10+ TV Characters Who Should Never Have Been Killed Off

The Walking Dead - Glenn

Although readers of the comic knew it was coming, the death of Glenn Rhee in The Walking Dead was too much for some.

Lovable Glenn had been the heart of the show. His 2016 death at the hands of Negan was graphic and cruel, and viewers switched off in droves.

The 100 - Lexa

When The 100 burst onto the scene in 2014, the show was a breath of fresh air. It offered a new approach to programming aimed at teenagers.

Clarke’s same-sex relationship with Lexa was one of The 100’s strongest points. When the show killed off Lexa, it lost a chunk of its viewers in the process.

The OC - Marissa Cooper

Marissa Cooper was originally meant to die during The OC’s first season after a wild night in Tijuana. The character proved too popular to kill though.

However, her luck ran out during the third season finale in 2006. Her departure ultimately signed The OC’s death warrant, as the show struggled to continue without her.

Orange is the New Black - Poussey

Amongst a sea of questionable characters, there was once an Orange is the New Black character who was universally loved by audiences - Poussey.

Fans were horrified in 2016 when season four saw Poussey shockingly and horrifically murdered. With their beloved character dead, many struggled to face watching the show again.

Dexter - Rita

For four seasons, serial killer Dexter struggled to find where he belonged. In 2009's season four finale, he decided to pick family life with his pregnant wife Rita.

However, before they could start a new life together, Dexter’s nemesis murdered her. Her death was a step too far, causing many to walk away for good.

Stranger Things - Barb

The disappearance of Barb Holland was a key plot point in 2016's first season of Stranger Things - but fans were upset once she turned out to be dead.

Many questioned why Barb was killed by the Demogorgon, when the monster also took Will but let him live. 'Justice for Barb' became a popular hashtag on social media.

The Simpsons - Maude Flanders

Renowned for its off-the-wall humor, The Simpsons took everyone by surprise by killing off Maude Flanders, wife of Homer's arch-rival Ned Flanders, in 1999.

Most fans felt the death - which only really happened due to a contract dispute with Maude voice actress Maggie Roswell - was a cynical move, serving no purpose plot-wise.

Sons of Anarchy - Opie

In a line-up of deplorable Sons of Anarchy men, Opie was a shining beacon. He was the angel on Jax's shoulder to everyone else's devil.

In 2012's fifth season, Opie was brutally killed off, and without his guidance Jax ventured down a dark path. Many fans were angered to the point of no return.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Tara

In 2002, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's sixth season featured what proved to be the show's most controversial death: when Willow's girlfriend Tara is killed by a stray bullet.

This cruel moment - widely considered one of the worst examples of the 'bury your gays' trope - pushed the series down an ever-darker path, putting many fans off.

Breaking Bad - Jane

Cancer-stricken Walter White starts off as Breaking Bad's good guy, but his villainous side soon reveals itself - notably in season two's penultimate episode, which sees Jesse's girlfriend Jane fatally overdose.

The fact that Walt simply watches it happen and does nothing to help was too much for some viewers, who felt that Jane didn't deserve to go out that way.

Dallas - Bobby Ewing

When 80s soap Dallas killed off Patrick Duffy's character Bobby Ewing, the following ninth season proved to be a major low point for the once-enormously popular show.

Dallas' writers took the unprecedented step of bringing Bobby back in the last episode - and pretending the entire season had been a dream. This development was widely ridiculed.

Twin Peaks - Leland Palmer

In fairness, the main problem with Twin Peaks' second season wasn't that Leland Palmer died: it was the fact that he was also revealed as Laura Palmer's killer at the same time.

As Laura's murder was the central mystery driving the series, Twin Peaks lacked direction once the crime was solved, hence it was cancelled before season two even ended in June 1991.

Community - Pierce

Sitcom Community hinged on the unlikely friendship of six mismatched community college students, who accepted one another despite personal differences. This changed once Pierce Hawthorne died in 2014's fifth season.

The show's underlying message of tolerance seemed undermined by this development, particularly as it was widely known that Pierce actor Chevy Chase had been fired over personal tensions on set.

The Expanse - Alex

In The Expanse, pilot of the Richonante, Alex, was the glue that held everyone together and a firm fan favorite.

Unfortunately, Alex was killed off during the season five finale in February 2021. During season six the rest of the crew were scattered, and the show’s magic diminished.

Downton Abbey - Matthew

Matthew Crawley's death was the first and probably biggest shock of the addictive period drama Downton Abbey. And it ruined it.

In 2012's Christmas day episode A Journey to the Highlands, Matthew Crawley - having just become a father - is hit by a milk truck and killed. Fans were furious.

House of Cards - Frank Underwood

Political drama House of Cards was stuck between a rock and a hard place when 2017's high-profile allegations against leading man Kevin Spacey led to his dismissal after season five.

Rather than cancel the show, they had Frank mysteriously die off-camera and made Robin Wright's Clare the new figurehead. Fans and critics weren't sold: season six proved to be the end.

Angel - Cordelia

When Cordelia Chase joined Angel in LA for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series, she gradually evolved from a selfish, shallow person to an invaluable member of the team.

As such, fans were stunned when she was unceremoniously killed off in 2004 - especially once it came to light that actress Charisma Carpenter had been fired after getting pregnant.

Charlie - Two and a Half Men

Okay, Charlie Sheen was running his mouth and having a public breakdown when he got fired in 2010, but light-heartedly killing his character off was still a bad decision.

People were not watching sitcom Two and a Half Men for Jon Cryer. They certainly weren't going to watch it for Ashton Kutcher.

Grey’s Anatomy - Derek

The romantic chemistry between Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd was a core component of Grey's Anatomy in the early days - so fans were thrilled when Derek returned in season 10.

However, when Derek was killed off in season 11 episode How to Save a Life, a whole lot of longtime Grey's Anatomy viewers never got over it.

Roseanne - Dan

1997's (initial) final season of Roseanne saw the Conner clan bizarrely strike it rich with a lottery win - but the last episode revealed this was all a fantasy.

It turned out that Roseanne simply wrote a story to cope with the death of her husband Dan. Fans considered this a horribly bleak note to go out on.

Family Guy - Brian

Deciding to kill off the family dog, Brian Griffin, in season 12 of Family Guy angered so many fans they started a Change.org petition to bring him back.

The petition gained 120,000 signatures. Two episodes later, in Christmas Guy, Brian was saved and resurrected via Stewie's time machine.

ER - Dr. Romano

ER didn't jump the shark. They crashed the helicopter, and they did it in the season 10 episode, Freefall, killing Dr. Robert Romano in the process.

Considering that Romano had lost an arm to a helicopter blade just one season earlier , to see him killed in a helicopter explosion was a bit much.

Wednesday - Principal Weems

Gwendoline Christie came to Wednesday with a fervent fanbase from her Game of Thrones/Star Wars days, and her performance as Principal Weems was considered a highlight of the Netflix series.

As such, many viewers were upset and angry when 2022's season one finale of the Addams Family offshoot saw Weems shockingly - and, some would say, needlessly - killed off.

M*A*S*H* - Henry Blake

Abysinnia, Henry was the 24th episode of M*A*S*H*'s third season in 1975, and it saw McLean Stevenson's Lt. Henry Blake sent home from the Korean military hospital.

However, in a shock ending, it's revealed that Blake's helicopter was shot down, killing everyone on board. Thousands of viewers complained that the beloved character met so cruel a fate.

Killing Eve - Villanelle

Darkly comedic thriller Killing Eve followed the unorthodox relationship between Jodie Comer's psychotic assassin, and Sandra Oh's intelligence agent. Their cat-and-mouse dynamic always seemed on the brink of turning romantic.

In the Luke Jennings novels that inspired the series, Eve and Villanelle get their happily-ever-after. When 2022's series finale instead killed Villanelle, fans - and Jennings himself - were intensely displeased.

The Good Wife - Will Gardner

Viewers of The Good Wife were well and truly caught off guard when Will Gardner, one of the drama's main characters from the start of the show, was murdered in season five.

The show continued for two further seasons in the aftermath of Will's bloody courtroom death, but fans were truly caught off-guard, and many could never forgive the show runners.

Luke Cage - Cottonmouth

2016's first season of Marvel's Luke Cage had a major feather in its cap: future two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth, one of the best-written, best-acted villains in all Marvel media.

This being the case, it was bold but misguided to kill off Cottonmouth after only seven episodes. The latter half of the season was considerably less compelling without him.

Stranger Things - Bob Newby

Stranger Things season two revealed that characters whose names start and end with 'B' don't last long in Hawkins, Indiana, as Joyce's new beau Bob meets a horribly grisly demise.

On top of the fact that the character himself was so innocent and good-natured, the graphic brutality of Bob's death (eaten alive by demodogs) left many viewers very upset.

Game of Thrones - Jon Snow

Given they'd already killed his father, half-brother and stepmother, Game of Thrones viewers knew it was entirely possible that the show might kill off Jon Snow as well.

Still, when Snow seemingly dropped dead in 2015's season five finale, fans were flabbergasted - and when season six's premiere brought him back, many felt they'd been manipulated.

Charmed - Prue Halliwell

Season three of Charmed ended on a cliffhanger, with the fate of the Halliwell sisters unclear after a demon attack - but 2001 season four premiere revealed Prue was killed.

Viewers were infuriated by the fact that, though ghosts exist in Charmed, we never see Prue again. This was because actress Shannen Doherty left the show under acrimonious circumstances.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Buffy

Admittedly, killing off the title character was a great cliffhanger ending to Buffy the Vampire Slayer season five - but it also demonstrated the show was running out of ideas.

Fans knew the show wasn't ending and Buffy's resurrection in season six was all-but guaranteed - which begged the question, why bother killing her at all?

South Park - Kenny

For the first few years of South Park, it was a running joke that Kenny died in every episode - but eventually the makers of the adult animation got bored.

Season five episode Kenny Dies saw the character finally killed off for good - until demand from disgruntled fans saw him brought back a year later.

Farscape - John and Aeryn

Sci-fi series Farscape came to a dramatic shock ending with the final episode of season four, in which central characters John Crichton and Aeryn Sun are blasted to smithereens.

Fans were left distraught by this dark cliffhanger, which would not be resolved until mini-series Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars wrapped things up more than 18 months later in October 2004.

Breaking Bad - Gale Boetticher

Breaking Bad's third season ends on a haunting note, with a visibly distressed Jesse shooting Walt's new lab partner Gale - under orders from Walt.

Despite his criminal associations, Gale was one of the most innocent figures in the show, making his cold-blooded murder heart-breaking - particularly as Jesse really didn't want to do it.

Lost - Charlie

Rock star and recovering addict Charlie had been one of Lost's key characters from the beginning - so his death in the season three finale hit the audience hard.

While many felt Charlie got a much-deserved heroic send-off, Lost's willingness to kill off protagonists - as well as the increasingly convoluted plot - saw many viewers stop tuning in.

Arrow - Laurel Lance

Laurel Lance had been a central character in superhero series Arrow from the beginning, and even more so once she adopted the mantle of Black Canary.

Her death in season four sent the show on to a darker path. Some fans were so displeased by this, they stopped watching.

How I Met Your Mother - Tracy

After nine seasons, the identity of How I Met Your Mother's title character was finally revealed in new character Tracy - only for her to die in the series finale.

Many viewers were left hugely disappointed with the way this was handled, particularly as the denouement seemed designed to get Tracy out of the way and reunite Ted with Robin.

Homeland - Peter Quinn

The makers of Homeland knew it would hit home when Peter Quinn died in the finale of Homeland season six - but they didn't anticipate how upset some would be.

A group claiming to represent "thousands of aggrieved viewers and fans" of Homeland took out a full page ad in The Hollywood Reporter to voice objection to this plot development.

Xena: Warrior Princess - Xena

Many TV adventure shows come to an end with our hero riding into the sunset - but in 2001, Xena: Warrior Princess ended with the title character killed by decapitation.

Fans were heartbroken, and in the years since Xena actress Lucy Lawless has admitted she hugely regrets ending the show that way.

The Simpsons - Larry

After almost 35 years on the air, The Simpsons proved it could still get people talking - by killing off the largely silent barfly Larry in April 2024.

Longtime Simpsons fans - many of whom feel the show has long since jumped the shark - criticized this development as a cynical attempt to make the cartoon relevant again.