SPOILER ALERT This whole article contains spoilers, so read at your own peril.
The last episode of “Game of Thrones” contained one of the most unexpected character deaths in recent T.V. history. Those who have read the books knew exactly what was coming, but most of us who were watching it fresh didn’t expect the death of Ned Stark, at least not so soon. What made the death so surprising was the fact that Ned was portrayed as the main character for the previous eight episodes. Now he’s gone, and we are left wondering what will fill the void. It’s not often that a show has the balls to make such a move, especially in the first few seasons. And when it does happen, it’s usually the result of a unresolvable contract dispute.
As shocking as Ned’s death was, there have been numerous unexpected television deaths through out the years. Here are nine of my personal favorites.
By then end, I guess I should have seen it coming. After years of drug abuse and all the problems that come with it, Tony Soprano was fed up with his nephew. Christopher had become too much of a liability, even if he was family. When the two were involved in a car accident, Tony took the opportunity to suffocate his troubled protégé, tying up a lot of lose ends in the process.
No one expected Lawrence Kutner would ever commit suicide. In a previous episode, he had specifically mentioned that he would never take his own life. So when the character was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the audience was left to wonder why. Well stop wondering. It happened because Kal Penn wanted to go work for Obama.
When your show is called “Six Feet Under,” audiences should probably expect a lot of death. Throw in the setting of a family-run funeral parlor, and it’s all but guaranteed. So writers had to work really hard into lulling viewers into a false sense of security when it came to the death of Nate Fisher. We thought he was out of the woods thanks to a surgery earlier in the series, but his arteriovenous malformation resurfaced without warning, taking him to the grave.
When Dr. Romano lost his arm to a helicopter blade, most viewers thought that his luck probably couldn’t get any worse, especially in relation to helicopters. Well, as evidenced by the video above, most viewers were wrong on both counts. I did not see that one coming, and clearly, neither did Dr. Romano.
At the end of “Dexter: Season 4, Dexter finally catches and kills the elusive “Trinity Killer,” played by John Lithgow. Unfortunately for his wife Rita, he didn’t manage to kill him fast enough. When Dexter returns home, she is lying dead in a bathtub full of her own blood. Now that’s good television.
Cally Tyrol was a sweet, likable character, a good wife, and the mother of a newborn child. Who would want to go and kill her? A heartless fraking toaster, that’s who. Foster ends up shooting poor Cally right out the airlock, but in the end, Foster gets hers.
Charlie’s death wasn’t a complete surprise, given the circumstances. But the writers of the show did a great job of making us think he was out of harms way before lowering the boom, the boom being that asshole Mikhail and a hand grenade.
Of all the deaths on this list, Susan’s is perhaps the most comical, and it’s certainly in the running for most unexpected. When George demands that the couple buy the cheapest envelopes possible for their wedding invitations, Susan agrees. Little did she know that the envelope’s cheap adhesive would be her demise.
Henry Blake’s passing on “M.A.S.H.” is the granddaddy of all shocking T.V. character deaths. While everyone knew actor McLean Stevenson was leaving the show, it was assumed that his character would simply be returning to civilian life. And that seemed to be the case, right up until the very end of the episode when Radar deliverd the terrible news to the unit. Talk about a downer.