When Characters are Killed Off: The Most Memorable TV Deaths

It happens in TV land: characters get killed off. Why? Well, there’s more than one reason for why script writers kill off a main character. Sometimes, the actor can’t continue filming (whether voluntarily or not) and the writers need to end the character’s life out of necessity. But then sometimes, the writers want to kill someone off for dramatic effect or to go with the story line.

Adriana La Cerva / Dan Conner / Larry Hagman / Heidi Swedberg.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com

Let’s go through some of the more memorable TV deaths that all had us talking about it the next day at the water cooler, the lockers, or on the phone with a friend. Which one was the most shocking for you?

Adriana La Cerva (The Sopranos)

How can anyone forget that dreadful car ride when Adriana La Cerva, the long suffering girlfriend of Christopher, was in the car with Silvio? Just the way he nonchalantly tells her that Christopher will be okay after she’s gone while she’s crying silently is enough to make you weep.

Source: TV Guide

As they continue to drive our hopes continue to fall. The car eventually stops in the middle of some place in New Jersey, and Adriana pleads for her life. But Silvio had a job to do and he completed his mission. It was tragic and most of us hoped it wouldn’t be. But it was.

Jack Pearson (This Is Us)

‘This Is Us’ has a way of pulling out your heartstrings every single episode. And one of the most emotional stories is that of Jack Pearson. While it was quite early on that we found out that Jack dies before his time, to see the fateful moment finally unfold was more than most viewers could bare. And it’s all because we fell in love with his character.

Source: Mashable

She was in denial after the doctor informed her of Jack’s heart attack, but Rebecca (Mandy Moore) races to her husband’s hospital bed to prove the prognosis wrong. But reality is reality and tragedy is tragedy. I’m just glad the show is based on flashbacks so we can continue to live in the past with Jack.

Dan Conner (Roseanne)

The family sitcom ‘Roseanne’ took an unexpected turn in its series finale when Dan Conner suddenly suffers from a heart attack. At first, it wasn’t clear whether it was fatal or not. But in the closing moments we realized that he died.

Dan Conner is in a still from the show.
Source: YouTube

But Roseanne fans were pleased to see, decades later, that Dan came back to life. Played again by John Goodman, the ‘Roseanne’ revival explained that Dan didn’t really die; he was just sleeping. But when the revival was canceled, the ABC a spin-off ‘The Conners’ took its place, and Roseanne was the one who died this time.

Susan Ross (Seinfeld)

It came as a real surprise when ‘Seinfeld’ killed off Susan, George’s fiancé. She had an untimely death due to a regrettable decision to buy the cheapest invitations for their upcoming wedding. After licking 200 envelopes, Susan has passed out on the couch. For good.

Source: Mashable

After everyone met at the hospital, George is told that Susan has died from the consumption of toxic glue. Leave it to the gang to not show much sentiment, having shrugged it off with indifference. George said it best when he said, “Come on, let’s get some coffee.”

J.R. Ewing (Dallas)

When J.R. Ewing was shot twice by a mysterious gunman, all of America had to wait a whole summer before they could finally find out if he died in the incident or not. But the evil megalomaniac didn’t die, at least in that episode, which was called “Who shot J.R.?”

Larry Hagman and Josh Henderson pose behind the scenes.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/ Copyright: TNT, Zade Rosenthal

Having survived that attempted assassination in 1980, J.R. Ewing was indeed fatally shot in the second season of the ‘Dallas’ revival in 2012. J.R. was described by The New York Times as “the nastiest man on television.”