13 TV Characters Killed Off Because The Writers Hated The Actor

CAUTION: This list contains plot spoilers for various TV series. 

Throughout the history of television, actors, directors, writers, and producers have worked together to create some of the greatest TV characters in entertainment history. Many of those characters have unforgettable moments involving their marriage, success, failure, and sometimes, their untimely ends. 

While the most shocking character demises are usually written into the plot, others have been caused by actors who brought about their own demise. Many of those instances took place when characters were targeted because the show's writers hated the actors. Feuds between writers, show runners, and acting cast are as old as the invention of TV, but the beefs on this list had particularly strong finality. The killing off of characters on the show Grey's Anatomy is probably the most famous case of "TV writer vs. actor" animosity, but there are plenty of other main characters who met their ends because the actor and writers couldn't get along.  

  • Dr. Derek Shepherd In 'Grey's Anatomy'
    Photo: ABC

    Perhaps the most popular heartthrob in Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey’s character found his demise amidst rumors of in-fighting, infidelity, and more. “McDreamy,” as his character was affectionately known as, perished after a car crash in the Season 11 finale. The cause is up for debate, but according to Radar Online, the root of the issue was Dempsey’s cheating on his wife with one of the show’s staffers.

    "It was obvious to everyone Patrick was [sleeping with] her," an insider said. "It got very messy and emotional on set and became a huge liability." This alleged disruption led to showrunner Shonda Rhimes suspending the actor and later writing him off altogether. When The Nightly Show asked Rhimes if she had ever eliminated a character because she didn’t like the actor, the TV icon responded, “Yes. And I’m not naming names.”

  • Charlie Harper In 'Two And A Half Men'
    Photo: Two and a Half Men / CBS

    In what is perhaps one of most public celebrity breakdowns in recent memory, the star that was once the highest paid actor on network television gave in to his tiger blood and "winning" quickly got in the way. Charlie Sheen went after show creator Chuck Lorre in a series of tweets and interviews, even calling his boss a “maggot.” 

    In the Season 9 premier, Sheen’s character was replaced after he was hit by a train. 

  • Southern soul singer Isaac Hayes offered his unmiastakble voice to the cartoon for years, voicing local ladies' man Chef. That changed when Trey Parker and Matt Stone went after Scientology, of which Hayes is a devout member. Hayes disagreed with the writers of the show, saying that they had begun to demonstrate “intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others.”

    The writers of South Park responded by killing Hayes’ character in hilarious fashion; falling off of a bridge, getting eaten by a lion and bear, and finally, crapping his pants.

  • Edie Britt In 'Desperate Housewives'
    Photo: ABC

    Desperate Housewives was loved not only for its on-screen drama, but also for the rumors of things that happened on the set. While the cast was filled with divas, the most problematic was Nicollette Sheridan. According to People, the drama started in 2008, when Sheridan got into an argument with show creator Marc Cherry. She claimed the disagreement turned physical and culminated with him hitting her in the head, while Cherry asserted that the “hit” was nothing more than a tap on the head as a means of demonstrating a comedic moment in a scene.

    Sheridan reportedly didn’t get along with members of the crew or cast (such as Eva Longoria and Felicity Huffman), often showed up late to set, and routinely forgot her lines.

  • Jenny Humphrey In 'Gossip Girl'
    Photo: CW

    The former child starTaylor Momsen regained the spotlight thanks to the wildly popular Gossip Girl. According to Hollywood Life, Momsen was forced out because of her “unreliable and erratic behavior.” A source told the site, “Taylor wasn't on set filming much this season, but when she did show up she wasn't very level-headed. The show's executives didn't trust that she was really giving it her all, so they dismissed her as a regular."

  • Jason Gideon In 'Criminal Minds'
    Photo: CBS

    Beloved for his roles in The Princess Bride and later Homeland, Mandy Patinkin also had a brief, two-season stint on the drama, Criminal Minds. While the actor’s character was not slain in the show, he was undeniably written off the show for poor behavior. During that time, Patinkin complained about being on the show to New York Magazine, saying, "The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place. [...] I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn't think I would get to work in television again."

    Following his departure, the program’s executive producer Ed Bernero released a written statement saying, “Everyone involved in the show has for two years bent over backward to give him ANYTHING he wanted.” Clearly, there was no love lost between the two sides.