A TV showrunner can anticipate or plan for any number of things, such as a cast member walking away from a role that he/she has long inhabited. But the sudden, tragic death of a key player is something one never can, or wants to, expect.
In the past several months alone, FXX’s Archer, HBO Max’s Sex and the City revival, Prime Video’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and BBC One’s Peaky Blinders (which eventually streams Stateside on Netflix) each have aired episodes that accounted for the absence that had been created by a cast member’s real-life passing.
In such an unfortunate scenario, TV series over the years have opted for one of a handful of approaches, including sending the character “out of town,” having him/her die off-screen, or even trying the (very) rare recast.
TVLine has rounded up more than 40 instances from over the decades and up through to Peaky Blinders‘ own tough call, which revealed in its Season 6 premiere across the pond. The list is extensive but not intended to be comprehensive (nor does it include actors whose characters weren’t on the show at the time of their passing), so by all means chime in with any other sad send-offs that struck a chord with you.
Review the round-up below to revisit how more than 40 shows worked through (or sometimes simply braced for) the loss of a cast member.