We know, we know — the year 2020 hasn’t been good to anybody. Far from it. But even the fictional people living inside your TV box were not immune to adversity!
It’s that time in our annual Year in Review extravaganza where we take stock of the TV characters who really got put through the wringer. A few times. And then got folded in half and were squeezed through once again for good measure.
Whatever setback you can dream up, at least one of the TV characters below has probably gone through it. A near-fatal snake bite? Check! A demon spawn? Hell yeah. The subject of a mortifying meme? Sorry ’bout that, Dr. Weber. Mom back from the “dead”? Check! Sister’s kinder doppelganger gets whacked? Bat-check! A fictional case of the very real COVID-19? Sigh, there’s one of those, as well.
Review our list below of 19 TV characters who are happy to put the on-screen events of the year 2020 in their rearview mirror, and then vote for the two (2) you think had it worst. (Last year’s “winner” in the reader poll was Game of Thrones‘ Daenerys, followed by Arrow‘s Oliver and Stranger Things’ Hopper.)
Still ahead in our Year in Review: The Most Heartbreaking Character Deaths, Shocking Reality-TV Moments, the Coolest Scenes and so much more!
Became the target of tabloid gossip when photographed in a misleading embrace with a male cop. Welcomed a kinder version of her sister Beth into her life… only for the doppelganger to get shot dead — and just as Kate was letting the other, now angrier Beth die! Learned that sometime-hookup Reagan was a mole for Magpie. Violated her code by killing Mouse’s father. Barely escaped a Crows firing squad that had been arranged by her dad, as Commander Kane’s disdain for Batwoman escalated. Oh, and her future doesn’t look too bright, either.
Chicago P.D.'s Atwater
Was forced to work a case with a racist cop who had previously profiled him. Was targeted and threatened by the Blue Wall, and almost gave up his job after he told the truth about the racist cop’s death.
Chicago P.D.'s Burgess
Tragically lost her unborn baby after being brutally attacked by a criminal.
The Conners' Darlene
Had to use the money she saved to move out to keep Dan from getting evicted. Forced to take a dead-end job at the Wellman plant in order to make ends meet once her dreams of starting a magazine with Ben were dashed by the pandemic. Thought she was pregnant, then discovered she had instead entered perimenopause.
Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David
Sent ex-wife Cheryl to the hospital with an allergic reaction after sex. Got slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit by his assistant. Ruined a wedding. Spent all season preparing to open a coffee shop, only to watch it burn down because he wouldn’t let a fire truck pass him in traffic. Saw his nemesis Mocha Joe move in right next door and throw loud parties all night in his “spite house.”
The Flash's Iris
Got trapped in a Mirrorverse while investigating a story. Was duped inside said realm by fellow prisoner Eva McCulloch, who dispatched a “mirror” version of Iris into the real world. Watched helplessly as husband Barry interacted with the fake Iris. Also while trapped, her father Joe nearly died in a car crash, and then entered WITSEC without saying goodbye to his daughter. Watched a speed-depleted Barry get pummeled in fights with Mirror Iris and then Eva. Started to go insane inside Mirrorverse, before… vanishing.
The Good Doctor's Morgan
Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Underwent synovectomy on her joints, but was forced to scrub in for a procedure during her recovery, effectively ending her surgical career. Contracted COVID-19 (but survived).
Good Girls' Beth
The criminal she supposedly shot dead was revealed to be alive — and then stole everything in her home (which forced her to relocate her family)… killed her boss… and continued to gaslight and blackmail her.
Grey’s Anatomy's Richard
Started the year working at an inferior hospital, which his often-estranged wife bought just to spite him. Learned via letter that longtime colleague Alex was gone for good. Became the star of humiliating memes after suffering what at first was thought to be a stroke during a presentation at a high-profile conference. Came thisclose to being misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease. Underwent grueling surgery to replace the hip replacement that was poisoning him.
Learned that the usual means don’t always work in exorcisms. Got possessed by a demon, became pregnant, and was forced to give birth to demon spawn against her will. Got thisclose to a meaningful relationship with Daimon before the forces of evil ruined everything. Oh, and one final kicker: Her show is now cancelled.
How to Get Away With Murder's Frank
Brutally beaten and tortured by Xavier Castillo. Learned he was Sam Keating’s son (and the product of incest between Sam and his sister, Hannah). Forced to break up with Bonnie after she revealed his true parentage. Shot to death by one of Governor Birkhead’s security guards.
I May Destroy You's Arabella
Was drugged and raped during a night on the town. Was raped again when Zain secretly removed his condom during intercourse. Was soundly rejected — at gunpoint, no less — by drug-dealer boyfriend Biagio. Struggled, at least at first, to complete her second book.
While already hating Lucifer for returning to Hell without her, she came to learn that her mother Lilith has been alive this whole time, living in Reno — and Lucifer has known, but never told her. After at first being rebuffed by her mother, she returned to try again at amends, only to discover Lilith had died. Struggled all half-season with forming human connections and acquiring anything resembling a soul.
Forced to hunt his own godfather. Nearly died after getting bitten by a snake. Wound up watching aforementioned godfather die.
Her husband was kidnapped and nearly killed by Mexican drug cartel. Reluctantly murdered her brother. Was betrayed by her shrink (who also ended up dead). Her No. 1 employee quit to go work for the competition. Got covered in her frenemy and colleague Helen’s brain matter and blood when she was shot right in the head right in front of her.
Sex Education's Maeve
(Briefly) expelled from school after taking the fall for her drug-selling brother. Confessed her feelings to Otis, only to be told she couldn’t see him anymore. Publicly labeled “the most selfish person I’ve ever met” by a drunk Otis. Found out her estranged mom, Erin, was lying to her about losing her job and using drugs. Was forced to report Erin to the authorities for her drug use, separating Maeve from her half-sister. Unknowingly had a voicemail deleted in which Otis professes his love.
Had to fend off a mutiny when First Class objected to a murder trial’s jury including people from down train. Struggled with the extent to which she tortured Josie, leading to the tailie’s death. Was betrayed and imprisoned by her longtime colleague Ruth, as part of a coup. Learned that not only was Mr. Wilford, the boss she had left for dead, actually alive, but so was her daughter Alexandra. Got thrown from the train’s roof, into the trackside tundra, after it was caught up to and boarded by Mr. Wilford’s Big Alice.
Station 19's Andy
Was beaten out for a promotion to captain by ambitious best friend Maya;. In short order, lost old flame Ryan, contentious colleague Rigo and her beloved father, Pruitt. Learned that her dad had been lying to her all her life and that her “late” mother was alive and well. Found out that Elena had wanted to be a firefighter more than she’d wanted to be a mom. Was filled in about future husband Sullivan’s drug addiction, then shortly after their marriage, separated from him for the sake of his recovery.
Yellowstone's John Dutton
Was forced to resign as Livestock Commissioner and, worse, give the position, however briefly, to ne’er-do-well son Jamie. Had his ranch targeted by developers who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Was plagued anew by old nemesis Wade. Learned that, thanks to Jamie, daughter Beth couldn’t have kids. Had to defend his actions after Jamie found out that he was adopted. As favorite son Kayce was used for target practice and Beth was seemingly blown to smithereens, got shot in a roadside ambush that also claimed the life of his cellphone and a mom with a flat tire.
SO, WHICH OF THE ABOVE HAD
THE VERY WORST YEAR? VOTE HERE!