Ah television. You make us laugh, cry, love, hate and wonder why people still watch The Big Bang Theory. The quality of television is so high right now that every episode can take you through a plethora (fancy word) of emotions. This article is taking a look at the ones no-one wants. The heart breakers. Those moments when a character you feel an emotional bond with, who you care about, is cruelly taken away. Some you see coming, some you don’t, all leave you devastated. For this i will be focusing on the shows of my lifetime and mostly American dramas. Just because those are mostly the best ones. God bless H.B.O.
Even though it is the title, a huge SPOILER ALERT needs to be given. It is characters dying after all. Also, only one per show and if I miss anything I apologise but I am only human. So here we go, and in no particular order.
Game of Thrones: Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark
This is possibly one of the most unexpected ones on the list. I remember watching the scene and thinking “…is someone gonna save him? he’s the main character, right?!” All the way up until the end credits. It was insane for a show to do this, even though Sean Bean dies in everything. The biggest actor in the show to be killed off in the first season was a massive surprise, particularly heart breaking too due to Ned being one of the most noble and relatable characters. The show does have some other shocking deaths (far too many to list) but this one is the biggest for me as it is the standard bearer for the rest of the show. No one is safe. The night is dark and full of folk dying.
The Wire: Omar Little
If Ned Stark wasn’t the most surprising then Omar Little was. The Robin Hood (ugh!) of the show, a fearless stick-up man who targeted the drug dealers of Baltimore. So feared is he that when you hear the shout of ‘Omar’s comin” then you know it’s time to run. His moral compass, teamed with him being openly homosexual in a not so tolerant world and a phenomenal performance by Michael K. Williams, made Omar a fans favourite from the first time he appears on screen. Which is why his sudden, and unceremonious death was so hard to take. A scene that seemed to be just a regular throw-away scene, so much so that my brother had left the room to make a sandwich. Omar goes into a corner shop and asks for some cigarette’s. He see’s a small child walk in the shop, all very clandestine (fancy word 2) so far. Then bang, Omar is shot in the head, no warning, no threats, nothing. The child shot him in the head and although there is some subtle foreshadowing in an earlier season, you never see it coming. I nearly hit the ceiling when it happened and my brother will always regret that sandwich.
Sons of Anarchy: Harry ‘Opie’ Winston
Now, I will begin this by saying that i have never watched an episode of Sons of Anarchy. I know, I’m sorry. I also know this means I probably shouldn’t be including Opie in this list but when asking several different people if Sons had any shocking deaths, I was told over and over again that Opie Winston, a character who was fiercely loyal to SAMCRO and his best friend Jax, was a fan favourite. His brutal death, to save his ‘brothers’ lives in prison, is one that still carries emotional weight for almost every fan of the series. He also had a wonderful beard.
The Sopranos: Robert ‘Bobby Bacala’ Baccalieri, Jr.
For the majority of The Sopranos run, Bobby was no-one’s favourite character. His shy and quiet demeanour, coupled with him being a carer for former boss Junior Soprano, meant that he wasn’t anyone you’d cared about having any screen time whatsoever. His rise through the ranks all the way up to under Tony Soprano himself is worth the watch. His love for his kids and his rather symbolic fist fight with Tony is some great writing and made him one of my favourite characters in the final few season. Which made his death all the more sadder. This big, tough Mafioso gangster was participating in a very innocent activity at the time, buying model trains. He looked so happy and content looking through all the different models in the store when he was viciously gunned down by hitmen. His comments about what he thinks death is like foreshadowed the series finale brilliantly too.
Oz: Augustus Hill
This one came out of nowhere. Narrativly speaking, Oz is unique and while bouncing from story to story, throws a lot at you every episode. Which does mean that characters die quick and fast and without time for you to really think about it. Which made the death of wheelchair bound Augustus all the more shocking. Not only was his life in prison very interesting and great television, he also served as the stories narrator. Establishing themes at the start of every episode and showing him discussing it throughout made him the most important character in the show. His death was powerful too, saving the life of his mentor and one time gang leader was one that shook me to my very core (whatever that means).
His final words of ‘i can feel my legs’ had me weeping like a jilted lover, long after the episode finished.
Boardwalk Empire: Richard Harrow
This was the most heart breaking one for me personally. Richard Harrow was a disfigured war veteran, bodyguard, criminal and friend to main character Jimmy Darmody. He was also a extremely talented sniper and he has immense ability when it comes to killing. He kills a lot of people. A lot. This, teamed with his emotional depth through relationships and dealing with his facial disfigurement made him a fan favourite. A true instrument of death, he has some of the most standout moments in the series, taking down a mansion full of mobsters being a particular favourite. His death though was tough to take. After a botched assassination attempt, where he is shot himself, you see Richard on a train, looking out the window on his way to the country to see all the people he loves. As he arrives at the house, you genuinely feel joy and relief that he survived but as the woman he loves walks towards him, you see his face, normal and free from disfigurement. Then the camera shows the reality: Richard is dead and alone beneath the Atlantic city boardwalk. I shed more than a few tears watching this and even thinking back has got me emotional. Move on. It’s just allergies.
There we go, my most heart breaking deaths. There is a fair few shows not in the list (Cutner from House M.D, Heisenberg from Breaking Bad etc.) but these are the standout ones in my opinion and i can’t spending all my time going through them all. Crying whilst watching them is one thing, crying whilst remembering them back is just silly. I know several people will disagree and i hope to hear your thoughts on who would make your lists. Just remember, when it comes to television shows, everyone has their own likes and opinions and none of them are wrong (unless they like The Big Bang Theory or the ending to How I Met Your Mother that is).