What TV Deaths Most Traumatized You?

I tend to take it hard when my favorite characters get killed off, especially when it happens in a sudden or crazy fashion.

NOTE: SPOILERS BELOW. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. Consider yourself warned.

I'm a TV addict. There, I said it. That goddammned talking screen is one of my best friends -- one of the more frequent tools I rely on to numb the day-to-day drudgery of existence. So it makes sense that I tend to take it hard when my favorite characters get killed off, especially when it happens in a sudden or crazy fashion.

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Zoe Barnes on "House of Cards"


So I read this story about TV's most shocking deaths with … not glee, but interest, because I just finished watching the second season of "House of Cards" and HOLY HELL ZOE BARNES! So quick! So unexpected! So ... evil!

The article (which ranked Billy Thomas' death on "Ally McBeal" as the No.1 Most Shocking -- "Ally McBeal"? I know I watched it, but I remember nothing except the heinous dancing baby) got me thinking about other TV deaths that rattled me, and why. Here are a few.

Sergeant Nicholas Brody, "Homeland"
Sergeant Brody's death was a long time coming, really, but that didn't make it any less difficult. Carrie Mathison's on-again, off-again terrorist love walked a fine line throughout all three seasons of the fast-paced show; there were close calls, for sure. But his public hanging death in the Season 3 finale still felt unsettled -- is he really dead? Fans have been debating that question since the episode aired, and some speculate that he'll be back, though the show's exec producer has hedged it.

Dan Connor, "Roseanne"
Remember when Dan Connor (Roseanne's husband) turned up dead on "Roseanne" in Season Nine? No? I know, it was a long time ago, but think hard. It happened on the series finale, when we discovered that not only did the down-on-their-luck Connor family NOT win the crazy $108 million lottery like they'd thought, but that Dan died of a heart attack at daughter Darlene's wedding. All that blissed-out lottery nonsense was just a tragic dream. Lame.

George's financée, "Seinfeld"
Sure, she was a minor player in the overall "Seinfeld" scheme of things. But that didn't make Susan Biddle Ross' sudden demise in the Season 7 finale any less shocking. Not for me! I remember being perturbed by her demise -- they seemed so CASUAL about it! In an extra dose of crazy, poor Susan died from licking toxic glue. On her wedding invitations. The very invitations that George had so helpfully ordered for their big day. Ah, dark moments.

Joyce Summers (aka Buffy's mom), "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
Aghghghghgh I miss "Buffy." I miss it so much. I'll never stop missing it. And I was traumatized when our caustic blond heroine's sweet mama, Joyce Summers, passed away in 2001. The striking thing about her death wasn't just that it happened -- it was the way she died. She wasn't gored by a foul, fanged demon-monster; her death wasn't big and messy like so many of the other death scenes on the show. No, Joyce died of a brain aneurysm -- soon after beating a brain tumor, no less. (Joss Whedon has said that he killed Joyce off in this particular fashion because he'd lost his own mother to an aneurysm. Sad.)

Adriana La Cerva,"The Sopranos"

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Adriana and Christopher.


I wasn't die-hard obsessed with "The Sopranos" like some fans, but I watched it religiously, despite not understanding WTF was going on half the time (confession: I'm embarrassingly slow when it comes to any and all Mafia-related plot lines -- half the things TV mobsters say end up soaring over my head). And Adriana's death kind of gutted me in its implications. In case you don't remember, Adriana's death was ordered by Tony himself when her fiance, Christopher Moltisanti (did you immediately hear her say "Christ-a-phah" as soon as you read that?), learned Adriana had become an FBI mole and subsequently ratted her out. Her shooting death at the hands of Silvio Dante was relatively quick, but it spoke volumes about her rocky relationship with the man she loved and where his loyalties were truly aligned. Hint: not with his fiancee.

What TV deaths bothered you most?

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