News

The Walking Dead and the Most Heartbreaking TV Deaths of the Last 20 Years

From Buffy to This Is Us, it was hard to say goodbye to these favorite TV characters.

by | February 26, 2018 | Comments

No one is safe on The Walking Dead — except for maybe Rick (Andrew Lincoln). Other central characters can be killed off week to week, and the uncertainty has often been the most exciting part of watching the show. In the midseason premiere of season 8, AMC’s hit zombie series said goodbye to a character who has been on the show since the very beginning.


Spoiler alert! This article contains plot details for a major character death in The Walking Dead and 18 other TV shows.



The mortality rate for television characters has increased dramatically in the last two decades. Really, since cable shows like Game of Thrones — with its Stark family curse — chucked out the rule book governing the survival of beloved characters, no one is safe. The best surprise deaths can make viewers mourn for fictional characters. When it’s just a publicity stunt or a blatant contract termination, it doesn’t hurt quite as bad.

Real-life losses like John Ritter (8 Simple Rules), Phil Hartman (NewsRadio), and Bill Paxton, who was starring in CBS series Training Day when he died in 2017, are a different sort of heartrending tragedy.

Here are 19 of most heartbreaking TV deaths of the last 20 years. Fictional characters only.

Want to argue for a more heartbreaking death? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Tag Cloud

criterion Mary poppins PBS royal family best 21st Century Fox FOX documentaries renewed TV shows Image Comics SXSW harry potter Countdown die hard feel good American Society of Cinematographers See It Skip It Comic-Con@Home 2021 elevated horror CBS All Access reboot aliens mcc olympics 2018 Paramount Plus Holiday YouTube comic book movie films The Arrangement Dark Horse Comics YouTube Premium Superheroe Bravo Black Mirror TV Land 93rd Oscars hispanic heritage month popular Disney streaming service Sci-Fi TCM Awards Tour Acorn TV Nat Geo Premiere Dates USA Network Ovation indie San Diego Comic-Con Disney DirecTV social media toy story Nickelodeon Hulu news scorecard Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Christmas TNT anime nature BBC Sundance Now rotten parents festivals Food Network french black 71st Emmy Awards Walt Disney Pictures critics Discovery Channel Interview History critic resources spanish latino cats natural history ABC cancelled true crime Freeform E! HBO cooking A24 ghosts cars series space ABC Family Epix President spanish language Amazon Prime Video National Geographic fast and furious new york psycho prank high school period drama classics blockbusters video WarnerMedia OWN Lionsgate based on movie zero dark thirty Podcast kaiju Pop TV TV movies Character Guide TV One Stephen King Lifetime Instagram Live IMDb TV Song of Ice and Fire Esquire LGBT DGA DC Comics science fiction Cosplay TIFF zombie wonder woman art house screen actors guild debate PlayStation scene in color Baby Yoda Pixar rt labs critics edition japanese historical drama directors 45 jurassic park Drama christmas movies Arrowverse Spectrum Originals sag awards Country war marvel comics TV renewals Tomatazos The Academy El Rey nbcuniversal FX on Hulu Schedule NBA rt archives all-time GLAAD book dramedy quibi Mudbound kids Oscars Superheroes transformers a nightmare on elm street foreign twilight australia golden globes Film The Walking Dead political drama Elton John Hallmark The CW worst MTV Apple TV Plus universal monsters deadpool Apple TV+ Year in Review Legendary Watching Series Disney Plus cartoon concert franchise young adult cults dceu romantic comedy ViacomCBS GIFs Polls and Games dragons serial killer SundanceTV Sneak Peek Tarantino LGBTQ sports book adaptation TV Comic Book satire Vudu TLC Horror asian-american game show Wes Anderson Spike The Witch football cinemax Television Academy GoT Britbox Calendar comedies Trailer IFC Films fresh singing competition dc stop motion BAFTA Showtime adaptation travel 99% south america godzilla reviews 24 frames Tokyo Olympics television 72 Emmy Awards Super Bowl Funimation RT History genre Lucasfilm CMT Reality hidden camera WGN golden globe awards scary stand-up comedy Grammys Disney+ Disney Plus BET ITV game of thrones saw crime thriller Comedy The Purge Extras TCA Awards Teen sitcom Awards animated Crunchyroll rt labs 4/20 telelvision slasher disaster vampires doctor who biography anthology Anna Paquin Hear Us Out Opinion crime drama comiccon Sony Pictures Avengers spy thriller Alien Rocky batman technology unscripted comic finale chucky halloween tv mob Endgame Apple rotten movies we love Music Universal Pictures biopic Fargo Pet Sematary thriller versus teaser 20th Century Fox Martial Arts boxing OneApp 2021 Turner Classic Movies werewolf Paramount Network comic books venice Western police drama TruTV crime Infographic women HBO Max Tubi Rock Lifetime Christmas movies ratings strong female leads Starz 73rd Emmy Awards robots talk show Hallmark Christmas movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt basketball Television Critics Association Netflix aapi theme song video on demand black comedy Kids & Family Spring TV Pirates mutant Box Office spider-verse live action Election sequels nfl laika supernatural Writers Guild of America TCA Cannes X-Men TCA Winter 2020 Valentine's Day monster movies james bond Turner king kong Winners vs. superhero dogs Mary Tyler Moore VOD posters Peacock halloween child's play Universal Adult Swim joker razzies jamie lee curtis dark Marvel Studios hollywood Brie Larson Fox News witnail mockumentary Reality Competition Netflix Christmas movies CBS tv talk APB free movies Sundance First Look MCU adventure new zealand Star Trek boxoffice romance Cartoon Network 007 stoner Animation Holidays Red Carpet blockbuster Creative Arts Emmys Exclusive Video BBC One richard e. Grant lord of the rings Amazon Prime docuseries crossover Masterpiece 2017 2019 screenings Columbia Pictures target FX miniseries TBS Pride Month superman Travel Channel Action 2016 Winter TV ID action-comedy Set visit what to watch canceled BET Awards composers Comedy Central Star Wars Crackle Mindy Kaling BBC America USA Amazon Studios adenture Summer Disney Channel heist movie Biopics blaxploitation Black History Month Fox Searchlight live event Certified Fresh ESPN spider-man Chernobyl scary movies Thanksgiving Sundance TV Fantasy Trivia sequel New York Comic Con Shondaland Emmy Nominations indiana jones CW Seed Nominations First Reviews toronto Musicals hispanic king arthur Mystery Marvel Television canceled TV shows mission: impossible Pop ABC Signature politics award winner Broadway DC streaming service 1990s NBC breaking bad Musical Warner Bros. Marathons know your critic DC Universe medical drama sopranos Photos TCA 2017 festival obituary IFC cancelled television Amazon cops A&E diversity RT21 cancelled TV shows Rocketman Paramount AMC MSNBC Comics on TV FXX kong binge Film Festival comics Mary Poppins Returns pirates of the caribbean Neflix streaming streaming movies marvel cinematic universe 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Best and Worst Toys casting YouTube Red Emmys Women's History Month The Walt Disney Company Family Tumblr legend SDCC 2015 worst movies name the review remakes VH1 green book Video Games Pacific Islander new star wars movies Fall TV zombies psychological thriller facebook Ellie Kemper Binge Guide docudrama VICE hist japan Logo HBO Go documentary children's TV Marvel 90s revenge emmy awards Heroines Quiz suspense justice league E3 movie movies Syfy NYCC dreamworks YA international archives Captain marvel spinoff discovery rom-coms Ghostbusters Trophy Talk gangster slashers comic book movies CNN italian Shudder dexter Rom-Com Academy Awards spain AMC Plus 2020 cancelled TV series independent PaleyFest Classic Film trailers