Anyone who watches telenovelas knows to expect a gruesome, unexpected death (or two or three.) But, some of the most shocking television deaths of all time haven't been on novelas, but on American TV! Just last week on Grey's Anatomy, Dr. McDreamy — played Patrick Dempsey — died in a disturbing car accident after 11 seasons as the male lead.
Below, see more of the most shocking television deaths of all time:
1. TV Deaths: Patrick Dempsey Grey's Anatomy
Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) on Grey's Anatomy:
After eleven seasons as the lead character of Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Derek Shepherd — better known as McDreamy — was struck by a semi after saving four people from the wreckage of another car accident. He is taken to the hospital, where a series of incompetent doctors fail to save him. He's declared brain dead; his wife, Meredith Grey, takes him off life-support as "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol plays. Talk about depressing.
2. TV Deaths: Lauren Velez
María LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) on Dexter:
Sure, the writing was on the wall… As the drama on the seventh season of Dexter unfolded, Lauren Velez’s character Captain María LaGuerta became increasingly suspicious of the Showtime series’ main character, serial killer Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall). But the death of Velez’s character in last season’s finale still managed to leave us completely speechless! Mainly because it was Dexter’s sister Debra who would ultimately kill LaGuerta with a single gunshot to the chest.
3. TV Deaths: Ned Stark Game Of Thronse
Ned Stark (Sean Bean) on Game Of Thrones:
Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin proved he meant business when he killed the main character, Ned Stark, in the first book. HBO remained true to the novels; in the dramatic episode, King Joffrey orders that Ned Stark be beheaded — as his daughters, Arya and Sansa, look on.
4. TV Deaths: Kevin Alejandro Southland
Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) on Southland:
Kevin Alejandro’s death on Southland hit us hard… literally. During the show’s third season, the Mexican American actor’s character, Detective Nate Moretta, and his partner Detective Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) stop their car in front a local gang party. But as the two start walking away after a seemingly calm conversation, Alejandro’s character gets fatally whacked in the back of the head. “Sometimes there’s no warning as to when something like that might happen and I think our writers captured that really well,” Alejandro told TVLine.com. Ain’t that the truth!
5. TV Deaths: Kate Mara House Of Cards
Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) on House Of Cards:
The second season of House On Cards began on an incredibly shocking note. In the premiere episode, Zoe meets Frank Underwood (aka Kevin Spacey) underground in the subway station. After a tense conversation, Frank casually pushes Zoe into the path of an on-coming train. Ouch.
6. TV Deaths: Charlie Sheen
Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) on Two and a Half Men:
Following Charlie Sheen’s off-screen drama with Two and a Half Men’s creator Chuck Lorre, it came as little shock that the controversial actor was fired from the hit CBS series. But were a little surprised to learn his character was killed off in fine soap opera fashion... off-screen, with only his signature outfit and a casket making an appearance in the show’s season nine premiere episode.
7. TV Deaths: Rita Dexter
Rita Morgan (Julie Benz) on Dexter:
When the Trinity Killer discovers Dexter's true identity, he takes aim at his family. In a desperate attempt to save Rita, Dexter begs her to leave early on their honeymoon. She agrees, and Dexter, ahem, handles the Trinity Killer while she prepares for the trip. However, when Dexter arrives home, he finds Rita dead in the bathtub — the Trinity Killer's final victim.
8. TV Deaths: Tony Plana
Alejandro Perez (Tony Plana) on Desperate Housewives:
He won our hearts as America Ferrera’s father on ABC’s Ugly Betty. So when Tony Plana guest-starred on Desperate Housewives as Gabrielle Solis’s (Eva Longoria) creeptastic stepfather, we were slightly distressed. But Plana’s character’s death by candlestick at the hands of Gabrielle’s husband Carlos (Ricardo Chavira) still caught us off guard!
9. TV Deaths: Adriana La Cerva The Sopranos
Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo) on The Sopranos:
Poor Adriana. After she (unwillingly) becomes an FBI informant, she comes clean to Christopher (Michael Imperioli), her boyfriend. He savagely beats her, then breaks down crying. In the end, his loyalty to his family usurps his love for Adriana. Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) has her murdered in the sixth season.
10. TV Deaths: Kate del Castillo
Pilar Zuazo (Kate del Castillo) on Weeds:
It’s been hailed as one of the best scenes in Weeds history. While threatening the Showtime series’ main character Nancy Price Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), Esteban’s evil boss Pilar Zuazo (Kate del Castillo) gets a taste of her own medicine, of sorts. Nancy’s son Shane (Alexander Gould) fatally smacks her in the back of the head with a croquet mallet. Now that’s what we’d call a serious “crush shot!”
11. TV Deaths: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland) in Buffy The Vampire Slayer:
Joyce Summers didn't fall prey to paranormal dangers; she died of a brain aneurysm after recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor. Although countless characters died (and came back to life), Joyce Summers death rocked Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the Scooby Gang — particularly because she died of natural causes, and not at the hands of vampires or evil forces.
12. Maggie Siff as Tara Knowles on Sons of Anarchy
Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff) on Sons of Anarchy:
Fans couldn't help but be shocked when Tara Knowles was murdered during the season six finale of Sons of Anarchy. After a series of tumultuous (and violent) encounters with Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal), Knowles becomes another one of her victims. In a particularly gruesome scene, Gemma bashes Tara's head in with an iron, then repeatedly stabs her with a carving fork.
13. TV Deaths: Adan Canto
Paul Torres (Adan Canto) on The Following:
The Following may be a show about a serial killer and his murderous followers, but the death of Adan Canto’s character Paul Torres, still shocked us. Canto, a loyal follower of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), was smothered to death with a pillow by his pseudo-boyfriend Jacob Wells (Nico Tortorella) in a dramatic and emotional scene in the episode aptly titled “Love Hurts.” “When I learned I was going to pass in this episode, it was a little like, ‘Oh Christ, tough luck, I'm out,’” Canto told The Hollywood Reporter. “But then you read a script like this [and] the way he dies, I was amazed; I was excited to shoot this thing, and after shooting the scene, it felt so good. It's a beautiful scene, and it was disturbing. It was a great experience as an actor and as a person. I was excited to close the cycle that way.”
14. TV Deaths: Michelle Rodriguez
Ana Lucia Cortez (Michelle Rodriguez) on Lost:
It was the shot heard ‘round the world. The death of Michelle Rodriguez’s tough-girl character Ana Lucia Cortez on ABC’s Lost left fans reeling, especially since it was the ultimate deception. After a failed attempt to kill Henry Gale (Michael Emerson), who’d assaulted and nearly killed her, Rodriguez’s character confesses her botched plan to Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau). But after telling her he’d kill Henry for him, Michael Dawson takes the gun from Ana Lucia and turns it on her, fatally shooting her in the chest in a scene that left us saying, “Oh no he didn’t!”
15. TV Deaths: Kevin Alejandro True Blood
Jesus Velasquez (Kevin Alejandro) on True Blood:
Apparently death becomes him… Kevin Alejandro has mastered the art of the shocking death on television. Following his fatal head-whack on Southland, the Mexican American actor’s character was murdered by his own on-screen boyfriend Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis) on HBO’s True Blood. Sadly, Lafayette was possessed by the spirit of the evil witch Marnie when he stabs him in the chest with a machete.