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How Stars Of Hit TV Shows Reacted When They Learned Their Characters Were Dying

Updated June 14, 2019 14.1k views15 items

Few actors are actually angry about being killed off of popular TV shows - apparently it’s pretty tough to be forced to play the same character for more than a couple years, all while earning just a few million measly dollars. And while we still feel sorry for those who secretly wanted out of the limelight, we feel even worse for actors who mourned the painful, reluctant death right alongside their characters.

The bottom line is that all actors react to their character's dying differently, and there are always a variety of plot points that lead to a character being killed off in the first place. It’s not always about behind-the-scenes drama (although sometimes it is, and that’s fun). Honestly, the most common (and mundane) reason a character is offed is due to scheduling conflicts… Humph.

The most fascinating, though, are the surprising TV show deaths that catch even the actors off guard. A couple of those can be found here alongside one of the saddest TV show deaths of all time, so see if you can spot it, but beware - *HUGE SPOILER ALERT* here for any one who hasn't finished binge-watching any of these series yet.

  • Photo: CMT

    Shortly after Nashville moved from ABC to CMT as Season 5 began, Connie Britton's character Rayna James was taken out. She survived a run-in with a stalker, but died shortly after sustaining injuries in a car crash, which must have really infuriated fans. But Britton seemed okay with it

    "No, money was not a factor. I think [the length of time] had something to do with it. As actors, we always want to keep challenging ourselves. Let me just say there were a lot of reasons. Some of them were personal and some were creative, and I’m probably not going to get much more detailed than that."

    First of all, yeah, money was probably a factor. Secondly, it's not a coincidence that this happened shortly after the show moved from Network Television to a Premium Cable channel (not to suggest there's anything "premium" about CMT). To be fair, she was probably tired of playing the same character for four years, but we're not so naive as to believe that closet-Mean Girl Hayden Panettiere had nothing to do with this, are we?

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  • Photo: The CW

    In an interview with TV Guide, Cassidy accepted the death of her character on Arrow with grace - and the knowledge that she'd be coming back as a different character. Cassidy approved of the Black Canary's death by Damien Darhk's hand because of the shock value it created and the natural conclusion in lent to her character's arc. Her past romance with Oliver was always somewhat problematic in light of his ongoing love affair with Felicity, so she kind of had to be removed from the picture. Plus, it did generate real and raw motivations for the other characters. 

    And she knew she'd be coming back as her Earth-2 Doppelganger, so she still had a job prospect. 

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  • Photo: CBS

    When Will Gardner was killed in Season 5 of The Good Wife, not only was it a shocking death, it was one of the most shocking TV deaths, period. Gardner was trying to talk down an unstable client in the courtroom, but the wackadoodle got his hands on a cop's unsecured weapon and, Kablewy! One to the neck, girl you know he wrecked, to paraphrase Weezy.

    Four seasons seems to be kind of the magic number, as Josh Charles admitted to being ready to move on. He was scheduled to direct an episode later that season anyway, as well as in the following year, so he wasn't losing out on too much. It must be hard to get paid a butt-load of money to pretend to be the same person for more than four years, even though the rest of us are stuck being our loathsome-selves until death. Find your sympathy elsewhere, Josh!

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  • Photo: Netflix

    When David Fincher asked Kate Mara to play Zoe Barnes, he told her she would die in Season 2, which was less than prescient given that the British version of House of Cards had already telegraphed the character's death. She described it as a "ballsy move" to kill off a prominent character in the very first episode of Season 2 - and by being thrown in front of a train, no less. Yeesh!

    Fortunately for Mara, she had the filming of Fantastic Four awaiting her on the horizon, a movie that was received with glowing critical accla-- what? One of the worst movies of all time? Oh. Double-yeesh.

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