Abraham (2014-2016) and Glenn (2010-2016), The Walking Dead
After months of speculation about which beloved character would become Negan’s victim, The Walking Dead’s season 7 premiere delivered not one death, but two. After Negan took his bat to Abraham’s head — whose fitting final words were “suck my balls” — Negan decided that one life was not enough. Pointing his bat in another direction, Negan delivered one of the most graphic death scenes in recent television when he bashed Glenn’s skull in … over and over and over again while both America and Maggie watched.
Hodor, Game of Thrones (2011-2016)
A man of few words (okay, just one word), Hodor towed Bran beyond the Wall until, in a time-warping twist, Bran’s trip down Three Eyed Raven-induced memory lane during the White Walkers’ attack caused the young Hodor (né Wylis) to learn he had to “hold the door” — and nothing else. The reveal — that the gentle giant existed only so he could sacrifice himself at the right moment — left countless Thrones fans failing to hold their tears.
Ramsay Bolton, Game of Thrones (2012-2016)
Since his season three introduction as a bitter bastard with a grudge against the greater good, Westeros’ resident destroyer of genitals tortured and tormented his way into the Thrones’ villain hall of fame (although he never quite reached Peak JoffreyTM in his ignoble rise) only to be struck down by Sansa, who recaptured Winterfell and reduced Ramsay—after a tenderizing assist by Jon Snow—to mere kibbles and bits
Margaery Tyrell, Game of Thrones (2012-2016)
Highgarden’s rose could have done so much more — if only she didn’t go up in wildfire flames. Sure, Cersei scorched many of King’s Landing’s most powerful players, but Margaery’s death had the greatest ripple effect: Her loss motivates Olenna into cementing an alliance with Dorne, causes Tommen to end his life, and therefore leaves the Iron Throne empty. Right this way, Cersei! Just watch out for the dragon queen.
The High Sparrow, Game of Thrones (2015-2016)
One of the radical forces that rose to power after the destructive War of Five Kings, the High Sparrow initially appeared to promote an alternative vision of Westeros, one premised on social justice and equality rather than noble lineage. This season, though, he revealed himself to be just as oppressive and power-hungry as anyone else, and finally paid a dear price for humiliating Cersei.
Lincoln, Agents of SHIELD (2015-2016)
After a game of hot potato of death with Yo-Yo’s cross, the two-hour season finale revealed that the prophesied Fallen Agent was Lincoln, who sacrificed himself to save both Daisy and the world from Hive, causing Daisy to abandon S.H.I.E.L.D. for a more gothic look
Grant Ward/Hive, Agents of SHIELD (2013-2016)
Ever since the reveal that Ward was actually Hydra, it was only a matter of time before he paid the ultimate price. Still, fans believed him redeemable even up until Coulson pushed his chest in on Maveth. Though Ward died there, his body was then inhabited by Inhuman baddie Hive, who planned to transform the world into swayed Inhumans before Lincoln blew him up in the space-bound quinjet
Andrew Garner/Lash, Agents of SHIELD (2015-2016)
Just when it looked like Agent May was on the precipice of happiness, her ex-husband Andrew was revealed to be the Inhuman-hunting Inhuman Lash, who sacrificed himself to save Daisy from Hive’s sway
Vanessa, Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)
After giving herself over to Dracula, Vanessa denied the vampire his prize and saved the world in the process by dying voluntarily at Ethan’s hand. Rather than try to live on without Eva Green at the helm, Penny Dreadful followed in the footsteps of its tortured heroine and chose to end, to fans’ surprise
Abbie, Sleepy Hollow (2013-2016)
Sleepy Hollow ran on the chemistry between apocalyptic Witnesses Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane — until Abbie sacrificed herself to stop a power-hungry god from conquering humanity. Her unexpected death sparked an outcry, and the once-buzzy supernatural drama is left to reinvent itself as Crane prepares to carry on with a new Witness.
Margaret Scully (Scully’s mom), The X-Files (1994-2016)
The last and most beloved of Scully and Mulder’s parents, Scully’s mother Margaret suffered an ultimately fatal heart attack in The X-Files’ revival. With her last words, Maggie pushed the partners to talk about another member of their family: the son Scully gave up for adoption 14 years ago.
Poussey Washington, Orange is the New Black (2013-2016)
Her tragic death at the hands of a rookie guard is a heartbreaking ending for a character who had touched so many of her fellow inmates. The loss is felt throughout Litchfield as it leads to a riot, which ends with Daya holding a gun.
Kate, Wayward Pines (2015-2016)
She had lost her husband, her partner, and was a prisoner, so she decided to end her life as she said, “We were capable of so much, but now it’s your world, your future. I don’t want any part of it.” With Kate gone, the rebellion would now find a new leader in Ben.
Root, Person of Interest (2012-2016)
Like Elias, Root was killed by a bullet that was meant for Harold Finch. The weight of that guilt pushed Harold over the edge and led him to declare outright war on Samaritan. However, death wasn’t necessarily the end for Root because The Machine adopted her persona, giving her an apotheosis of sorts.
Elias, Person of Interest (2011-2016)
After narrowly escaping death in the fourth season finale, the organized crime mastermind Elias finally met his end when he took a bullet to his head while trying to protect Harold Finch from Samaritan operatives. His death shook Harold Finch to the core and pushed him even closer to the edge.
John Reese, Person of Interest (2011-2016)
The only way to defeat Samaritan was for someone to upload The Machine to a satellite from a rooftop it had targeted with a missile. Wanting to give Harold (Michael Emerson) the opportunity to be reunited with his fiancée Grace, Reese (Jim Caviezel) took his place on the roof. In death, Reese reaffirmed his loyalty to his best friend and saved the world.
Bethany Mayfair, Blindspot (2015-2016)
Those tattoos that cover Jane’s body? They’re all in service of a greater plan to (possibly?) root out corruption within the FBI, starting by ousting Mayfair from office. After being framed and arrested on murder charges, Mayfair set out to uncover the truth, coming face-to-face with Jane. But before Mayfair could lash out against her, Oscar shot Mayfair in the back.
Lexa, The 100 (2014-2016)
Perhaps the most controversial TV death to occur in 2016 thus far is that of Lexa, the stalwart Grounder chief on The 100. Immediately after having sex with Clarke for the first time, Lexa is accidentally shot and killed by her advisor Titus. Many of the show’s fans decried Lexa’s death as being an example of the Bury Your Gays trope, noting that she was killed moments after the show’s first lesbian sex scene. Following her death midway through the season, Lexa’s spirit reappeared in the finale to help Clarke battle the destructive antagonist A.L.I.E. within the simulated City of Light.
Lincoln, The 100 (2014-2016)
Is The 100 the number of fan-favorite characters that this show is going to kill off!? A few episodes after Lexa was killed by a stray bullet, the Grounder warrior Lincoln was publicly executed by a gunshot to the head, sacrificing himself to save his friends. As with the show’s earlier death, controversy swirled around Lincoln’s demise, with actor Ricky Whittle criticizing showrunner Jason Rothenberg for diminishing his storyline and “bullying” him off the show.
Laurel, Arrow (2012-2016)
District Attorney by day, badass vigilante by night, Laurel Lance (AKA Black Canary) was one of Star City’s greatest heroes. But when supervillain Damian Darhk arrived in town to wreak his magical havoc, Laurel died tragically at his hand. Laurel’s death temporarily fractured Team Arrow, but ultimately helped them face their personal “darkness” and triumph over the magical baddie.
Henry Allen, The Flash (2014-2016)
Henry Allen’s brutal murder by evil speedster Zoom was one of the show’s most heartbreaking moments, especially since it happened in front of his son Barry’s helpless eyes. A shattered Barry was dealt another emotional blow when Henry’s Earth-2 doppelganger Jay Garrick, that world’s Flash, showed up to help Barry defeat Zoom not long after. All the tears!
Agent Gaad, The Americans (2013-2016)
In his run as the head of FBI counter-intelligence, Gaad missed more than his share of secrets (His secretary’s a spy! Stan’s sleeping with Nina! The pen’s a recorder! Mail robot!), but one thing he didn’t miss was a big piece of broken glass to the gut. From his death, the effect on a vengeful Stan and a paranoid Philip and Elizabeth surely won’t be missed.
Nina, The Americans (2013-2016)
A season of dead bodies kicked off with an unexpected wallop of an execution for Nina, the Russian ex-pat who was just on the verge of completing her prison time for treason when she followed her heart and received an unceremonious disposal in the process. More horrifying than her undeserving death was the way in which her exit made almost no ripples — a silent, sobering, crushing reminder of insignificance in the greater battle the rest of the show’s characters muddle through, believing they’re a part of something bigger that, evidently, doesn’t feel the same way.
Captain Cold, Legends of Tomorrow (2016)
Originally a thieving supervillain on The Flash, Leonard Snart/Captain Cold found his inner hero on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. In a moment of rare selflessness, Snart died destroying the corrupt Time Masters’ fate-controlling Oculus device, helping his super-friends escape and ensuring a free future for the universe. His loss weighed heavily on the team, especially on his partner in crime Mick Rory/Heat Wave.
Noah Bennet, Heroes Reborn (2015-2016)
To stop the solar flare from destroying the world, Nathan and Malina needed someone to act as a conduit for their combined powers. Enter: Noah, who willingly offered himself up to his grandchildren to save the world.
Luke, Heroes Reborn (2015-2016)
Luke completed his journey from villain to hero when he flew into the solar flare and detonated himself in order to slow it down. His sacrifice bought Malina enough time to find her brother Tommy and save the world.
Ziva, NCIS (2005-2016)
Ziva David died off-screen when former CIA agent Trent Kort blew up her farmhouse. Even though Cote de Pablo left the show two years earlier, Ziva’s death brought profound changes to NCIS because it led to Tony DiNozzo quitting the team after discovering he had daughter named Tali.
Cami O’Connell, The Originals (2013-2016)
After the season 3 midseason finale left fans wondering about Cami’s fate, she was saved by a bit of vampire blood. And considering she’d survived as a human for three years, nobody expected that she couldn’t do the same as a vampire. Yet, when Lucien bit her, Cami’s fate was sealed. All that was left was for her to confess her love for Klaus in a tearful goodbye.
Davina Claire, The Originals (2013-2016)
First Cami, then Davina. After Kol loses control and drains Davina of her blood, Freya is able to rescue her from the ancestors who are waiting to kill her. But when Freya and Elijah have to choose between killing Lucien and protecting Davina, they betray Marcel — a decision they’ll later regret — and use Davina to find a way to kill Lucien, an act that sends Davina back to the witch ancestors, who essentially disintegrate her soul. So yeah, she’s dead.
Angus, Outlander (2014-2016)
Angus, no! Jamie Fraser’s beloved sidekick who was always good for laugh was severely injured during the Battle of Prestonpans, but no one knew how bad he was hurt because everyone was focused on Rupert, who ended up surviving the bloodshed.
Colum Mackenzie, Outlander (2014-2016)
Let’s be honest: Colum had it coming. Jamie’s maternal uncle and head of the MacKenzie clan was stricken with a degenerative disease that left him in great physical pain, so Claire did him a solid by helping him to die. At least his passing led to a poignant bedside speech by his brother Dougal, who exposed his very broken heart
Dougal Mackenzie, Outlander (2014-2016)
When Dougal overheard Claire and Jamie contemplating killing Prince Charles, he lashed out against his nephew, the “traitor,” and his wife, the “witch.” And when Jamie couldn’t calm Dougal down, a sword fight ensued, ending with Jamie and Claire joining together to push a dagger through Dougal’s chest. Sorry, uncle.
Liam, Quantico (2015-2016)
Spoiler alert: Liam was the terrorist! So when Alex had the opportunity, she took the shot(s) that killed him, but not until after he made her life a living hell and threatened the man she loved.
Simon, Quantico (2015-2016)
The FBI thriller went out with a literal bang when the former NAT drove a nuclear bomb straight into the bottom of the river, saving the Academy, and well, much of the East Coast. Simon’s sacrifice caused even the ambitious Alex to leave the FBI — a move that could land her in a new crime-fighting agency when season 2 begins.
Gabriel, Hawaii Five-0 (2014-2016)
During season six, every bad thing that happened to the team seemed to trace back to Gabriel, but yet after he was shot they did their best to try and keep him alive. Chin now faces the question of whether he will grant Gabriel’s dying wish of looking after his daughter.
Metatron, Supernatural (2013-2016)
Metatron started out as nothing more than the Scribe of God, but during his time on Supernatural, he’d evolve into the big bad, and eventually, a good guy again. And when it came time to rescue Cassifer from The Darkness, Metatron sacrificed himself to make sure the mission was a success
Robin Hood, Once Upon A Time (2013-2016)
Big bad Hades planned to use the Olympian Crystal to end Regina — no underworld, no afterlife. But Robin sacrificed himself to protect her
Norma Bates, Bates Motel (2013-2016)
It was the death audiences knew was coming, yet Bates Motel still managed to make the demise of Norma Bates a surprise. After marrying Alex Romero, she enjoyed a honeymoon period that was too good to last. All eyes were on Norman Bates when he came home from the Pineview Institute and everyone expected Romero to get the ax by season’s end (and he almost did). In a cruel twist, Norman and his “mother” had other plans. He flooded the house with carbon monoxide with in the intention of dying beside his beloved mother. Unfortunately Romero arrived and tried to revive Norma, but she was already gone as Norman showed signs of life.
Meechum, House of Cards (2013-2016)
As Frank Underwood’s minion, bodyguard, and menage à trois participant, Meechum was one of few characters willing to take a bullet for the conniving president — and in the end, he did. Meechum saved Frank from Lucas’ assassination attempt, and his death cost Frank the closest thing he had to a friend
Denise, The Walking Dead (2015-2016)
Denise was finally beginning to face her fears — and give Daryl and Rosita an inspirational speech — when Dwight shot her in the eye. Daryl’s guilt over Denise’s death (mostly because he didn’t kill Dwight when he had the chance) leads him to seek out Dwight and the Saviors… and winds up getting himself and Rosita caught. Meanwhile, Denise’s girlfriend, Tara, is still on a run and hasn’t received the bad news yet.
The Andersons, The Walking Dead (2015-2016)
Rick has a broken heart as a result of the zombie herd that infiltrated Alexandria and gobbled up Jessie Anderson and her son Sam. But, moments beforehand, Carl lost an eye when Jessie’s elder son, Ron, aimed his pistol at the teen. Ron met his maker at the hands of Michonne’s magical katana of justice.
Katie, Containment (2016)
After 11 episodes of building a love story between single mom Katie and Jake, Containment did the unthinkable: It gave Katie the deadly virus. And after an hour of trying to cure her, she finally said goodbye to her son and died in the arms of the man she loved.