and anxiety until she fires a gun at the doorway of the garage she's hiding in, thinking she'll finally be free of her dead husband, Matthew. When she realizes that it's Alan she's shot and crawls to him to cradle him as he dies, there's still only love in his eyes. Oh, my heart hurts to even think of it.