1. Lexie Grey (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
Why even work at Seattle Grace, a hospital with a doctor mortality rate that should send all prospective employees fleeing in terror? And yet, each season on Grey’s Anatomy doctors learn the hard way that their days are numbered. At the end of Season 8, it was Lexie who succumbed to injuries from a plane crash.
2. Lori Grimes (“The Walking Dead”)
There will always be casualties in the zombie apocalypse, but some are certainly more gruesome than others. Take Lori, for example. She got to endure an anesthesia-free C-section before taking a bullet in the head from her son. At least they shared a touching moment before she died — this is a family show, after all.
3. Renly Baratheon (“Game of Thrones”)
Though not a surprise to those who have read A Song of Ice and Fire, Renly’s death early in Game of Thrones’ second season was a bit jarring. Of course, it didn’t help that he was killed by a malevolent shadow. George R. R. Martin is the king of offing seemingly indispensable characters. Just wait till you get to Season 3…
4. William Walden (“Homeland”)
I’ll say it: The circumstances of Vice President Walden’s death were ridiculous. Everything from Abu Nazir using the veep’s pacemaker against him to Brody’s redundant “I’m killing you” made this scene ridiculous. But even at its most over-the-top, Homeland is memorable, so Walden’s silly demise merits inclusion.
5. Lane Pryce (“Mad Men”)
One of Mad Men’s most underrated characters, Lane’s presence was most felt after his suicide. He now haunts the office — not as a literal ghost, thankfully — and the image of his corpse won’t soon be forgotten. Will Don be able to forgive himself for the role he played? And will we be able to forgive Don?
6. Alaric Saltzman (“The Vampire Diaries”)
Adults don’t last long on The Vampire Diaries: all things considered, Alaric had a good run. But Season 3 wasn’t kind to Elena and Jeremy’s father figure, who got turned into an Original Vampire before turning to dust. And yes, I cried when his ghost appeared to Damon in Season 4’s “Memorial.” I’m a human being.
7. Lily Bell (“Hell on Wheels”)
While Hell on Wheels may not have the critical acclaim of AMC’s Breaking Bad and Mad Men, it did offer up the most devastating death on this list. After all the fighting was over, the Swede quietly strangled Lily, leaving Cullen to carry her lifeless body through the camp’s charred remains.
8. Maria LaGuerta (“Dexter”)
Maria has been with Dexter from the beginning, a perpetual thorn in Dexter’s and Debra’s sides. But she was also sympathetic, and her attempt this season to clear Doakes’ name was a noble one. Unfortunately for Capt. LaGuerta, Deb chose her brother over the law, shooting Maria in the chest.
9. Mike Ehrmantraut (“Breaking Bad”)
As Breaking Bad comes to a close, it’s obvious we’re going to lose a lot of these characters. Few have been more beloved than Mike, the laconic and brutal fixer who started working for Walter and Jesse after Gus’s death. All Mike wanted was to live out the rest of his life quietly, but no, Walt had to go and be a dick.
10. Owen Sleater (“Boardwalk Empire”)
As unlikely as it was that Margaret and Owen would get the happy ending they wanted, I still held out hope. Then Nucky got a late-night delivery and before he even opened the package, I knew what was inside. Sure enough, there was Owen’s corpse. This is why you can’t have nice things in Prohibition-Era Atlantic City.