Which TV Character Had the Most Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Year -- Walt? Olivia? Don? Tara?

The year gone by was a great one for many of your favorite TV characters — Bones got hitched, Castle popped the question, Parenthood‘s Kristina beat cancer (and ran for mayor!) and The Good Wife branched out on her own (though not without hiccups).

And yet for several familiar faces, it was not a very good year. At all.

RELATED | TVLine’s 2013 in Review, Part 2: Best/Worst New Characters, CGI Moments, Death Scenes and More! Plus: Most Underrated Actor and Actress

As 2013 draws to close, we took a look at those who most assuredly would like to avail themselves of Stewie Griffith’s time machine and take a do-over.

PHOTOS | 2013 in Review, Part 3: Best Couples, Break-Ups, Sex Scenes and More! Plus: The Most Annoying Character and the Best Murder!

Review our picks and then cast your vote for who had it the very, very worst in the poll below.

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86 Comments
  1. Really says:

    Only shows i watch on this gallery are “Nashville” & “The Blacklist”.

    • Stormy says:

      That’s 2 more than I watch. I’ve been missing the boat on all of the photo galleries lately. The only one of these that I’ve seen even one episode of is Sleepy Hollow and I got bored with it pretty quickly.

    • Jules' fan says:

      Nashville is great. Good for you! Plus, Juliette deserves my vote.

  2. Allen says:

    It’s gotta be Tara…I’m still having meat fork flashbacks!

    • Beth says:

      Me too, I am hoping Gemma ends up on this list next year with the summary being, “got strangled by her son who found out she killed his kids’ mom and wife.”

  3. Tran 2.0 says:

    I voted for Sons of Anarchy’s Tara, American Idol’s Mariah Carey and Homeland’s Dana Brody. Dana is still the most annoying character on Homeland since the beginning. She worries too much about her “dad” being turned into a terrorist not to mention that car accident with Finn Walden during Season Two. Still, I couldn’t stand Dana and I’m glad we will see less of her once Season Four begins.

  4. Ames says:

    Seriously Tara was drowned in a sink of dirty dishwater while being STABBED IN THE HEAD WITH A MEAT FORK!!! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

  5. kat says:

    Sean Pierce on Nikita – was turned into an inconsistent whiny jealous character for no reason except the writers stopped caring enough to write him as an actual person, had to fake his death and let the world think he died a murderous traitor after he spent his whole life serving his country, had to then join up permanently with a secret organization he hated, had his girlfriend basically ignore him after that despite being the one who wanted him to stay in Division in the first place, actually died for real, and then his girlfriend mourned him for approximately 5 seconds and no one else cared (Nikita even went so far as to say, to Sean’s girlfriend, that they “all made it out” of Division, like lol they reeeeaaaally stopped caring about Sean or acting like he ever mattered at all).

  6. hello says:

    I would argue Dana made OUR year bad

  7. the girl says:

    Anyone who is still alive has had it a little better than Tara and Walt.

  8. -- says:

    How about Deb Morgan from Dexter? Or even Dexter Morgan?

  9. Kate says:

    Girlfriend got STABBED IN THE HEAD slash drowned by her own mother-in-law after several harrowing years of fearing for her and her childrens’ lives. And her haircut was a wreck this year. How could it be anyone but Tara?

  10. Ally Oop says:

    Before I hit the think to these articles I always quickly compose my own list and then I look to see how many matched up. I had Stephen, Ichabod, Juliet and Elizabeth on mine and out of those I think Stephen had it worst but here are a few other major contenders:
    1) Jack from Revenge – his wife died, his brother died, he found out his wife was a fraud, he found out his friend Emily was a fraud and he lost his boat
    2) Alison from Orphan Black – she found out she was a clone and probably monitored by her husband, she tortured her husband, she murdered her best friend for thinking she was a monitor, her perfect suburban live basically imploded on her
    3) Drew from Degrassi – he failed his senior year and had to repeat, his brother died, and his fiancee broke up with him
    4) Kiera from Continuum – she got sucked into the past and as such was seperated from her son and husband, and she was caught and heald in a cage by season’s end
    5) Derek from Teen Wolf – his girlfriend turned out to be some sort of freaky homicidal monster, his sister died, and a few other things happened to him which are difficult to explain without an essay
    6) Everybody from Revolution – um, I think it’s difficult to say who had a worse year as Miles, Monroe, Charlie, Aaron, Jason, Nora and Rachel all had their share of tragedies before them
    7) Everybody from Vampire Diaries – Tyler, Stephen, Caroline, Bonnie and basically everyone else has a year far from fantastic

    • Nick says:

      TW: what are you talking about? Derek’s sister Cora does not die at all. In fact, at the end of season 3a they leave together for an unspecified location

      • Ally Oop says:

        Really? Wow, my dvr failed to record the last few episodes and my brother gave me a rundown on what went down. In hindsight I should have known better and searched for a few recaps online. Damn little brothers.

    • Becky Ann says:

      Stefan had it rough but Damon. For the love of god Damon had it the worst. He lost his only friend, his brother lost his memories, he had to break up with his girlfriend, he was locked back up by the same people who tortured him in 1953-1958. And he was shot with wooden bullets laced with werewolf venom. (I’ll point out that in literally every single TVD season finale Damon is danger. S1 it was the house fire, S2 it was a werewolf bite, S3 evil Alaric, s4 werewolf posion).

      • Danny says:

        Are you freaking kidding me?! I am so sick of this poor Damon routine. Everyone always overlooking the horrible things he has done, it’s beyond disgusting. I can’t stand it anymore, it’s just ruined the show for me.

    • cas says:

      Pretty sure TVline doesn’t even cover most of these shows. Also really Degrassi? Seriously? What kind of show has high schoolers engaged? Hands down Tara being stabbed in the head with a fork is the winner.

  11. c says:

    I will just throw it out there, even though I know she is far from a fan favorite…Maggie from Newsroom. Like her or not, what she went through in Africa was devastating. And it’s not like she had anything good to come back to when she returned in the U.S.

  12. Dav says:

    Lot of people on this list that got killed. Kind of hard to say you had a worse year than someone who was violently murdered.

  13. Shaun says:

    Everyone in The Walking Dead, particularly Hershel. I mean Olivia is a top notch PR consultant who influences the most powerful people in America (Besides, Mellie, who was raped, and Quinn have it much worse than Olivia). Meanwhile, in The Walking Dead, everyone is experiencing the apocalypse while trying to survive in a world full of zombies and psychopathic governors. Every year The Walking Dead cast has it terribly.

    • Rob says:

      Technically Mellie was raped years ago. Quinn I’d have to agree with on some level but she really does a lot of this bad stuff to herself. Except the whole tooth thing. That was all Huck.

    • Ally Oop says:

      I have zero sympathy for Olivia. When you have an affair with the POTUS, you should know better, especially Olivia who handles scandals herself. That’s why I never got into the show. I tried tried several times unsuccessfully to watch but all I wanted to do was yell at all the characters they’re so pathetic.

  14. Beth says:

    I would also add Casey from CF 1) fiancé killed (he finds her) 2) gets attached to dead best friend’s kids while their mom is in jail she moves them to Florida when she is released 3) Finds some happiness with Dawson only to have a beam fall on him and ends up in a coma while saving a baby during a call.

    • HeatherC says:

      This! Casey should be on this list for sure. Don’t forget that once he figured out that he had feelings for Dawson, he realized he missed his chance and had to watch her date Mills for several months all while working with both of them at the firehouse. That had to suck at least a little bit too. Casey needs some good things to happen for him in the second half of S2! =(

  15. Luis says:

    WTH is up with that wig anyway?

  16. I tend to discount people who die because while their life sucking and then they die can be rough, it’s over for them. People who are still alive can still potentially suffer and have to actually deal with it. Olivia from Scandal, Dana from Homeland, Jamie from Game of Thrones are all top contenders. Surprised Theon from Game of Thrones wasn’t on here since his whole character arc was getting tortured physically and psychologically.

  17. Angela says:

    The team from “Criminal Minds” had a rough year, especially in the first half. They had to deal with the Replicator, and Reid and Rossi’s loved ones were both murdered (in Reid’s case, right smack dab in front of him, no less!).
    Also, nice book reference in the article headline :D.

  18. Maryann says:

    -If Casey had been on the list, he definitely would have gotten my vote.

    -Last year in Season 1 Beauty and the Beast was at the top of my list of favorite shows. This year, the writing was so bad, it felt like the characters had gotten a personality transplant. I can’t feel the same empathy for them at all, and thus don’t see Catherine as belonging on this list. Most annoying: Last year’s incredible chemistry between Cat and Vincent is gone; they wrote Vincent totally out of character as a jerk (one big thing in season 1 was that Catherine knew Vincent would never hurt her); and Catherine shot Vincent to protect her biological father. Sorry, I just can’t sympathize at all when a character and show that I loved totally tanks due to bad writing. So what would I say instead? The SHOW Beauty and the Beast had a really terrible year at the hands of its writers and showrunner.

  19. steven says:

    Silver from 90210 should be on here, she tried to have a baby with Teddy, but his uncle almost had her embryos frozen, so she got a surrogate. But when the surrogate became pregnant, she miscarried, and lastly, in the series finale, she gets cancer.

    • Matt C. says:

      Glad somebody else out there remembered Silver! She was the first person who came to my head when I saw the headline. Out of all the characters on 90210, she got the lousiest ending.

  20. Parker says:

    Jack from Revenge! he lost his brother and his wife! and he found out he was betrayed and lied to by his best friend and his wife!

    • Ally Oop says:

      I’ve really surprised he isn’t in this poll especially considering how big TVLine is on Revenge. Maybe they accidentally left him out. I mean, he lost his wife very tragically after only having been married to her for a day and then he lost his brother. Not to mention he lost his boat and had to send his baby away to relatives to keep it safe. And then he found out his wife was a fraud and Emily was the true Amanda who had been lying to him for years. Poor Jack.

  21. kirads09 says:

    My #1 choice would be Will Graham. However – can do write in – tie Joe Carroll/Ryan Hardy – The Following? They both had it rough throughout their cat and mouse dance.

  22. Riana says:

    Oliver Queen. He lost his friend on the day before his birthday, got dosed with vertigo, failed to save 500 people, nearly had his mother put to death, and almost died which resulted in him revealing his identity against his will to someone that he didn’t like and on top of that, his mom shot him.

  23. arial2 says:

    Re The Blacklist’s Liz: are we REALLY sure her husband was framed? It seems every time we think we know something, the writers make us question it again.

    • Apres Ski says:

      I love this about this show. Just when you thought you had a piece of the puzzle, it turns out not to fit and you have to go back and try again. That James Spader just captures us and turns us around until we’re calling up is down and down is sideways.

      It’s a fun show and Spader makes it a fun ride to watch!

  24. mac says:

    How is Elijah not on this ?

    Episode 1: gets daggered
    Episode 2: still dead, almost gets saved
    Episode 3: still dead
    Episode 4: wakes up, is caged
    Episode 5: still caged, escapes
    Episode 6: nothing bad happens, I admit.
    Episode 7: gets bitten by his own brother
    Episode 8: suffers trough a horrible sickness.

  25. BlacklisterNo.134 says:

    Liz Keen gets my vote. At the very least she had the worst first day at a new job and things have not picked up for her since.

  26. Mike R. says:

    Where are The Starks??? Jaime had it bad, but at least he is still alive and his family remains the most powerful in Westeros.

  27. meresger says:

    What about OUAT’s Rumple? After finding out his grandson would be his undoing, he had to go to Nevreland and spent days wandering around in the jungle being tormented by a doll and a fake version of his girlfriend, was ditched by his son, trapped in a box by his more-evil-than-him dad, tricked into setting free his evil dad who then proceeded to tell him how much he wished he was never born and threw him into a wall, and after the curse he made to find his son was rebooted to destroy his family’s happiness, he was forced to commit murder suicide/patricide in front of them!

  28. Michelle says:

    Hmmmm… Maybe Don will run into his old flame, Rachel Menken.

  29. Douglas from Brazil says:

    I will never recover from Tara’s murder,that scene hits me in a way that I didn’t expect and makes me very mad and sad.

    • abz says:

      Agreed. When I read the headline, I instantly thought of Tara. She had the worst year ever. Her death was probably the worst thing that has happened on that show for me. Its been even harder to get over than Carter on POI.

      • Douglas from Brazil says:

        It was the worst thing to happen to a character in entire history of television.

        • abz says:

          Agreed, I think it affected me more than any other TV deaths (maybe even moreso than any death on Grey’s Anatomy). With most TV deaths I primarily feel sad. With this one I’d say 60% anger, 40% sadness. :(

  30. DL says:

    Not that anyone likes his character, but I’d say Theon Greyjoy belongs on this list over Jaime Lannister. At least Jaime has another hand; but Theon doesn’t have another… well, you know.

    • wordsmith says:

      Agreed. Just commented to the same effect above. Theon definitely earned a place on this list – probably right at the top.

    • angelwings says:

      Still having trouble mustering up sympathy for Tara after she faked a pregnancy and miscarriage to trick her husband in a plan to strip him of his parental rights and then take his two sons, only one of which was hers, and leave town.

      • abz says:

        Regardless of our disagreement on the Tara situation (I personally find your comments in general ridiculous and unsympathetic and you seem to have trouble analysing things in depth and understanding both sides of a situation), she did not deserve to die for trying to make up for her mistakes and protecting her children nor did she deserve to die in such a horrific manner. And by the way, she was Abel’s legal mother and she adopted him and has taken care of him since the day he was born.

        • ES says:

          Tara did not adopt Abel. She was not his legal or biological mother. She was a custodial guardian and a step-mom. Fact.

          • abz says:

            Ok well if that’s true then my bad. I’ll have to rewatch that part again. However, that doesn’t dismiss the fact that she is practically his mother (even if not biologically) and has raised him since day 1.

      • Francine says:

        While I didn’t like Tara’s methods, its obvious that she really was doing it because she had the best intentions for her kids (and yes, Tara may not be the biological mother of Abel but she raised him from the beginning and thats what matters). Even Jax finally came around and realized that truth about Tara and was willing to step up and do the right thing.

      • Beth says:

        Did you watch the scene in the park? You couldn’t have because Jax finally realized where Tara’s heart was. Protecting her children was all that mattered I mean heck they were almost blown up! Tara saved Abel and raised him, so they may not share DNA but she was his mom. But I guess you get what you want because Tara is gone and now the boys will probably be with the murderer Gemma if Jax is in prison.

      • ES says:

        And that was the least of Tara’s crimes. She has a whole history of it from season one onwards she has been no saint. Not as bad as some of the guys, but still pretty bad. Not sympathetic at all by the time she had died she had made her bed many times over. Now if she had died in season 2, then yes, to me she would have still been sympathetic and it would have been really sad and tragic.

  31. B says:

    Bad list.

    How about the iconic Det. Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: SVU.” The finale had her attacked at gunpoint, and the season premiere saw her suffer the torture and humiliation by the series [arguably] most menacing villain, William Lewis. She survived, but she’s still reeling from the brutal attack.

    What’s more, the series’ returns on Jan. 8, and it looks like Liv will again be victimized when her attacker goes on trial.

    I know this website noted the premiere was like “torture porn,” but it was actually tame compared to what real-life rape and assault victims endure.

    Bravo to “SVU,” Mariska Hargitay in an Emmy-caliber performance, and NBC.

  32. John 1138 says:

    I’m surprised NCIS’ Ziva didn’t make the list. She has a complete breakdown questioning her every purpose in life and winds up abandoning everything to search for some different purpose. Were she to be successful dome years out that would be a good year but this year with its total rejection of herself? Quite bad. IMHO.

    • Gabi says:

      I also thought she had an awful year as well. It started with her father’s death and it ends with a complete breakdown. We still do not even know what is her ultimate fate but it is probably not good.

  33. Fernanda says:

    Rachel Berry, please… she lost her Finn and we lost our Cory

  34. Pat says:

    Without a doubt, Person of Interest’s Carter had the worst year. Her death was unexpected and shocking to so many of the fans of this show including myself. I still have not recovered from it.

    • Nick says:

      I stopped watching the show after that episode. Childish? Maybe. But not just her death was unexpected and unwelcome and unnecessary, the whole idea of a romance between her and John, never hinted at before, was just ridiculous and serves the unique purpose of sending John on a killing rampage and in particular of making John even more lonely and heartbroken than he already was.

  35. Sawyer says:

    Hands down Tara from SOA had the worst year. Loved Tara and Maggie Siff should get an Emmy for her performance. I watch some of the other shows.
    People please with the spoiler alerts, was planning on watching Orphan Black, thanks for all the details no need to watch now. She is a clone, I have not even watched an episode, and a guy at work told me about the first episode, I said “oh she must be a clone or a host”.
    Anyway Tara worst year. Oh so sad!

    • meleliot says:

      Re: Orphan Black – you find out early on she’s a clone, so really, that’s not much of a spoiler. Don’t miss it just because of that. It’s really really good show. The acting by Tatiana is truly amazing to watch.

    • Ally Oop says:

      A word of advice. If you don’t want spoilers then it’s a bad idea to click on a “who had the worst year” link cause then you’ll find out what bad things happened to a lot of tv characters. Orphan Black aired months ago so talking about what happened can no longer be considered spoilers

  36. Apres Ski says:

    Person of Interest Carter’s death took my breath away! I was shocked & stunned and I’m still thinking about that show & how that was done. I haven’t been this stunned since NCIS killed off the first female, Sasha Alexander (Caitlin Todd).

  37. kavyn says:

    IMO Mellie and Quinn have it much worse than Olivia on Scandal.

  38. cjeffery7 says:

    i know some people hate Dana (Homeland), but seriously – dad’s a terrorist, boyfriend’s a psycho, dad gets hung – it’s peripherally believable/realistic. at least it’s presented in a more believable way than many other scenarios on this list…

  39. Mel says:

    I don’t understand why American Horror Story’s Kathy Bates’ Madam Delphine LaLaurie didn’t make the list. Buried alive for centuries, then dug up by Jessica Lang’s character, Fiona Good, then she had her head cut off by Angela Bassett’s character, Marie Laveau, who sent her head to Fiona in a cardboard box STILL ALIVE! To me, that’s a pretty bad year.

    • abz says:

      She’s not on the list because she deserved everything that has happened to her. She doesn’t deserve any sympathy.

      • meleliot says:

        I agree, Madam Delphine is a horrible person, but that does not preclude her from being on a list of characters who had a very bad year, especially since she committed her crimes against humanity 150 or so years ago.

  40. Nero theTVFiddler says:

    There are some very worthy, excellent choices here for TV characters who have had a bad year. But, if I look at the full calendar (Jan-Dec), I have to vote for poor Ted Mosby (HIMYM).

    He started off the year in January trying to deal with the news that his best friend [okay Marshall, second best friend] had just gotten engaged to the the love of his life [okay, #2 love of his life, after 'the Mother'].

    He ends to year in December at the B-R wedding weekend, trying his best not to be a ‘third-wheel’, and anxiously awaiting his train ride out of town to Chicago, all the while, trying to keep his Chicago future a secret from his friends.

    Let’s hope 2014 give old Ted a good deal and happy send-off.

  41. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Don’t forget Gillian also became a heroin addict and had to detox. But I wouldn’t pick her because I think she deserved what she got. I actually think Don came to a place of peace in his life this year, so I wouldn’t pick him. I wouldn’t pick Walt since everything that happened to him was a result of his own actions. I love Girls dearly, but I wouldn’t pick Hannah since she has the epitome of first world, white girl problems. Tara and Jamie are good choices. But I’m going to go with Dana because I think nobody else will pick her. Also, she just couldn’t catch a break. Speaking of Homeland, what kind of a sh*t year did Brody have? Got framed for a terrorist attack, had to go on the run, lost his newly found love of his life in the process, lost his kids in the process, got shot, almost died, got addicted to heroin, was held prisoner, got captured by the CIA and was forced to work for them, saw his Marine partner killed in front of him, saw another Marine friend get his legs blown off, and then died in a pretty horrifying manner. Getting hung is one thing, getting slowly strangled to death is another matter entirely. His neck wasn’t even given a chance to break. Deb from Dexter is another good choice here, or anyone from The Walking Dead.

  42. Erika Cruz, Erika M Cruz says:

    My vote hands down is SONS OF ANARCHY= DR. TARA KNOWLES the way she went down first drowning in a sink filled with dirty water and dishes ending with a couple stabs here and their thru out the back of head at the hands of her husband’s mothers hands the grandmother of her to sons pretty much takes the cake………..I my say I know their fictional characters but I absolutely love JAX TELLER <3
    <3

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