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No one is ever truly dead on TV

Angelique Anest
fake-out-walking-dead.jpg
1 of 17 Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead

Walking Dead fans everywhere are asking themselves: Is Glenn really dead? While the show's producers have insisted we'll know the answer soon enough, much evidence points to the actor's survival. In that optimistic spirit, we decided to look at all the other times that TV shows have, for better or worse, tried to trick audiences into believing a beloved character was dead. Obvious warning: Spoilers ahead.

2 of 17 HBO

Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Game of Thrones

Like Glenn, this one is still up for debate. At the end of the drama's fifth season, the Night's Watch mutinied against their Lord Commander and each took a turn stabbing him while uttering, "For the Watch." He bled out face-up in the snow, horrifying fans worldwide. Despite numerous ascertions by the cast that Jon Snow is indeed dead, actor Kit Harington's hair, photos of him in Belfast, his stray comment and photos snapped of the set have indicated that everyone's favorite bastard is still sticking around the Seven Kingdoms.

3 of 17 John Fleenor/ABC

​Jake (Scott Foley), Scandal

Jake got into a tussle with Olivia's new beau Russell in Season 4 that ends with him getting stabbed multiple times and left for dead on the OPA conference room table. "Jake is dead!" Quinn cried in a promo for good measure. Foley fanned the flames further by vaguely tweeting, "So, there it is. Thank you Twitter for tonight and all of the Thursday nights. It's such an honor." But before the next episode, in which Huck revives Jake, even airs, leaked photos showed a bandaged Jake being tended to by Liv in her bed. Oops.

4 of 17 20thCentFox/Everett Collection

​Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies), Prison Break

After a testy contract dispute between Callies and producers led to her character being kidnapped and decapitated in Season 3, Prison Breakshocked viewers by bringing Sara back in Season 4. It's certainly one of the more far-fetched resurrections in TV history, considering that we (and Sara's boyfriend Michael) literally saw her severed head in a box - but producers chalked the fake death reveal up to the fact that Michael just hadn't examined the noggin closely enough. Eh, whatever works.

5 of 17 Monty Brinton/CBS

​Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Criminal Minds

When Brewster's episode count was reduced in Season 6, she voiced her desire for Prentiss to be killed off. And so Prentiss' archenemy Ian Doyle impales her in the stomach with a wooden table leg in what was at the time Brewster's last episode. JJ informs the rest of the BAU that she had died and they bury her and everything. But wait, we never saw a body. At the end of the episode, JJ meets up with a very much alive Prentiss in Paris to give her money and new passports. Prentiss' fate was ultimately not that surprising since Brewster still had a year left on her contract, which CBS picked up for Season 7 after Brewster's pilot didn't go.

6 of 17 HBO

​Eric Northman (Alexander Sarsgaard), True Blood

After drinking the blood of Warlow, a fairy-vampire hybrid, Eric was impervious to the sun, which of course meant he had to sunbathe nude in Sweden. Unfortunately, when Warlow was killed, that nullified the ingested sun-proof effects and caused Eric to burn, seemingly meeting the True Death in the Season 6 finale. But not so fast! In Season 7, his progeny Pam tracks him down to find out yay, he's alive but boo, he has the fatal vampire disease Hep-V.

7 of 17 Getty

​Bobby (Patrick Duffy), Dallas

On the original '80s Dallas, the show killed off oil baron Bobby Ewing in a car crash. The following season mainly dealt with the family mourning and moving on from Bobby's death. A year later, when Duffy decided he wanted to return, the show wrote him back by explaining that his death and its fallout had all been elaborate dream by his ex-wife Pam (Victoria Principal), who woke up to see Bobby emerging from the shower.

8 of 17 Danny Feld/ABC

​Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), Revenge

While no one ever truly believed that Victoria perished in the Season 1 cliff-hanger plane crash, practically everyone bought her Season 4 death. After all, who could survive an explosion like this? ABC went as far to have Stowe do postmortem interviews in which she "confirmed" Victoria's death. But apparently Victoria had placed her mother's body in Grayson Mansion and high-tailed out of there before blowing it up. Which means she just had her mom's corpse lying around for moments like this. It's comically absurd even for a show as ridiculous as Revenge was.

9 of 17 Eric McCandless/ABC Family

​Alison (Sasha Piertese), Pretty Little Liars

All in all, the reveal that Alison was buried alive, rescued by Carla Grunwald, decided to fake her own death and became Red Coat to hide from A made total sense within the world of PLL. And more than shock fans, what it did was allow viewers to get to know this girl who was such an important presence within the series despite being allegedly dead. And now that Ali's back, we finally understand what drew all the Liars to her in the first place (even though she really was a huge bitch back in the day).

10 of 17 SCOTT GARFIELD/ABC

​Robert (Rob Lowe), Brothers & Sisters

After weeks of promos promising a "shocking death" this soapy ABC family drama failed to deliver much of anything. Shortly after Robert publicly announces his candidacy for governor of California -- on the same day that Robert and Kitty's adopted son Evan is being born -- Robert has a heart attack and collapses. He is rushed to the hospital, and for about 30 seconds he flatlines...before being revived. The doctors explain through wonky exposition that Robert died for a short period, allowing producers to have their cake and eat it too -- and angering fans with the stupidity of the twist.

11 of 17 Will Hart/NBC

​Cabot (Stephanie March), Law & Order: SVU

Cabot received so many death threats while prosecuting a rapist, Rafael Zapata, in Season 5 that she was eventually forced to drop the charges. It seemed to be over after Zapata was killed in his jail cell, but Cabot gets shot in a drive-by shooting while saying good night to Benson and Stabler and is pronounced dead. Later, at a secret location, the grieving detectives are shocked to see Cabot emerge from a car and announce that she'd be entering the Witness Protection Program. And just like that, we all stopped mourning our favorite SVU ADA.

12 of 17 20thCentFox/Everett Collection

​Mulder (David Duchovny), The X-Files

The X-Files has taken a lot of risks over the years, but nothing may have been more shocking than when Scully identified Mulder's body after an apparent suicide in Season 5. But, as with most things on the Fox drama, Mulder's suicide was all part of an elaborate conspiracy. And as that cover-up unraveled, it leads to The Smoking Man's apparent murder, though that, too, was later revealed to be a fake-out.

13 of 17 Craig Sjodin/ABC

Vaughn (Michael Vartan), Alias

Yeah, yeah, practically everyone faked their death on Alias, but none was as heartbreaking as Vaughn's in the Season 5 premiere. After surviving a massive shootout, he flatlines after picking out a name for his and Sydney's unborn child. Ten long episodes later, Syd and Vaugn shippers rejoiced when Vaughn was revealed to be alive and living in Nepal, where he receives word that Syd has given birth to their daughter. Even more -- Syd and Spy Daddy knew Vaughn was alive all along and had faked his death to protect him from Prophet Five.

14 of 17 Katie Yu/The CW

Crowley (Mark Sheppard), Supernatural

After Castiel seemingly burned Crowley's bones, we were left to believe the King of Hell had finally been smote. But it was later revealed that Castiel had faked Crowley's death as part of a deal to use the souls from Purgatory to win the war in Heaven. And thank God Castiel didn't actually do the deed, since Crowley has proven very useful to the Winchesters in all the years since.

15 of 17 USA Networks/Everett Collection

​Neal (Matt Bomer), White Collar

In the series finale, Neal fakes his death and moves to Paris, leaving his unwitting colleagues in mourning for a year. But his ruse is up after Peter discovers Neal's secret storage unit and realizes that he may have returned to his old lifestyle as an art thief - and possibly has his sights set on the Louvre. But viewers will have to decide for themselves what Peter does with the information - and any reunion between Neal and the other characters exists only in fans' imaginations (for now). But in this case, the open-ended conclusion leaves the perfect setup for a White Collarreboot or movie.

16 of 17 Jonathan Hession/History

Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), Vikings

After falling ill, Ragnar reveals he wants a Christian burial so as to spend the afterlife in Heaven with Athelstan. The Viking king ultimately passes, with all of those closest to him saying their finally goodbyes before bringing his body into Paris. But then, Ragnar emerges from his coffin and begins an epic killing spree and raid within the Parisian walls. Not all of the Vikings are happy with Ragnar's deceit, but damn if that didn't make for one awesome Season 3 finale.

17 of 17 Sci-Fi Channel/Everett Collection

​Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (Katee Sackhoff), Battlestar Galactica

In Season 3, Badass lady pilot Starbuck, with her head filled with talk of fulfilling her destiny, perished during a patrol when she flew her viper into a storm. Sackhoff really sold the death by doing a slew of media interviews as if she truly had left the series. But lo and behold, a few episodes later, Kara somehow reappeared to her bestie/lover/boss Lee (Jamie Bamber) to say that she'd been to Earth and would show them the way. There is still debate, however, that this Starbuck wasn't the real one since a body with her dog tags was found in her charred viper, and at the end of the series, Kara literally disappeared without a trace in front of Lee's eyes... as if by fulfilling her destiny, the angel or Cylon or whatever version of her was no longer needed.