Still Not Over It
Love Quinn before she died in Netflix's 'You' Season 3
22 TV Characters Who Never Should Have Died

Bring! Them! Back!


Watching your favorite character die on TV is a truly heartbreaking experience, and it’s even more terrible when you know they didn’t deserve to go out the way they did. Of course, some memorable TV deaths are warranted because they push forward an important storyline or reveal new layers to the world of the show they were in. But certain TV character deaths just feel wrong.

Spoiler alert: Due to the nature of this list, it contains major spoilers from several TV shows — for the spoiler-averse, proceed with caution. Even if you forgot pretty much everything else about a show, chances are you won’t forget that *one* death scene that tore you to pieces, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen it. Whether you couldn’t watch any more episodes of Grey’s Anatomy after McDreamy died, or you’re still triggered whenever anyone mentions Ashtray from Euphoria, these are the moments that somehow manage to be shocking, agonizing, maddening, and melancholic all at once.

Some character deaths are simply inevitable, but there are plenty of others that could have easily been avoided... and probably should have been, TBH. These are the wrongfully executed TV characters who deserved to live on.

1. Eddie Munson (Stranger Things)


Stranger Things is notorious for killing off at least on beloved character each season, but Season 4’s casualty hit the hardest. Fans were distraught when misunderstood outcast Eddie Munson sacrificed himself to save his friends in the Upside Down. In a short amount of time, Eddie had become an inspirational mentor to Dustin and a loyal friend to Nancy, Robin, and Steve. It’s a shame his infectious rock ’n’ roll energy was taken from fans so quickly.

2. Love Quinn (You)

You was never better than when Love Quinn was around. It seemed Joe Goldberg had finally met his perfect match when the unhinged chef was revealed to also be a killer, but Season 3 ended in Joe killing Love, unable to face his own demons reflected right back at him. Love really was Joe’s true counterpart, so killing her off pretty much guaranteed no other relationship would ever be as interesting or entertaining.

3. Lexa (The 100)

One of the most controversial deaths of the past several years was Lexa’s on The 100. Right after war leader Lexa let down her guard and slept with Clarke for the first time, she was suddenly killed by a stray bullet. Shocked fans immediately called out the death for perpetuating television’s troubling “bury your gays” trope, in which LGBTQ+ characters are recklessly killed right after a moment of queer joy, leading to showrunner Jason Rothenberg issuing an apology for the choice. An apology is nice, but it would have been better to see Lexa fully explore things with Clarke — and, you know, live her life.

4. Tanya McQuoid (The White Lotus)

Tanya McQuoid was the glue that held The White Lotus together after a major cast change between Seasons 1 and 2. That’s why it was so shocking when she drowned in the Season 2 finale. Not only did she still have unresolved business with her scheming husband Greg, but fans also expected her to be the one character to always pop up in The White Lotus. Sadly, Season 3 is going to feel totally different without her.

5. Justin Foley (13 Reasons Why)

13 Reasons Why was known for its especially grim deaths. Due to the show’s central conceit, there really was no way around Hannah Baker’s heartbreaking end, and things only went downhill from there. But the series really didn’t have to kill off Justin Foley in its last scene. The final death was especially jarring to fans since it happened right after Justin had finally gotten his life back on track. He’d finally found a true brother in Clay and worked things out with Jessica... only to learn he’d contracted AIDS while living without a home and a lack of treatment made the disease lethal. It was an unnecessarily dark and disheartening way for 13 Reasons Why to end, but I guess that’s just the vibe the show wanted to keep going until the very end.

6. Judy Hale (Dead To Me)


For a show that deals with the complexities of mortality so well, it wasn’t so off-base for Dead to Me to end with a main character’s life ending. But that still didn’t make it any less soul-crushing when Judy succumbed to cancer, saying her final goodbye to her best friend Jen in Dead to Me’s series finale. Watching someone as loving and kind as Judy die so young hurt as much for viewers as it did for Jen.

7. Derek Shepherd (Grey’s Anatomy)

Eleven seasons on a show is a long time, except when it comes to Grey’s Anatomy, of course. Derek Shepherd was such a presence on the medical drama that fans assumed the show would never kill him off, but sadly, he met his end in Season 11, and in a particularly frustrating fashion. McDreamy could’ve been saved after his car crash, but the doctor operating on him didn’t have the same expertise he did. It was a weird way to bring one of the most beloved Grey’s romances to a sudden end.

8. Villanelle (Killing Eve)

Another victim of the “bury your gays” trope, Killing Eve fans were livid when the show’s series finale ended in the death of Villanelle. Just after it seemed like Eve and Villanelle would be able to go off into the sunset and start a life together, the master assassin was assassinated herself, leaving Eve to scream in despair as the series’ final scene. Yeah, not exactly a fulfilling ending.

9. Sabrina Spellman (Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina)

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cheated death thousands of times, but its final moments felt all too permanent. In a surprisingly morbid series finale, the show ended with Sabrina dying in a bloodletting ritual to save her friends. To make things even more grim, her boyfriend Nick Scratch then drowned himself realizing he couldn’t live without her. The incredibly dismal finale was met with tons of backlash from fans, who felt the sudden last-minute deaths were unnecessarily cruel.

10. Samu Domínguez (Elite)

Elite is another teen drama with a fetish for killing off its main characters, but it was still a huge shock when Samu died in the Season 5 finale. As the show’s protagonist (and one of the only original characters still in the series), fans assumed he’d be safe as the tether to the original cast. But when Season 6 premiered, it was confirmed Samu’s death wasn’t a fake-out, and what made it even weirder was that none of the other characters seemed to address it at all. Samu deserved better.

11. Ashtray (Euphoria)


Of all the difficult moments to watch on Euphoria, Ashtray’s death hit especially hard. He went down fighting, shooting wildly into a police raid while his big bro Fez pleaded with him to turn himself in. The shootout ended in Ashtray’s death, and Fez completely broken.

12. Anya Jenkins (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

There are a lot of truly unforgettable Buffy deaths, but the only one that really should not have happened was Anya’s. Yes, Tara getting shot was devastating, but it was necessary to set up the iconic Dark Willow story arc. And Joyce’s death is infamous, but needed as a turning point for Buffy’s maturity. Anya randomly dying in the final moments of the series, though? That didn’t serve a purpose, other than to make fans suffer.

13. Daenerys Targaryen (Game Of Thrones)

There’s been a lot of criticism around how the final season of Game of Thrones treated Daenerys Targaryen, and for good reason. After eight full years of fans rooting for their dragon queen to take back her kingdom, Dany went power-mad when she finally arrived in Westeros. Even worse, her new relationship with Jon Snow turned sour quickly, and he stabbed her to death to prevent her from taking the Iron Throne. In a better world, Dany would have gotten the ending the deserved, not suddenly tossed aside after so much character building.

14. Jackie Taylor (Yellowjackets)


Because of Yellowjackets’ time-jumping structure, viewers were suspicious team that leader Jackie Taylor may have died in the wilderness from the start. Then the Season 1 finale proved them right. Spurned by the rest of her soccer team, Jackie froze to death sleeping outside. She still had so many unresolved storylines, and it really would have been nice to see present-day version of Jackie, but I guess that just wasn’t meant to be.

15. Marissa Cooper (The O.C.)

Marissa Cooper had been through a lot, which is what made her death feel all the more tragic... and probably avoidable. She was finally on her way out of her tortured home in Newport when a car crash killed her, with the love of her life Ryan carrying her body out of the burning car. The moment was too much for The O.C. fans, who just wanted to see Marissa and Ryan finally get their happy ending.

16. Castiel (Supernatural)

As anyone who has spent even one second on Tumblr knows, the Supernatural fandom does not play when it comes to shipping. That’s what made Castiel’s bizarre demise in Season 15 such a watershed moment. After being cursed to be sent to the afterlife if he ever experienced true happiness, Cas was suddenly whisked away after admitting his love for Dean. The weird scene was bittersweet for shippers, who believed the fan-favorite ship “Destiel” had finally been made canon, only for it to be destroyed by Cas’ death right after.

17. Allison Argent (Teen Wolf)

Teen Wolf is another supernatural drama with a weird relationship with death. Characters die and come back to life quite a bit, which is part of what made Allison’s death so controversial. The hunter died protecting her friends in Season 3, effectively ending the show’s central romance of Allison and Scott — that is, until Teen Wolf: The Movie randomly resurrected her years later. If she was going to come back to life like that, why kill her in the first place?

18. Michael Cordero (Jane The Virgin)

OK, Michael didn’t technically die on Jane the Virgin, but for all intents and purposes, the character did. Fans mourned when Michael suddenly died in Season 3 after he and Jane were finally happily together, but then the ultimate telenovela twist happened: It turned out, JTV villain Sin Rostro had faked Michael’s death, then gave him amnesia, causing him to live out the rest of his life with a completely different personality — that of a rancher named Jason. Jane eventually found Jason, but ultimately, she couldn’t fully restore Michael’s memories. It was just salt in the wound that the show would bring Michael back to life, only for him not to even really be Michael anymore.

19. Kang Sae-byeok (Squid Game)

In a show like Squid Game, mass murder is inevitable. But Sae-byeok’s death as painfully intimate, as Sang-woo stabbed her while Gi-hun was pleading for the guards to help treat her wound. Although the show had heavily alluded to Gi-hun and Sang-woo being the only two remaining players from the start, it would’ve felt so much better to see the crafty and righteous Sae-byeok come out as the winner instead.

20. Jack Pearson (This Is Us)


Everyone knew the Pearson papa was doomed right when This Is Us premiered, but it didn’t have to be that way. When Jack’s death by slow cooker was finally revealed in Season 2, it broke fans’ hearts. The loss of their father became a big part of Kevin, Randall, and Kate’s relationship, but it still would have been great to actually see the man Jack would have grown to become if he’d lived long enough to see his kids as adults.

21. Maya St. Germain (Pretty Little Liars)

Maya’s death is still one of the most confusing decisions Pretty Little Liars ever made, and that’s saying something. Her relationship with Emily was hugely beloved by fans, but then all of a sudden, Maya went missing for several episodes. At the end of Season 2, her body was discovered, having been killed by a random ex who later showed up in Rosewood pretending to be Maya’s cousin. Maya’s story was far from finished, and she deserved to stick around much longer than just two seasons.

22. Poussey Washington (Orange Is The New Black)

As heartbreaking as Poussey’s death on Orange Is the New Black was, it happened for a reason. The beloved character suffocated to death when a guard pinned her during an inmate protest, highlighting police negligence and brutality for the show’s large audience. While it was an important message, it came at the cost of one of the sweetest, most fun-loving OITNB characters. But perhaps that was the point.