Every television series must have a variety of storylines to keep audiences captivated and to entice them to keep watching episode after episode. It is only by having this diversity of storylines that a series can keep up their viewing figures and compete against other television series of the same genre or that are aired at the same time. While a television series will often have a long-term storyline that spans several months so that audiences can feel involved in an ongoing saga, they will also make use of one-off events to shock or excite their audiences. Killing off a character can be part of both a long-term storyline or a shocking one-off event. For example, the producers may want to highlight a specific type of illness and use this as a storyline that ends with the death of a character. On the other hand, they may want to use the shock-factor of a series favorite coming to a surprising and untimely end. Here are 20 of the most satisfying TV deaths of all-time.
20. Agent Stahl- Sons of Anarchy
In ‘Sons of Anarchy’, Agent June Stahl is portrayed by Ally Walker. She is a corrupt ATF agent who is investigating a motorcycle club called the Sons of Anarchy. When this character was introduced, she caused plenty of problems for the motorcycle club. Opie’s wife also died as a direct result of Stahl’s attempts to get him to become an informant. She also committed a murder for which she then tried to frame Gemma and this led to Jax’s baby son being abducted. These are just a few of the reasons why viewers were so pleased to see her killed on September 7, 2010, in episode 13 of season 3. Opie was the man responsible for her death. He took his revenge by shooting her in the head.
19. Vee- Orange is the New Black
‘Orange is the New Black’ has become one of the most successful prison dramas in recent years and this is perhaps because it focused on a women’s prison. It is from this series that one of the best death scenes of the last decade was shown. Yvonne ‘Vee’ Parker is in prison after she was convicted of drug trafficking. The character, who is played by Lorraine Toussant, takes over the commissary. In episode 13 of season 2, Vee escapes from prison and runs down the road. Fellow inmate Rosa, who is played by Barbara Rosenblat, is also escaping at the same time in a stolen prison van after receiving some assistance in her escape from one of the female prison guards. She drives down the road and sees Vee. Rosa then deliberately turns her wheel to aim at Vee and hits her at speed, tossing Vee aside like a rag doll. Many were glad to see this character killed because she caused a lot of divides within the prison.
18. Kevin Thompson (aka Killgrave)- Jessica Jones
In ‘Jessica Jones’ Kevin Thompson goes by the nickname of Killgrave and he is a sociopath and powerful psychic who has the ability to control other people’s minds. This character is played by David Tenant. In episode 13 of season 1, which was broadcast on November 20, 2015, fans of the series finally got to see the comeuppance of Killgrave. Jessica Jones, who is played by Krysten Ritter, hold him threateningly by the chin before snapping his name, which kills him instantly. Jessica Jones had lots of reasons to kill Killgrave. Firstly, he had used his powers of mind-bending for his own sexual gratification from her. He also brainwashed Jessica into killing the wife of Luke Cage. She simply wants to make sure that he doesn’t hurt anyone else in the future.
17. The Demogorgon- Stranger Things
‘Stranger Things’ has become a hit show to an almost cult standard. The Demogorgon is one of the most memorable monsters from this television series. It is a vicious monster from ‘Upside Down’ which is a parallel dimension given this name by the kids of Hawkins. Although the monster doesn’t have an official name, the children of the series called it ‘The Demorgogon’ after a monster from Dungeons and Dragons, a role-playing game. The killing of this creature takes place in episode 8 of season 1, which was broadcast on July 15, 2016. Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown, is the one that kills this monster by using the full force of her psychic powers. She creates a massive blast and this appears to kill them both.
16. Rawlins- The Punisher
In ‘The Punisher’, William J. Rawlins III is the Director of Covert Operations for the CIA. He is also the founder of the Cerberus Squad. This is a military death squad that smuggles heroin. The death of this character takes place in episode 12 of season one and was originally broadcast on November 17, 2017. In this episode, Rawlins is torturing Frank Castle, who is restrained. His intention is that he will eventually kill Castle but he wants him to suffer a slow and painful death. Billy Russo secretly sneaks in and removes Castle’s restraints. This leaves Castle free to beat Rawlins to a pulp and even gouges out his eyeballs. This causes Rawlins to suffer a rather gory death. It is no wonder that Castle wants to get his revenge as Rawlins was responsible for the deaths of his family.
15. Lester Nygaard- Fargo
Lester Nygaard is a villain in ‘Fargo’. Despite his villain status, fans almost felt sorry for this character as he was such a pathetic creature and had a certain look of innocence about him. However, fans of the series soon began to feel rather differently about him after he killed his wife and attempted to frame his brother for the murder. His levels of evilness gradually grew throughout the series. It was for these reasons that fans were actually delighted to see him meet his maker. He fell through a thin piece of mountain ice and was left stranded to freeze to death. ‘Fargo’ fans felt that it was the least that this evil man deserved.
14. Dr. Robert Romano- ER
Doctors in television series are usually portrayed in a way that almost makes them seem like heroes. They save people’s lives, are sympathetic to family members and do their best to help people in whatever way they can. Dr. Robert Romano in ‘ER’ was an exception to this rule. He was a nasty boss who was hostile to his colleagues and extremely sarcastic. Overall, there was not a lot to like about this character. He died in a tragic helicopter accident outside the hospital where he worked. He was on the helipad about to transfer the patient into the helicopter when he experienced a flashback and panic attack. He left his colleague to transfer the patient and took the lift downstairs before standing outside the entrance doors to get some air. As the helicopter took off, it ran into mechanical difficulties. It crashed into the top corner of the building before hurtling to the ground below. The last shot of Dr. Robert Romano is him looking towards the sky as he hears a sound from above and then the helicopter lands on him before exploding.
13. Steve Newlin- True Blood
Michael McMillan portrays Steven Newlin in ‘True Blood’. He is a former televangelist who becomes a vampire. His character was one that was disliked by fans of the series, which is an adaptation of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. He promotes ignorance and bigotry while exploiting religion. When he became a vampire, he soon sold out on his previous convictions. It was for these reasons that his death was so satisfying. Viewers got to watch this character die on August 11, 2013, when he was killed in episode 9 of season 6. He is held into a shaft of sunlight by Eric Northman, who is played by Alexander Skarsgard, and this cause Newlin to explode.
12. Ramsay Bolton- Game of Thrones
There have been many exciting deaths on ‘Game of Thrones’ but one that is definitely worthy of its position on a list of the most satisfying television series deaths is that of Ramsay Bolton, the bastard son of Roose Bolton. The character, portrayed by Iwan Rheon, was also Warden of the North and was briefly the Lord of Winterfell. His death took place in episode 9 of season 6 and was originally broadcast on June 19, 2016. Jon Snow, a role played by Kit Harrington, is supported by his army in retaking Winterfell and he almost beats Ramsay to death before taking him to a dungeon. Sansa Stark, played by Sophie Turner, visits him in his cell. She releases Ramsay’s hounds and watches as they eat their own master alive.
11. Keith Summers- Bates Motel
The ‘Bates Motel’ series was inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘Psycho’. When Keith Summers first appeared at the motel, he instantly gave viewers the impression that he was bad news. His family were once the owners of the motel and he immediately expressed his dislike of the new owners. In a confrontation with Norma and Norman, he dismisses their capacity to run a motel business. He later breaks into the house of Norma and rapes her making the viewers dislike of him even stronger. Norman later attacks Keith but it is Norma that goes on to kill him when she takes her revenge and stabs him to death.
10. Viserys Targaryen- Game of Thrones
Amongst the best deaths of ‘Game of Thrones’ is that of Viserys Targaryen. This horrible prince even allowed people to rape his sister if there was some reward in it for him. He wanted to be the only living Targaryen fit to take the throne, even if this meant killing his sister and her unborn child. It is no wonder that fans were glad to see him finally dead. In the end, he got a rather different crown to the ‘Iron Crown’ he expected as Khal tipped molten gold over his head. This was rather an unusual way for a television character to die, but there are so many deaths in ‘Game of Thrones’ that the writers have to think of original causes of death to keep viewers interested.
9. Peter Russo- House of Cards
The death of Peter Russo in ‘House of Cards’ caused mixed feelings amongst viewers. On the one hand, they were excited that he was gone because he was a greedy man who never took his work, his family or his relationship seriously. On the other hand, he was killed by the worst villain in ‘House of Cards’ and this garnered him some sympathy. Frank Carson poisoned Russo with carbon monoxide. Basically, Peter Russo suffocated to death in his car after Carson set up a situation where Russo would fall asleep. He made him press the ignition and then left him to die.
8. Nina Myers- Twenty-Four
The TV series ‘Twenty-Four’ was well-known for tis brutal scene as many of the cast were villains. Due to the type of television series this was, it was inevitable that many people were brutally killed at different stages throughout the storyline. One of the most satisfying deaths was that of Nina Myers. Fans were glad to see her finally killed as she had deceived Jack, killed his wife, and then became one of the terrorists that she was supposed to be fighting. She finally died at the hands of Jack Bauer who was keen to seek his revenge. Fans were only disappointed that it took so long to kill off this character.
7. The Governor- The Walking Dead
‘The Walking Dead’ is a zombie series. The governor, also known as Phillip Blake, is a character played by David Morrissey. Prior to the zombie apocalypse, he was a middle-management employee. Following the zombie apocalypse, he becomes a fanatical financial dictator. The death of this character occurs in an episode called ‘Too Far Gone’ in season 4 of the series. The Governor is trying to beat Rick Grimes to death when he is stabbed by Michonne, who is played by Danai Gurira. However, it is not this that kills him. The final blow that finishes him off is the gunshot to the head inflicted on him by Lilly, who is played by Audrey Marie Anderson.
6. Red John- The Mentalist
In ‘The Mentalist’ Red John was a serial killer who appeared in the eighth episode of the sixth season. This episode originally aired on November 24, 2013. Patrick Jane is a fugitive who has been hunting Red John for over ten years. Red John killed his wife and daughter, so he wants to get his revenge and see blood. Viewers instantly hated this serial and most agreed that the electric chair or life behind bars was too good for him. Therefore, they were delighted when the murderer was killed by Patrick who strangled him to death. Prior to killing him, Patrick had held his hand to Red John’s throat and asked him to blink once for no and twice for yes to the questions he would ask him. Patrick asked if he was sorry for killing his family and if he was scared of dying. Red John blinked twice in response to both questions.
5. Ian Reed- Luther
Luther’s closest friend was Detective Chief Inspector Ian Reed. Unfortunately, the senior police officer began to take bribes and making compromises with criminals. This led him to fall out fo favor with Luther. Reed started to kill people off in an attempt to cover his tracks as he feared he would be discovered and lose his position of status within the police force. He even killed Luther’s wife and then attempted to kill his former best friend. Viewers couldn’t wait to see him get what he deserved. It was Alice Morgan who finally gave the fans of the series what they wanted when she shot him.
4. Gus Fring- Breaking Bad
Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring is portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito. He is the founder of Los Pollos Hermanos, a fast food chain, which is actually nothing more than a cover for his real business which is a drugs empire. This character meets his grisly end in an episode called ‘Face Off’ in Season 4 of ‘Breaking Bad’. It was originally broadcast on October 9, 2011. Don Hector Salamanca is in a nursing home and has made a deal with Walter White, a meth cook, to have a bomb rigged to his wheelchair. Salamanco then arranges a meeting with Fring. When the bomb is detonated, half of Fring’s face is blown off and he also suffers other injuries to his upper body. Although he initially walks away from the blast, his injuries are too severe and he soon drops dead.
3. Arthur Mitchell (Trinity Killer)- Dexter
Arthur Mitchell earned his nickname as the Trinity Killer because he would kill three people in succession in a particular way. On the face of it, he was a Christian man, but he led a double life as a serial killer. He was the character that viewers loved to hate. His killings were extremely disturbing, so viewers couldn’t wait to see him getting what he deserved. In season four, they finally got their wish when Dexter beat him to death with a hammer. As the Trinity Killer was responsible for the death of Dexter’s wife, this was surely justice served.
2. Joffrey Baratheon- Game of Thrones
‘Game of Thrones’ is filled with dramatic scenes, violent encounters, and horrific deaths. There are certainly plenty of death scenes to choose from that one series alone. However, one of the most satisfying is definitely the death of Joffrey Baratheon. This character is portrayed by Jack Gleeson and he is officially the child of King Robert Baratheon, although his real father is Jamie Lannister who is the brother of his mother, Cersei. He died in season 4 episode 2 ‘The lion and the Rose’. Just after Joffrey married Margaery Tyrell, he attends a banquet where he is poisoned. This causes him to dramatically choke to death. The reason fans found this death so satisfying is that they considered the character a revolting bully. The exact cause of his death remained a mystery for some time in the rest of the season and this added an extra element of interest in the untimely death of Baratheon.
1. Lorne Malvo- Fargo
Lorne Malvo was the primary protagonist in season one of ‘Fargo’ who was played by Billy Bob Thornton. This hitman and bounty hunter always seemed to have luck on his side as he repeatedly evaded the authorities. Most viewers were hoping that Molly Soverson would be the one to kill him. Sadly, this was not the case, but viewers got the next best thing when her partner, Officer Gus Grimly, finished off the job. Malvo had damaged his leg in a bear trap when he broke into Lester’s home. Lester tries twice to shoot him but the first time he misses and the second time his gun jams. Malvo then steals an FBI to escape to his cabin. Unfortunately for him, Grimly is waiting and shoots him dead.