Beware the Ides of Feelings: My Top TV Deaths

“Beware the Ides of March” was the Roman version of a spoilery TV promo. Caesar knew to tune in at 9/8c with his tissues in hand, but he didn’t know why he’d need them, so he just walked around sad and scared all the time.

In his memory, here’s a list of my favorite TV deaths. To clarify, I’m talking actual, never-coming-back deaths, as opposed to the “technically dead for a while” thing, which 83% of TV characters have been at one time or another. I also limited myself to one death per show, to keep this from being The J.J. Abrams Compendium of Sadness.

Obviously, in the spirit of this Roman holiday, the whole list is a spoiler.

Vincent Nigel-Murray, Bones:

Oh, tiny British squintern, with your endless facts and your glorious accent, we liked having you here. We liked your enthusiasm and your curiosity and your cleverness with ribbons. We liked your tales of Jeopardy-induced debauchery. We liked your loveliness.

But your death led directly to 4:47 am and rampant B&B nakedness. So we’re conflicted. We’re not yelling “hallelujah” or anything, but we might kind of want to.

brennan sexytimes face

Jack Bristow, Alias:

I was so upset about this one for the longest time. Jack is my FAVORITE. Why the heck wasn’t he wearing a vest?! I will never forgive JJ for not putting him in a vest. But I also accept that there is literally no better way for Jack Bristow to die than in a badass blaze of glory, protecting his daughter from the man who caused her so much pain. Jack wins the battle once and for all. He beats death, beats Sloane, and beats Rambaldi, all in one flick of his finger. He’s so sure of himself (and of the dynamite that he apparently just has on him at all times).

His smirk, you guys. HIS SMIRK.

Marvin Eriksen, How I Met Your Mother:

Someone bring Jason Segel his Feelings Emmy, stat. When he calls his dad to share good news, only to see his wife pull up in a taxi with the worst news of his life, I lose it every time. He and Alyson Hannigan (who eats Feelings Emmys for breakfast) knock this scene out of the park, and Segel’s improvised last line—“I’m not ready for this”—is just so absolutely in line with what I think everyone would feel in that situation. Nobody’s ready for this.

Denny Duquette, Grey’s Anatomy:

Shut your mouths, people. Before ghost Denny, there was real Denny, and real Denny’s memory doesn’t deserve to be tainted by ghost Denny’s nonsense. The guy was cute! And sweet! And he and Izzie totally loved each other! Try not to be at least a little bit emotionally ruined at the sight of Izzie Stevens in her prom dress, cradling her new fiancé.

Also, yeah, I watched a couple seasons of Grey’s. Which is saying a lot, because I don’t do blood.

Jenny Calendar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Feel free to judge me harshly for this, because I’m only just now working my way through the series, and I haven’t seen “The Body” yet. I mean, don’t get me wrong—I ALREADY FEEL THINGS about “The Body” and would love to include it on the basis of my preemptive sadness, but that feels kind of like cheating. So for now, we’ll go with Jenny Calendar, whose death is (a) weirdly aesthetically beautiful, framed in the window like that, and (b) 27 kinds of devastating. By killing the woman who could restore his soul, Angel loses the chance to ever REALLY be restored. Not just literally, but figuratively. Because even once he gets it back, we’ll always have to live with that one time when he was unbelievably terrifying. Plus, Giles is just so sad!

jenny calendar

Charlie Pace, LOST:

This one will pretty much haunt me for the rest of my life. I try not to think about Charlie Pace too much, because that way lies debilitating sadness, but “NOT PENNY’S BOAT” just will not let me go. It might as well be written on my own hand, reminding me of the man who marched to his own death to save his friends, thought for one second that he might get to live after all, and then acted quickly to save Desmond’s life—not to mention send him a warning. That’s a whole lot of lives you saved there, Charlie.

Except mine. Mine is ruined forever, because I’ll never forget.

So what TV deaths have ruined you for life?


  1. We are literally TV soul mates. 😉 Jack Bristow’s death ruined me for a long time, but it was the PEFECT way for him to die. Charlie’s death made me want to quit LOST (and actually did make me quit it for a little while). And Denny’s death was one of the most beautifully tragic things I’d seen on TV at that point (and the moment I became obsessed with “Chasing Cars”). I watched Grey’s Anatomy religiously for the first few seasons, and I stand by my belief that the Season 2 finale was some darn good television.

    Other deaths that ruined me? Hmmm…Graham on Once Upon a Time came completely out of nowhere and blindsided me with feels. The image of Emma cradling his lifeless body seconds after kissing him still haunts me. Chuck’s father on Chuck was another death I was completely unprepared for. And my sister and I still end every conversation about Captain Montgomery on Castle with “RIP Roy” and a salute. When he told Beckett, “This is where I stand,” I completely broke down.

    1. We so are; it’s wonderful. And I think I would’ve quit LOST too if not for the fact that “Flashes Before Your Eyes” came along and made me love Desmond/ Penny. They’re the only thing that kept me going 🙂
      Also, I for SERIOUS need to watch the first season of Once. And all of Chuck. And YES, Montgomery! How could I forget?! That’s one of the first times I admitted to myself that I actually really liked Castle. There was a prolonged period of denial, but that scene convinced me.

      1. I cannot wait for you to watch Chuck! I’ve been watching it for almost a year with my sister, and now we’re on the last season but I don’t want it to end! And yes, you definitely need to watch the 1st season of Once. There are so many great episodes, and Graham was so gorgeous. 😉

  2. Vincent Nigel-Murray 😦 I miss him and now that Alphas isn’t airing any more I want him to somehow magically come back even though that would be ridiculous for the show.

    Alyson Hannigan always makes me turn into a big puddle of tears whenever she cries. Both her and Jason Segal did such a good job with that story.

    I didn’t realize you hadn’t seen all of Buffy yet! Jenny’s death is so sad. Giles just breaks my heart.

  3. ~Charlie on Lost wrecked me but oh….Sun and Jin. Dear God of all that is good and holy, that one made me sob like a little baby girl for about three hours.

    ~I might be aging myself, but Henry Blake from MASH. Oh Lord, that one still makes me cry.

    ~Ben (Brendan Fraser) from Scrubs. Come on…Cox alone was too much to bear watching.

    ~Mark Green and Lucy Coe from ER. Still can’t talk about that last one. Romano losing his shit will haunt me always.

    ~Mr. Hooper from Sesame Street. First time someone I loved died. I still has a sad about that one.

    ~Nate from Six Feet Under. *sob*

    1. Sun and Jin were definitely right behind Charlie for me. I cried a lot of tears for them! I always feel so bad for their baby 😦
      And I definitely had Ben on this list at one point! Dr. Cox makes me cry more than anyone else on Scrubs, which is saying something.

  4. I definitely agree about Charlie from LOST and Marshall from HIMYM. Those still get me. 😥

    Another TV death that still haunts me is Lucy on ER played by Kellie Martin. It was just so unexpected and with Carter getting hurt.

    Oh and Papa Winchester from Supernatural. 😦

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