TV’s 8 Most Brutal Character Kill-Offs

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Just when we thought True Blood couldn’t get any more sordid and shocking, the unthinkable happened.

(Don’t read on if you don’t want us to spoil it for you.)

Eric tricks Russell Edgington into believing that drinking Sookie’s blood will allow him to go out in the sunlight. They sink their teeth into her and head outside… where Eric handcuffs Russell to him so that they can die together. Now, we would be pretty surprised if True Blood got rid of its best character so abruptly, and we’ve been unimpressed enough this season that we may give up altogether if we don’t have Eric to watch. But stranger things have happened. After the jump, we count down eight other painful and surprising TV character deaths.

Sun and Jin Kwon, Lost We could argue forever about which Lost death was most infuriating: There was John Locke, done in by Ben (and his own doubts) before he could reunite the castaways on their island. And, of course, Ana Lucia and Libby, picked off by a traitorous Michael well before their time. Or how about poor Sayid, who redeemed himself from black-eyed soullessness by sacrificing himself to save his friends? To be honest, we were kind of glad when Damon and Carlton killed off Shannon and Boone — two characters who always sort of annoyed us. But nothing pissed us off more than watching Sun and Jin go to a watery grave midway through Lost‘s final season. For one thing, it reminded us a bit too much of Titanic. And then there’s the fact that, instead of saving himself so he can return home and be a father to the baby he’s never met, Jin chooses to die with Sun. Romantic? Sure. Horrible parenting decision? That too!

Lisa Fisher, Six Feet Under Another show that isn’t afraid to kill off a major, beloved character, Six Feet Under began each episode with a death. But was there anything sadder than the demise of Lisa, the wife (and baby momma) Nate never really appreciated until she was gone? We all knew what was coming long before we got the news that her body had washed up on shore, and — perhaps because Nate is so frustrating and self-involved — we couldn’t blame her for the affair that may well have ended her life. Mostly, we just love Lili Taylor and were sad to see her time on the show come to an end. (Although, considering that it was Six Feet Under, it wasn’t like we weren’t going to see her again…)

Susan Biddle Ross, Seinfeld Poor Susan. She’s a nice, normal, attractive woman who decides, after a brief bout of lesbianism, that it would be a good idea to marry George Costanza. Of course, because George is hardly marriage-ready, he realizes his mistake and hatches countless schemes to break his engagement. Finally, he gets his wish — when he purchases cheap-o wedding invitations and Susan dies after ingesting too much of the toxic glue on the envelopes. George is not particularly crushed by this.

Dan Conner, Roseanne This one hurt: Remember when John Goodman’s lovable dad Dan had a heart attack at Darlene and David’s wedding, but then he was OK for the show’s deeply bizarre final season? Well, things got “meta” on the series finale, when we learned that the entire series was a story Roseanne Conner wrote. Her most shocking revelation? Dan really did die of that heart attack.

Creighton Bernette, Treme Come on, TV writers! We love John Goodman! And yet, you keep killing him off. Although we could see Creighton Bernette, the pissed-off professor in Treme‘s post-Katrina New Orleans, spiraling deeper into frustration and depression, we really didn’t see his suicide coming. After lecturing his class about Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (which also ended with its protagonist drowning herself) eating a final hometown meal and smoking a cigarette, Creighton jumps off the ferry to his death, leaving a devastated wife and daughter in his wake.

Marissa Cooper, The O.C. In an episode that was even melodramatic by Josh Schwartz standards, Mischa Barton’s drug-abusing socialite Marissa Cooper dies the only way such a glamorous character should — in a car crash caused by a jealous ex-lover. In their romantic final scene together, Ryan — who I guess we’re supposed to understand really was her soulmate — wants to get her help, but she makes him stay because she knows she’s about to bite it. She dies staring into his eyes. He cries. A truly unforgivable version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” plays in the background.

Tara Maclay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy is yet another show packed with major-character deaths — and the obvious one to be all “WTF” about is the sudden death of Buffy’s mom, Joyce. Us? We think the bullet that was meant for Buffy but hit Willow’s beloved, Tara, just when the couple had reconciled, was equally sad. Sure, fans malign Tara’s ditziness, but we always found it — and her generally sweet nature — endearing. Considering the shit-storm of black magic that followed, it seems Willow agreed.

Maude Flanders, The Simpsons Sure, we all laughed at Ned Flanders’ expense — and we even continued to do so after he lost his beloved wife, Maude, back in season 11. Her cause of death, a T-shirt cannon, may have been hilarious, but we also couldn’t help feeling sorry for poor, simple, Christian Ned.