There's never a good way for a character you love to go, but these on-screen deaths really hit hard.
Rita Bennett (Julie Benz), Dexter
Photo Credit: Showtime/Everett Collection.
Dexter comes home to find baby Harrison crying in a pool of blood—and Rita dead in the bathtub.
Philippa Georgiou (Star Trek: Discovery)
Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery.
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/CBS.
Discovery boldly went where no other Star Trek series had gone before: offing its presumed lead in the second episode. We were just as devastated as Michael Burnham was to lose her mentor and commanding officer, stabbed by a Klingon—but were equally shocked for Michelle Yeoh's return as a villainous Emperor in a mirror universe.
Nicholas Brody (Homeland)
Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Homeland.
Photo Credit: Didier Baverel/SHOWTIME.
The turncoat Marine was found guilty of treason and publicly hanged in a Tehran square, as Carrie tearfully looked on.
The Mother (How I Met Your Mother)
Cristin Milioti as Tracy Mosby in hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
Photo Credit: Fox Television.
Ted spent nine seasons telling his kids (and viewers) how he met his soulmate, Tracy—only to learn in the series finale that she died of an undisclosed illness.
Warrick Brown (CSI)
Gary Dourdan as Warrick Brown in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.
Shot twice in his car by a mole in the Las Vegas PD, Warrick dies in Grissom's arms.
Michael Cordero (Jane the Virgin)
Brett Dier as Michael Cordero ,Jr. in Jane the Virgin.
Photo Credit: YouTube.
After flip-flopping for years between Michael and Rafael, Jane finally chooses (and marries) her first love. Their happy-ever-after appeared short-lived, after Sin Rostro shoots the new groom. Michael survives...only to collapse from complications of his gunshot wound nine months later.
Caitlin Todd (NCIS)
Sasha Alexander as Caitlin Todd in drama series NCIS.
Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS.
The special agent took a bullet to save Gibbs, but was spared thanks to her protective vest. Whew, close call! Moments later, a sniper shoots her in the head.
Will Gardner (The Good Wife)
Josh Charles as Will Gardner drama series The Good Wife.
Photo Credit: Justin Stephens/CBS,
The beloved attorney is gunned down after his unhinged client opens fire in the courtroom, sending Alicia, Kalinda, Diane—and longtime fans—into a tailspin.
Lt. Col. Blake (M*A*S*H)
McLean Stevenson as Lt. Col. Henry Blake in M*A*S*H.
Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images.
After Blake's homeward-bound plane was shot down, a dazed Radar walks into the operating room to break the news. "There were no survivors." The (offscreen) death was a network television first: no major character had ever been killed off before!
James "Ghost" St. Patrick (Power)
Omari Hardwick as James "Ghost" St. Patrick in Power.
Photo Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Starz!/Everett Collection.
Pretty ballsy to whack your protagonist in the middle of the final season, but no one ever accused Power of being predictable. In the end, it was revealed that Ghost's son Tariq pulled the trigger.
Originally published in Watch Magazine, July-Aug 2020.