17 Most Shocking TV Finale Deaths Ranked, From OMG to WTF? (Photos)
We could tell you who is in this gallery now, but then we’d have to kill you — on-screen
Jennifer Maas | May 3, 2018 @ 8:48 PM
Last Updated: May 21, 2018 @ 2:57 PM
It's spring and you know what that means? It's TV death season! Well, it's the time of year when most shows are airing either their season or series finales -- which is always a prime time to kill off key characters and fan favorites. This plot device to cliffhang fans or tug at their heartstrings has been done to death (literally), which is why to pull off a real shocker you gotta go big. Here are the top TV finale character deaths ranked from the simply, "Oh, my God!" to "What the f--?"
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17. Dan Conner (John Goodman), "Roseanne": OK, Dan really shouldn't be on this list -- anymore. But because his death was such a big shock when it was revealed in the original series' finale, it makes the cut. Even though it was all shrugged off when the revival hit ABC earlier this year.
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16. Teri Bauer (Leslie Hope), "24": Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) saves the day at the end of Season 2 of "24," because of course he does. However, it ends on a pretty dark note when his wife is shot by the mole Nina Myers, and he is left holding her lifeless body at the end of a very long day.
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15. Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton), "Big Love": In a show that wasn't particularly violent, the twist of Bill dying after taking three shots to the chest in the series finale was a little extreme. But it allowed for his three wives to both care for him and feel liberated after his passing, an especially poetic ending for the HBO drama about polygamy.Also Read:Bill Paxton’s 20 Best Roles, From ‘Aliens’ to ‘Titanic’ to ‘Big Love’ (Photos)
14. Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton), "The O.C.": Rich girl Marissa was a hot mess by the time her life was cut short at the end of Season 3 of this Fox teen soap. However, in the season closer, she was just about to go live with her dad and turn her life around. So when she died in Ryan's (Ben McKenzie) arm's after a car crash, we started listening to "Forever Young" in tribute and haven't stopped since.
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13. Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams), "Dawson's Creek": Someone had to die in the series finale of this WB teen drama, because it was a WB teen drama. But it didn't have to be Jen did it?!? Yeah, moving into the future to reveal that Jen was a mother to a one-year-old and then killing her off due to a heart condition all in one episode was just a bit too much, even for those cynical at heart like Jen herself.
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12. Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free), "Game of Thrones": Doesn't it suck to watch your daughter die just moments after admitting to her you are really her father and not her uncle? Yes, it was tough to see Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) watch blood emerge from the young princess' nose, before she collapsed suddenly after being fatally poisoned in the Season 5 finale.
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11. Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), "Game of Thrones": Fans of the book saw Ned's death coming from a mile away, but viewers tuning in to the penultimate episode of the HBO fantasy series' first season may not have been prepared to see him beheaded. Actually, we don't think anyone was ready for that, books or no books. Yes, he actually died one episode before the finale, but the ambiguous way it was shot left people holding out hope for a week that there may have been a reprieve for poor Ned. But nope, in the season finale, we see his head on a pike -- confirming he was dead, and adding him to this list.
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7. Rita Morgan (Julie Benz), "Dexter": Rita's death was such a big secret for the Showtime series that multiple scripts were written in an attempt to keep it under wraps. And the shock was worth all the hullabaloo, as seeing Dexter come home to find her dead in the bathtub, with their little boy crying by his mother's lifeless body, is still the biggest 'gotcha' moment from the entire series.
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6. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), "Game of Thrones": If you haven't heard about Jon Snow's death (and subsequent resurrection) by now, then you truly know nothing. Though the phrase "dead is dead" was repeated by the creators many times after Jon was stabbed by the Night's Watch in the Season 5 finale, we held out hope over the hiatus he would somehow survive because of course he would. And yes, he was brought back to life by Melisandre (Carice van Houten) at the beginning of Season 6. But since he did die and it shook us for months, he makes the cut.
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4. Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), "Downton Abbey": After years of 'will they or won't they?' nonsense, Matthew and Mary (Michelle Dockery) finally married and had a baby boy at the end of Season 3. And in the darkest of twists, Matthew died in a car accident in the episode's final moments while headed home to tell the family about the birth of his son.
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2. Lt. Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson), "M*A*S*H": When the CBS dramedy about the Korean war killed off Colonel Henry Blake, it was a particularly hard pill for fans to swallow because they weren't familiar with the concept of an on-screen death yet. Stevenson's exit by way of dying was one of the first in TV history.
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