8.2k voters

The Most Shocking TV Deaths Of All Time

Updated February 22, 2021 45.8k votes 8.2k voters 331.8k views24 items

List RulesTV deaths that shocked you the most. Vote up the TV deaths that had you screaming, 'What?! Noooooo!' at the screen.

WARNING: SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS! If you are still catching up on some of your favorite current TV shows, stop scrolling now - you may want to avoid this list, since it includes some of TV's recent shocking deaths. Some other good TV lists you may want to check out are the best characters on TV, the best current TV shows, the saddest TV deaths, and lots of other lists about death.

Some of these shocking TV deaths you might have seen coming (after all, on Lost Desmond does warn Charlie he'll die about a thousand times), but they were no less shocking. Others came as a complete surprise, like Dan Conner or Lt. Col. Henry Blake. Some were written in after the deaths of actors like Cory Monteith, John Ritter, and John Spencer. Many characters were brutally murdered on screen (hello, Red Wedding) while other characters passed away off screen, as in the case of Edith Bunker. 

But whose death was the most shocking? If you're all caught up on your favorite shows, check out and vote on this list of the most shocking TV deaths. They happened on some of the best television shows to some of the most beloved (and hated) characters. Deaths on this list cover suicide, murder, illness, and drowning... and all shocked television viewers. 

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    Lt. Col. Henry Blake

    Video: YouTube

    The season three finale of M*A*S*H shocked and angered viewers. Lt. Col. Blake is headed home after being honorably discharged, then his helicopter gets shot down.

    The episode caused a great deal of controversy, and producers received more than 1,000 letters from angry fans.

    Did this shock you?


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  • Video: YouTube

    Sure, King Joffrey promises he would spare Eddard Stark's life if he confesses to treason, but Joffrey is the worst and can't be trusted.

    Despite the confession, Joffrey orders Ser Ilyn Payne to go ahead with the beheading. Ned's demise set the tone for Game of Thrones, a show in which no character is safe.


    Did this shock you?

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  • Photo: ABC

    Dan Conner

    After the Conner family wins the lottery on Roseanne, it is revealed that Dan didn't actually survive his heart attack from a season earlier and perished at Darlene's wedding.

    Roseanne reveals that the series (and those lottery winnings) was a rewriting of her life and that she created the false reality as a coping mechanism.

    Did this shock you?


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  • Photo: ABC / Amazon / Fair Use

    While in production on the second season of 8 Simple Rules, actor John Ritter was taken to the hospital and ultimately perished of an undiagnosed aortic dissection.

    Following his passing, the show went on hiatus, returning two months later. Ritter's demise was written into the series - his character Paul Hennesey collapses, though no exact cause is given.

    Did this shock you?