Main Character Deaths in TV Shows We Never Saw Coming

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Main Character Deaths in TV Shows We Never Saw Coming

Living vicariously through the lives of television characters has become a fixture of our culture. Fans have watched as these beloved characters have grown, experienced new and wonderful adventures, and ultimately reached their conclusions. Life gets complicated in TV shows, though, and oftentimes that includes the death of their main characters. While character death isn’t unheard of, there have been moments on television when the death of a main character was completely unexpected.

Below is a list of the most shocking main character deaths in television shows that we never saw coming, and a brief explanation of why they took us by surprise and how they affected the show.

Will Gardner on The Good Wife

The death of Will Gardner on The Good Wife was a stunning and heartbreaking event. Although Will was a major character and his death happened off-screen, his presence in the story never faded. From the first moment Will was introduced, viewers knew his death would mean the end of an era. His death was a huge shock because his character was such a significant part of the show, and his chemistry with the other characters was incredibly strong.

The character of Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies), who was Will’s love interest throughout the course of the show, wrestled with the idea of him being gone for the remainder of the show. Will Gardner’s death had a powerful impact on Alicia, and gave her a new lease on life, which pushed her to make the changes for the better.

John Locke on Lost

Before the finale of Lost, no one could have predicted the fate of John Locke (played by Terry O’Quinn). After years of mystery and strange twists, John Locke was killed in one of the most shocking deaths of TV history. Not only was this death unexpected, but also his passing had far-reaching implications – both in terms of the show’s narrative as well as its intention.

Upon his death, it became clear that the point of the show was not to answer questions, but to make viewers question everything. Through this unexpected death, Lost was able to build on its theme of faith vs. fate and spirituality vs. science, creating a contemplative and thought-provoking television experience.

Rita Morgan on Dexter

Rita Morgan (played by Julie Benz) was one of the most beloved characters on Dexter, the serial killer TV show. Dexter had spent the majority of the series attempting to fight his deadly impulses and redeem himself through Rita. Despite his dedication to her, Dexter was never able to outrun his dark urges – and Rita was killed in an unexpected twist of fate.

This shocking death changed the dynamic of the entire show. No longer was Dexter seeking redemption; instead, he was consumed by an overwhelming desire for revenge. It was through Rita’s death that Dexter’s character development really advanced, allowing him to make difficult choices and challenge himself to move forward, no matter how much he had to sacrifice.

Gus Fring on Breaking Bad

Gus Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito) had built a powerful criminal empire in Breaking Bad, yet his death was still a total shock. After cleverly outmaneuvering and outsmarting the protagonist Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) in the first part of Season 4, it was an astonishing surprise when Gus was eventually killed.

Gus Fring’s death opened up a completely new world for the story to explore; after Gus’s demise, the show was no longer about Walter’s battle with a menacing enemy, but his battle to continue living a life of crime in a world without Gus. His death thrust the show into a character-driven narrative that powered it through to the finale.

Tara Thornton on True Blood

Throughout the course of True Blood, the enjoyable character of Tara Thornton (played by Rutina Wesley) had a powerful journey; however, it was ultimately cut short in a shocking manner. Although her death was done with great respect and poignancy, her departure was unexpected.

Tara was a character who had grown alongside the show, evolving and changing just as the viewers had. Her death was an emotional climax that changed the course of the story. As the main protagonist, Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin) discovered more and more about her own power, the mythology of the show, and the supernatural world she inhabited, Tara’s demise marked an important turning point.

Omar Little on The Wire

The death of Omar Little (played by Michael K. Williams) on The Wire was unexpected, yet completely selfless and in tune with the character. Omar’s character had a large impact on all of the other main characters due, in part, to the fact that he was one of the few that maintained his morals throughout the entire course of the show.

The death of Omar Little was a devastating moment. Although his death wasn’t overly dramatic or sudden, it was an incredibly significant event. Omar left an indelible mark on The Wire and his death not only allowed the show to tell an important story, but also to examine the lengths people are willing to go to in order to protect their own.

Television shows often shock and surprise viewers, and main character deaths are no exception. Unexpected deaths can bring emotion, suspense, and excitement to viewers, as well as completely change the course of the story.

The main character deaths on this list were all unexpected to some degree – from the shock of Will Gardner’s death on The Good Wife to the power of John Locke’s death on Lost. While none of these deaths were expected by fans, these moments created powerful endings for these characters. Moreover, despite their absence, each of these characters have left a lasting impression on their respective shows – and us as viewers.

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