Year in Review
Worst TV Deaths 2016

2016 in Review: The 25 Character Deaths That Just About Killed Us

Oh, you were a cruel mistress, 2016. Over the past year, TV fans were dealt blow after blow as some of the small screen’s most beloved characters were — and often abruptly — killed off. (May Sweeps alone claimed 54 lives!)

The 25 included in this year-end round-up were particularly difficult losses that shook us to the core. (We’ll be sending you our therapy bills, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Arrow, to call out but a few.) Others weren’t huge, game-changing casualties like most of our Top 10 picks, but we’re still mourning all the dearly departed we loved and lost.

So grab some tissues and click the gallery to the right (or here for direct access) to review our picks, then hit the comments with any soul-stomping deaths you think we missed.

Coming up soon, as TVLine’s Year in Review marches on: Sexiest Scenes, the Most OMG Plot Twists, Best Couples, Quotes of the Year and lots more!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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80 Comments
  1. spindae2 says:

    Gallery ain’t working yet.
    But Laurel was certainly the one that broke me the most.
    The OINTB &The100 deaths left marks as well.

    • Jennifer says:

      Omigosh LEXAAAAAAAA!!! I still miss Lexa from the 100 so much. I’m so sad, my new year is already ruined. :-( Most awful regrettable death ever for me.

      • Jennifer says:

        Ps, TVLine, Lexa deserved to be closer to the top of the list than no.6
        I don’t know many other characters whose deaths sparked as much upset and internet outrage as hers did. Even for many who didn’t watch ‘The 100’, they knew who Lexa was by the time all was said and done. I wish we could see her on it again someday in some form.

        • Really? says:

          Are you really complaining about other character deaths meaning something to people? Lexa was important, but other characters where important to people too. I’m glad she cracked the top ten.

          • Amber says:

            Lexa deserved to be at more than number 6, I agree with them, I haven’t heard of a lot of these characters except the obvious ones like Glenn and Hodor who definitely deserve their spot but Lexa’s death caused a huge internet storm at the time, as they said even lot of people who didn’t watch the show knew about it. It made BBC news in the UK for crying out loud, more than can be said for a bunch of these characters who were missed but not to the point where people were threatening to commit suicide. She should be way more up there so yes, really.

    • Alex says:

      Yeah tell me about it, she was only in it for a short time and just as she was quickly becoming a fan favorite they pull the plug on her. Just one of the many reasons now why I hate Fear the Walking Dead. And she really deserved to be right close to the top of this list.

  2. Kevin says:

    Hodor’s demise truly deserves to be on the list. Bummed they left out Margaery Tyrell since that wildfire death in the season finale.

  3. Ken says:

    The Originals: Cami’s death was really sad, but I thought Davina’s was a lot more intense and shocking.

  4. Bwhit says:

    Glenn Rhee (I was openly ugly crying)
    Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller makes me love these characters and they either electrocute themselves or blow up…. he makes up for it down the line though ;);))

  5. Lee says:

    It didn’t make the cut but the scene where Aunt Deb (Carol Burnett) died on Hawaii Five-0 still breaks my heart. It was a perfect send off for her character.

  6. Super-Fan says:

    Glenn and Norma (even though I knew both would have to happen) Glenn was jridiculously brutal and Norma just came way sooner than I thought.

  7. TvPeong says:

    Oh “left”enant. I’ll miss you Abbie Mills

  8. CourtTV says:

    I’m clearly behind in OITNB. RIP.

  9. PatriciaLee says:

    Abbie, Root, Ziva, Robin Hood, Henry Allen, Snart, and Mayfair are not dead in my mind. Those were not deaths, just temporary hiatus’s, until needed again. I refuse to lose those characters.

    • Jessie says:

      I agree with you on Snart and Ziva. The thing with those comic book shows is that time loops around so through different universes so he still could come back. And Ziva’s to smart die that stupidly. She faked it.

  10. flowerduh says:

    Poussey’s death hit very hard. Especially how she died and then her last day of freedom in NY! I wish I had a night like that.

  11. ackerlyte says:

    What? No no no. Root is alive. The whole season 5 was one of The Machine’s simulations with a bad outcome. Root is alive. Alive. Root lives. Get it? Lives.

  12. Ron says:

    Poussey’s death was brutal for me. So was Abbie’s–so much so, I honestly have zero interest whatsoever in watching the next (and almost guaranteed last) season of SH. Glenn’s death was only shocking (and that really isn’t the right word–disturbing, maybe) because of the visual of it. But I had almost no reaction to the death itself, and that’s the fault of the show. It’s not because I was familiar with the graphic novels and thus the fate of his character–the show has diverted from the source material plenty of times, so there was no reason to believe they’d follow it with his character. However, the show “killed” Glenn on a few occasions, which, for me 1) allowed me to get the message it was only a matter of time therefore I had plenty of time to prepare for it, and 2) took away an emotional impact, for me, that his death might’ve brought because of how often the writers played games with his character.

  13. i was expecting Father Gilmore to show up, well at least we saw his funeral, but it was a death we had to get thru!

  14. Ro says:

    I would include Dougal MacKenzie’s death (Outlander) in this list… but nothing compares to Will Gardner’s death (The Good Wife).

  15. Ann Marie says:

    John Reese (POI) should be on the list too. That scene had me in tears.

  16. Rise says:

    How can you leave off Tex from The Last Ship?

  17. bakko says:

    Some of the people on this list were hot. Some were rich. But Chad Radwell was hot and rich.

  18. Stacey says:

    Yes to all of these except for Cami. She started off as an interesting character but as soon as they delegated her to only a LI, she became unbearable, glad she’s gone, but no disrespect to LP, that’s on the writers. Where’s Davina though? I really miss her! And Lola from Reign.

  19. Hannah says:

    Why is Lincoln Campbell not here?!

  20. Joey says:

    I would think that individuals that caused the most upset would be closer to the top. The fallout here and on other sites over the deaths of Lexa and Poussey lasted for months. So I’m a bit surprised particularly by Poussey’s low spot on the list.

    • Jenna says:

      No, I’m actually shocked at Lexa’s low spot, only number 6?! I hope they can resurrect her again though, she was so so amazing. We have no intention of letting it go.

  21. Azerty says:

    Of the show I watched Poussey was the most heart breaking. Close to Hodor. The most surprising: Wes and Snart. Btw Snart should be in top 10. The least surprising: Henry Allen and Laurel…could see it miles away. The one I couldn’t car less is Abraham, I don’t miss him at all (btw Glenn is better off the mess that TWD season 7 is right now…). The most satisfying Ramsey Snow. And finally the freaking twis that should have made your list: everyone in that crazy Games of Thrones finale!!!

  22. TJ says:

    I just realized we didn’t finish the latest season of OITNB….. oops!

  23. Edna says:

    Hodor, Abbie, and Mayfair were really sad. Had to reconcile myself to their departure.

  24. Marco Piazzo says:

    Where the Hell is Sarah Lynn? The saddest death in all of Hollywoo and it’s missing?

    • Anna says:

      Seriously. Never thought I’d be devastated by a freaking cartoon. Didn’t even like the character, but damn that was sad.

  25. MissEllys says:

    Um what about the season finale death on POI?

  26. Dominique says:

    WHERE is davina claire on this list?! o.O

  27. Val says:

    Wes dying in HTGWM got to me, he and Annalise are the centre point of the show
    Hook also dying, the way it was done but was still alive. It was still heartbreaking in OUAT.

    I did not feel much for Robin Hood from OUAT. I found him lacking and uninteresting.

  28. ToyCannon says:

    What about Jack Pearson on “This Is Us?”. The scene where Kate took his ashes off the mantle was gut wrenching.

  29. Lera says:

    Robin😭😭😭

  30. Megara says:

    Character deaths are so overdone they don’t even shock me anymore. It’s just like, “Oh, another character I like is dead. How novel.” *changes channel*

    Seriously, TV writers, please get past this trend? There’s enough death in real life. Let us have our escapism in peace. Write excellent storylines and we’ll tune in even without the “ANYONE COULD DIE!” suspense, we promise.

  31. Sandra says:

    No. 1: Richard from Gilmore Girls 😭😭😭

  32. nhogan47 says:

    Henry Allen, Leonard Snart, and Hodor. Tears.

  33. Norma Bates (I’m devastated lol, haven’t been able to watch the finale because of it)
    Abbie Mills (sad, discouraged, dumped ‘Sleepy Hollow’ because of it)
    .
    Henry Allen (didn’t care, he ditched his son the second he got out of jail so whatever)
    Drake Holloway (decent guy but I didn’t care, now Lowell’s death… ouch!)
    Wes Gibbins (VERY happy about it)
    Don’t watch the other shows so I can’t comment.

  34. I think Henry Allen’s death made me cry the most. Cami, Leonard Snart (i loved scenes with him and Sara!) and Robin Hood were huge bummers too! Tyler made me mad because it is the final season and that is what you do with his character??

  35. Claire says:

    Robin Hood is back on Once Upon A Time. Alternate universe or not, it’s the same character. That spot should have gone to someone else.

  36. s says:

    Since he has not been mentioned by anyone else in the comment section, was anyone really that upset when Andrew died on AoS? I mean I was more upset about Lincoln dying than Andrew, cuz I never really liked Andrew until he died… nor when Robin Hood died on OUAT or Laurel on Arrow.

  37. Angela says:

    Abbie and Wes’ deaths stunned me. Norma’s was expected, but it was still no less heartbreaking. I’ll definitely miss all three of them.

  38. A fan of TV says:

    Glenn is #1 for me, Poussey #2

  39. LIzzie says:

    Well, I don’t know who most of these characters are, because I don’t watch those shows, so I only knew of two from actual viewing of the shows. Kisung Wes from HTGAWM was tough, and Mayfair from Blindspot. Another one was Joel from Saving Hope (that was an actual tearjerker) and the fiancee in Game of Silence, same sort of “Nooooooooooooooo” reaction to those characters being killed. Super pissed that Game of Silence is cancelled, hope some other network will pick that one up.

  40. JJ says:

    Karen Kim on Mistresses! A very tragic death!

  41. For me:
    #1 Glenn – yelled at my TV, cussed even
    #2 Hodor – total bummer
    #3 Wes – shock, actually teared up
    #4 Root – knew it was her time, but still!
    Can’t really comment on all the other shows.

  42. N!loofar says:

    Laurel Lance is #4 really?!

  43. sandra says:

    This just reminded me of how awful the Penny Dreadful finale was and I´m sad now,
    But seriously this year was brutal lol

  44. Ally Oop says:

    For me the saddest death was the shocking death of Sister Evangelina on Call the Midwife. 2nd place would go to Tom’s death on X Company. 3rd place would be Davina on The Originals.

  45. What about Reese from Person of Interest? His death was arguably more valiant and crushing than Root’s was. . . even though I was gutted by that too.

  46. Azerty says:

    After watching this week CW comics show, I just realized the dead characters are not that dead…Laurel and Snart popped up on the screen and Henry Allen is recycled as Jay Garrick… not that I don’t want to see those actors/characters on my screen, I don’t mind seeing deceased characters from time to time (Tommy Merlyn for example) but the thing is sometimes on TV shows dead is not definitly dead and that’s too bad because unlike GoT or TWD it feels there is no real impact.

  47. Taylor says:

    oooof the Vanessa Ives slide dug that dagger in all over again

  48. Rex the Wonder Dog says:

    No love for Kelly on “Supergirl”?

  49. S says:

    How could you not include Simon Asher from “Quantico”?!? The epitome of a tragic hero, and I still cry everytime I reach the phone call with him, Raina, and Alex as he drives away. Tate Ellington is a force in this scene!

  50. Glenn Rhee!!!!! And also: Poussey!!!!! I will never forget how tragic those deaths are!!