Five Beloved TV Characters Who Died in Crappy Ways


TV characters die. That’s just the way it is. We lose not only villains, but characters we’ve grown to know and love over a period of years, meaning their deaths affect us more than many we see in films.

But there’s no worse feeling than seeing a beloved character die in an incredibly crappy way. Where the circumstances of their death don’t reflect their badassery. Yes, many characters go down in a blaze of glory as heroes, but some just…die, and often in maddening ways.

These five character deaths have really bummed me out not just for the loss of the character, but how they went out. I’ll say up front we have spoilers for The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey on the way. You may be able to guess some of the people from the show names alone.

Omar Little (The Wire)


This kind of sums up this entire list. Omar was the biggest badass on The Wire, the thug who robs drug dealers. Everyone tried to kill him, but no one ever could, and he even survived jumping out of a third story window to get away from pursuers on one occasion.

Omar met his untimely end at the hands of a tiny little thug barely out of elementary school. The kid recognized him, shot him, and that was that. Hardly a fitting end for one of TV’s biggest badasses, but that’s kind of the point. I should say that just because these deaths were crappy or frustrating, that doesn’t mean I’m saying they’re poor creative decisions.

Richard Harrow (Boardwalk Empire)

Harrow under the boardwalk

I’ve often lamented that Boardwalk Empire lacks anything resembling a hero, a character the audience can root for, despite the bad things they do. The closest the show had was Richard Harrow, the good-hearted, half-faced hitman who recently met his end in the season four finale.

Harrow had been trying to give up his assassin ways, but he owed Nucky Thompson one last favor. He was meant to snipe Valentin Narcisse in order to end the feud with him and Chalky White, but instead his misfired, killing White’s daughter, the hostage. Harrow takes a bullet from a random bodyguard and bleeds out under the boardwalk while imagining the homecoming he’ll never get.

Opie (Sons of Anarchy)


I suppose you could call Opie’s death somewhat heroic. While the Sons were in prison, he volunteered himself for execution so the rest of his brothers could live.

But the way it was handled? It just left me feeling sick afterward. It didn’t come at the end of the season, or even the end of the episode, it just happened, and it felt like the show had just run out of ideas for the once-beloved character and were simply killing him for shock value.

Ned Stark (Game of Thrones)


Ned Stark’s beheading is one of the most shocking deaths in TV or literary history, and I wouldn’t have had that plotline progress any other way. Still, the circumstances where he met his end were far from ideal.

Stark is betrayed in the first place for trying to honorable things. First by warning Cersei he knows Joffrey’s true parentage. Then by not seizing power with the help of Littlefinger. But in the end, he ends up losing his honor anyway, confessing to crimes he did not commit in an effort to save himself and his family. Joffrey executes him regardless, meaning Stark died with nothing, not even his beloved honor.

Matthew Crawley (Downton Abbey)


Sometimes frustrating character deaths happen even when the showrunners don’t want them to. Such is the case of Dan Stevens, who simply wanted to be done with Downton Abbey as British series aren’t supposed to last longer than like, ten episodes total.

Unfortunately, he was more or less the main character of the show, and Downton was forced to completely trash a happy season two ending by having Crawley die in a freak car accident right after the birth of his child. It remains one of the most irritating, unjustified deaths in TV history. Though that’s what happens in life sometimes, I suppose.

Feel free to add your own!

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  1. What about Dan from Roseanne? Granted you don’t find out until the last episode of the series, tears rolled when you found out.

    Side note, the recent Family Guy death suddenly made my eyes start watering.

  2. Hmm. I think you miss the entire point of BOARDWALK EMPIRE in hoping to find a hero to root for, but I will agree that the closest thing there was to that was probably Harrow. The show is a brilliant study of the roaring 20’s, and I celebrate it entirely on that level.

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