Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

See some of the most surprising exits for our favorite TV characters

Shaun Harrison
murder-greys1.jpg
1 of 10 ABC

Reed, Grey's Anatomy

Having a crazed gunman storm into a hospital and shoot a regular character right between the eyes certainly is a breathtaking way for a TV show to grab your attention. Reed's death served two purposes: It set up two hours of white-knuckle television, and it allowed the writers to get rid of a bunch of characters whose usefulness was waning. (R.I.P., Mercy Westers!)
2 of 10 AMC

Gale, Breaking Bad

Fine, fine. We knew through most of the Season 3 finale that Walt and Jesse planned to kill Gale to maintain some leverage with Gus. But the plan was for Walt to pull the trigger, something he became more and more comfortable doing in Season 3. Instead Walt is detained, and Jesse is forced to step up. Say what you will, but it was a shock when, through teary eyes, Jesse finally takes a life to save his own.
3 of 10 HBO

Adriana La Cerva, The Sopranos

Just as it appeared that the feds had persuaded Ade to flip, her shocking demise came at the hands of "nice" wise guy Silvio. She crawled off-camera through autumn leaves, begging for her life, and then two gunshots echoed, silencing one of the show's vivid female portrayals.
4 of 10 FX

Terry Crowley, The Shield

Before you get all "What about Lem and the hand grenade?" let us explain. Yes, Shane blowing his partner to bits was an amazing twist, but it came five seasons into one of the riskiest and most brutal TV series we've seen. We practically expected it. On the other hand, Vic Mackey popping a fellow cop to cover up his unit's misdeeds in the series' pilot caught us off guard — and provided a taste of things to come.
5 of 10 Fox

Teri Bauer, 24

When you're in a high-profile national security job like Jack Bauer's, the wife and kids are usually among the first to be targeted for leverage. Even so, Teri sneaked and killed and survived her way through Day One almost better than Jack. Until CTU mole Nina kidnapped her and shot her in the stomach. Can we get a Jack Bauer "Damn it!" on that one?
6 of 10 CBS

Caitlin Todd, NCIS

Those writers at NCIS know how to mess with an audience. Knowing that a death had been promised in the Season 2 finale, viewers held their breath as Sasha Alexander's Caitlin Todd dove in front of Gibbs to take a bullet for him. Then, they exhaled as she stood up and revealed that she was wearing a bulletproof vest. But then a sniper shot her in the head. That's just cold.
7 of 10 HBO

Omar Little, The Wire

When you make a career out of robbing drug dealers, your life expectancy shrinks exponentially. Even so, it was a complete gut punch to see Baltimore's bravest stick-up boy taken out while buying his cigarettes. Even sadder, Omar's murderer was a pre-teen hopper named Kenard. As Omar himself might say, "It's all in the game."
8 of 10 ABC

John Locke, Lost

We had known since the Season 4 finale that John Locke was in that coffin in L.A. We had no idea how he ended up there. Distraught that he was unable to persuade the Oceanic Six to come back to the Island, Locke planned to hang himself. Ben, who previously tried to kill Locke, talked him down from the noose, only to then strangle him once he learned of Locke's involvement with Eloise Hawking. Guess destiny isn't the only fickle one, eh, Ben?
9 of 10 ABC

Lucy Knight, ER

The only thing more haunting than Lucy's sudden and unexpected stabbing at the hands of a schizophrenic patient was the blood-soaked reveal when Carter walked into the room. Sadly, Lucy made it through surgery to treat her tissue damage, but still died because of a pulmonary embolism and other complications.
10 of 10 Showtime

Rita Morgan, Dexter

It was the most talked about season finale of 2009. After dispatching Trinity, his most fearsome foe ever, Dexter returns home to grab his bags before heading to Orlando to meet his wife. Instead, he finds her lying in a bathtub full of her own blood — Trinity's last victim. While we're still not sure the reward in Season 5 was a great as it should have been, we can do nothing but applaud the writers for being willing to take the risk.