TV audiences cheer when the terrorist or psycho-killer in their favorite shows gets killed off.
The offing of nefarious characters provides closure and brings us viewers a sense of relief in knowing that justice prevailed.
But sometimes, the characters we've grown to love meet their untimely demise, and it can be devastating to witness after viewers have established a connection to the characters they've grown attached to throughout numerous seasons of a beloved show.
Strangers online recalled the times they mourned the loss of a character as if they've personally known them when Redditor Mysticalmadss asked:
"What is the saddest TV show death of all time?"
Warning: spoilers abound.
Long-running series go through the process of "cleaning house," so to speak, a necessary evil in an attempt to keep the show fresh for loyal viewers and in the hopes of attracting new ones.
It's all heartbreaking just the same.
"The transplant patient deaths in Scrubs. The hospital finally got organs (from one donor) for all the people on the transplant list, but they discovered the donor had rabies too late, by that time, all the recipient of the donated organs started dying off and John C. McGinley (who played Dr. Cox) was really emotional in that moment as he tried his damnest to save the transplant patients."
British Historical TV
"Not shown on screen exactly, but the ending of the 4th series of Blackadder where all the shenanigans suddenly come to a stop and nearly all the main cast get sent over the top to die in No Man's Land."
"The rest of the series is the usual Blackadder humour, some of it touching or morbid at times, but it's like it's just at the end when you remember where they are and the insane amount of death, fear and misery surrounding them. A really effective ending."
A Shocking But Understandable Character Exit
"Adriana in the Sopranos, she just loved her boyfriend and shiny things but was doomed and way in over her head from the start."
Narrowing It Down
"Fry's dog in Futurama"
"Hank in Breaking Bad"
"Opie in Sons of Anarchy."
The impact from the death of an individual can be more devastating if they are a parent, child or the elderly.
"Buffy's mom. 'The Body.'"
"I always love the way the scene plays out because when Buffy first comes in she doesn't realize and is just telling her mom why she's upset before she realizes that her mom isn't answering. When she says 'mommy?' after realizing something's not right I break."
Educating Children About Death
"Mr Hooper from Sesame Street. I was in pre-k"
"If you want to ugly cry about Sesame Street like I did then go watch 'Street Gang' on HBO. It's a documentary about the founding of Sesame Street/Children's Television Workshop. It is fascinating."
"Anyway, you get a big discussion of Mr. Hooper's death with the footage from the show which still guts me to this day, because it is such a moving representation of how young children view death."
"But that's not all! You also get Big Bird/Carol Spinney singing 'It's Not Easy Being Green' at Jim Henson's funeral (which also destroys me). And then you get to see some very melancholy interviews with a very aged but still delightful Carol recorded just before his death (which was about a year before this was released)."
The Mother Who Couldn't Take It
"On the M*A*S*H finale, when the woman killed her baby because it wouldn't stop crying."
A Performance For The Ages
"The scene where Hawk actually comes to terms with it is devastating. Alan Alda rips the heart out of everyone watching."
Tragedy In The First Season
"Sybil in Downton Abbey. So sad and pointless."
"Dr. Wilson, House MD... Even though I guess that's technically a presumed death."
Let's take a look at some more honorable mentions.
A Grievous Error
"When Bubbles gave that kid a hot shot on accident on The Wire. It eventually led him to getting his life half way in order but it was absolutely devastating to watch that episode."
"Sun and Jin on Lost."
Twisting The Knife
"Lots of great answers, but I still have to go with Leo McGarry’s death in The West Wing. Dying right before being told they’d won was bad enough, but the fact that it was written in due to John Spencer’s death was just last kick in the nuts."
Troubled Pop Star
"Yawn I wanna be an architect.."
"Andrea in Breaking Bad, because of Jesse's reaction."
The Tenth Doctor
"David Tennant on Dr. Who"
The most devastating TV show death was each major character in Six Feet Under.
Every episode in the brilliant series about our mortality started with a prologue of incidental characters meeting their demise that brings them to Fisher & Sons Funeral Home.
In what is considered to be one of the greatest TV series finales ever, we got to say goodbye to each major character in a series of flash-forwards in an emotional montage.
I ugly cried then, and the poignant manner in which we parted ways with all the memorable characters in the show still haunts me to this day.
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