14 Ridiculous Ways Characters Were Written Out Of TV Shows

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Vote up the most implausible plot devices used to get rid of a TV character.

Characters get written off television shows all the time. Sometimes an actor wants to move on to something else; sometimes the writing staff has nothing more for the character to do. Sometimes these moments are unforgettable and emotional, and sometimes they are pretty milquetoast. Every once in a while, however, a character is written off in a way that is so ludicrous, you can't help but laugh at it.

Like when ER's Robert Romano gets crushed by a helicopter a year after, wait for it, getting his arm severed from his body by a different helicopter. Or when Charlie Harper gets crushed by a piano at the end of Two and a Half Men. Or when Rosalind Shays randomly plummets to her death out of nowhere after walking into an empty elevator shaft on L.A. Law. Look, every character exit can't be a winner. And, to be fair, sometimes the implausible exits are way more memorable than the realistic ones.


  • Bo And Luke Duke Become NASCAR Drivers, Replaced By Their Cousins On 'The Dukes of Hazzard'
    Photo: CBS

    Ah, nothing like a high-profile contract dispute to ruin all the behind-the-scenes fun on a television show. If you've ever caught a Season 5 episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, you might've noticed that the traditional handsome-white-guy leads of the show - Tom Wopat and John Schneider - have been weirdly replaced with other handsome white guys who look a lot like them.

    Yes, Bo and Luke Duke, the titular Dukes of Hazzard, were replaced in that season with Coy and Vance Duke. These out-of-town cousins are played by Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer, and the duo was brought on to replace Wopat and Schneider after the famous stars sued Warner Bros. Television in a licensing kerfuffle. The show's original stars were said to be NASCAR drivers now and that was it. They were gone... until they returned just before the end of the season after the dispute was settled. Then, Coy and Vance vanished just as quickly as they had appeared.

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  • Alex Karev Reconciles With His Ex After She Had His Kids Without His Knowledge On 'Grey's Anatomy'
    Photo: ABC

    Grey's Anatomy is undoubtedly no stranger to controversial storylines. Controversy is merely par for the course when you're writing a long-running medical soap opera. And when it was time for Justin Chambers's Alex Karev to leave the show after 16 years as a main cast member, the production team courted controversy yet again.

    Remember when Katherine Heigl left Grey's Anatomy in 2010 surrounded by rampant speculation and whispers of discontent? Well, Heigl's Izzie Stevens was the significant other to Karev, and she straight-up ghosted him for a decade. Oh, and she used his sperm for in vitro fertilization to have two kids without his knowledge. Doesn't sound like a good relationship, does it? Well, Alex leaves his wife, Camilla Luddington's Jo Wilson, to be with his original love interest and their kids. Out of nowhere! That's one way to have a fan base turn on a character.

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  • Rose Fakes Charlie's Death Before A Piano Falls On Him In The Finale Of 'Two and a Half Men'
    Photo: CBS

    Remember "tiger blood" and "winning"? When Charlie Sheen went off the rails in 2011, his public ranting and private salary demands led to his character of Charlie Harper being written off CBS's hit sitcom, Two and a Half Men. It was easy enough for the writers: Charlie died. No more Charlie. Time to move on. The unending, tabloid-ready nature of the saga meant viewers knew the real reason he left, and there was no beating around the bush.

    And then the finale - 2015's "Of Course He's Dead" - aired, and it was a wild one. It turned out that Charlie Harper wasn't dead, but that nosy neighbor Rose had faked his demise and kidnapped him four years ago. He had been in her "dungeon" ever since, eventually escaping just before the series finale. So, the episode goes on, people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Christian Slater show up, and a body double of Sheen is finally seen at the end. As he rings the doorbell to the beach house, a piano falls on his head. Then the camera pulls back to show series creator Chuck Lorre on set as he says "Winning" before also getting crushed by a piano.

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  • Romano Perishes In A Second Helicopter Accident On 'ER'
    Photo: NBC

    During the first episode of ER's ninth season, Dr. Robert Romano ended up losing his arm in an unfortunate accident involving the rotor blade of a helicopter. You know, the kind of wild thing medical soap operas like ER and Grey's Anatomy are known for. Nothing too crazy here.

    Then, in the 10th season, a helicopter ends up falling from the hospital roof and falls on top of Romano as he's walking in the parking lot. It sounds like a sketch Saturday Night Live would make up to laugh at ER, not an actual thing that would happen on the show. Seriously, what are the odds of a non-helicopter pilot being involved in two separate helicopter accidents? They have to be astronomically low, right? Dr. Romano wasn't even in the helicopter for either of the accidents! If the writers didn't kill him off with the second helicopter, they surely would've gotten a third to sever him to bits in the 11th season or something.

    1,206 votes

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  • Jonathan Turner Gets Into A Serious Motorcycle Accident And Is Never Heard From Again On 'Boy Meets World'
    Photo: ABC

    Boy Meets World was a sitcom that was both beholden to its central characters and unafraid of drastically changing things up every once in a while. Cory Matthews, his brother Eric, their parents, Mr. Feeny, and Shawn Hunter are all vital parts of the show throughout all seven seasons, but every other character's status changes like the wind. Minkus is basically gone after the first season and Topanga is elevated to the main cast. Season 5 gives Shawn a brother out of nowhere. And, for three seasons, Jonathan Turner was an important character in the mix of things.

    Until he suffers a serious motorcycle accident and ends up in the emergency room. Shawn sits by his side, pleading with God not to take his friend and then-guardian away from him like everyone else. It's a touching moment. But that would be the last fans would see of Turner on the original show. Mr. Turner ended up being a recurring character on Girl Meets World years later. 

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    Troy Has To Sail Around The World To Get His Inheritance On 'Community'

    Troy Has To Sail Around The World To Get His Inheritance On 'Community'
    Photo: NBC

    Donald Glover had probably gotten too big for Community by the time he left in 2014, but at least he left amicably unlike his embattled co-star, Chevy Chase. The entertainment multi-hyphenate may not have been "This Is America" and The Lion King big yet, but he was well on his way to being an A-lister. Funnily enough, the show's in-continuity reasoning for both Glover and Chase leaving is connected: After Chase's Pierce Hawthorne passes and leaves over $14 million to Glover's Troy Barnes, the young man has to sail around the world to lay his fingers on the money.

    In the Season 5 episode "Geothermal Escapism," Troy teams up with LeVar Burton (it's a long story) to go sailing around the world as part of Pierce's last will and testament. Later on in the season, a news report claims the pair have been abducted by pirates, and that's the last viewers ever heard of Troy Barnes... you know, until the eventual Community movie ends up happening. 

    900 votes