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The Most Surprising TV Deaths In 2017

Last year was full of surprising TV deaths, and 2017 has picked up right where 2016 left off. The year's far from over, too—fan favorites like Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black, Mr. Robot, Stranger Things, American Horror Story and Fargo could deliver a lot more surprising carnage and heartbreak. While we wait for more shocking fictional obituaries, here are the TV deaths that have thrown us for a loop in 2017 so far. Spoilers abound, of course, so if you're not totally caught up yet, read with caution. 

Michael - Jane the Virgin

We ended the last season of Jane the Virgin on pins and needles with the shooting of Michael Cordero, Jr., and there was a collective sign of relief when we learned he was alive at the start of the third season. But halfway through the season—right after Michael finished the LSATs—he died of an aortic dissection as a result of his injury, and Jane learned the devastating news before the show jumped three years into the future. Did we know Michael was going to die? Sure. In Season 1, the narrator told us Michael would love Jane "until he drew his very last breath," but when he survived the shooting, most fans hoped it he wouldn't draw it for a very long time. Sorry.

Dr. Radcliffe - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

During Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Dr. Radcliffe spent more time escaping the pain of real life within the Framework he created. The "Self Control" episode finally gave fans a good look inside, when Daisy and Jemma went in to rescue the team members who'd been replaced with LMDs by Aida. After we caught a glimpse of everyone's Framework vision, things came to a head with Radcliffe—he'd been letting Aida take care of his business in the real world, and she learned that his intentions for the Framework might not be what she'd thought. He assured her that when he uploaded people's consciousnesses into the Framework, he set them free—so she slashed his wrists, forcing him to stay there. Will he come back? Maybe. But few fans saw this abrupt twist coming.

Enzo - The Vampire Diaries

Fans took to message boards in a rage when Enzo St. John had his heart unceremoniously ripped out by Stefan in The Vampire Diaries Season 8 episode "You Made a Choice to Be Good." One minute Bonnie and Enzo were giddy in love, doing bucket list stuff and planning a happy life. The next minute, Stefan showed up, ripped out Enzo's heart, and advanced towards Bonnie, who injected him with The Cure, turning him human. Fans didn't have to live totally without the hotness of Michael Malarkey, since he appeared in Bonnie's psychic love nest for a time, but many felt she'd earned the right to have a real live Enzo to love forever.

Perry Wright - Big Little Lies

Perry Wright's death might not have been a huge surprise to the fans of HBO's Big Little Lies, but the circumstances definitely were. Viewers learned in the very first episode that the story was leading to a death, but didn't know who, or how. Perry was shown to be abusive from the get-go, so some were probably rooting for him to be the body at the end of the series, but it wasn't until the seventh and final episode that the truth was revealed—and in dramatic fashion, with Bonnie shoving Perry down a staircase while he was in the midst of a brutal assault on Celeste.

Sasha - The Walking Dead

As if fans of The Walking Dead haven't had to deal with enough. The season opener revealed that Glenn and Abraham were dead at the hands of Negan (and his deadly Lucille), and we proceeded to see minor but important characters die throughout the season. Richard, Benjamin, Spencer, Olivia...but none of those were huge surprises on a show that serious doesn't care how bad it breaks your heart. 

Sasha, on the other hand, was a strong fan favorite. Ever since it was announced actress Sonequa Martin was joining Star Trek: Discovery, rumors had been buzzing—and they were true. Sasha took a poison pill after Negan locked her in a coffin, zombifying herself into an undead weapon meant to take him out—although one of his savior lackeys ultimately took the face-ripping for him.

Peter Quinn - Homeland

Peter Quinn endured a lot of life-threatening things on Homeland, including a stroke, getting gassed, and a struggle with alcoholism. Ultimately, however, he gave up his life for the country, putting himself in the line of fire to save President-elect Keane and get her to the White House. Rupert Friend, who earlier earned an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Quinn, is a favorite to win for his work here; as for the fans, they might have to learn to love a new assassin-turned-hero, if the show stays true to form.

Meg Abbott - The Leftovers

HBO's always fascinating The Leftovers started its third and final season with a literal bang when Meg Abbott blew the Guilty Remnant to smithereens, taking young convert Evie Murphy with her. Since viewers had already believed Evie was dead once before, her death didn't come as much of a shock as Meg's; many fans figured she'd last through the end of the series. Maybe it's most shocking that the Guilty Remnant are gone—and Meg was the cause.

The Patriot - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In Season 4's "No Regrets," The Patriot and Coulson traveled into the Framework to look for a mole who'd been trying to bring information out of Hydra. During the mission, Coulson realized his students were being brainwashed by Hydra, and May showed up, juiced on some sort of super strength serum that made her strong enough to fight the Patriot. He won, but in the aftermath, a Quinjet fired on the building and the roof fell in. The Patriot saved a boy and held up the roof, allowing people to escape and sacrificing his own life in the bargain—kind of like Sloth in The Goonies, but without the happy resolution.

Roan - The 100

Fans don't want to believe it, but it looks like the king is dead. In the 10th episode of The 100's fourth season, "Die All, Die Merrily," viewers bore witness to a huge battle that came down to a fight between Roan and Luna in the Black Rain. Luna, a Natblinda, was immune. Roan was not. He fought anyway, and Luna was able to kill him. Some comfort can be gained from the fact that soon after, Octavia impaled Luna—a momentary victory for a character whose people are still very much in peril.

Paul Kellerman - Prison Break: Resurrection

Prison Break: Resurrection revived Prison Break with much of the original cast intact—only to kill off one fan favorite in the fourth episode. Though Paul Kellerman was thought to be dead in Season 2, viewers later learned it was a cover-up; when the show returned via Resurrection, Kellerman (played by the versatile Paul Adelstein) was a changed man who'd hung up his gun and was living a righteous life. Unfortunately, you can't put your past behind you—a lesson driven home when Kellerman was killed by an assassin.

Crowley - Supernatural

The list of who didn't die in this season of Supernatural might be shorter than those who did. That might be an exaggeration, but it seems like a lot of fan favorites kicked the bucket during this arc. While the deaths of Toni, Ketch, Kelly and Rowena weren't enormous shocks, the same can't be said for Crowley, the on-and-off King of Hell who was sometimes a really bad guy but had a sort of bromance with Dean Winchester. In the fight against Lucifer, Crowley sacrificed himself with a spell to trap Lucifer in another dimension—and before you say "but nobody dies for good on this show," actor Mark Sheppard has definitively said he won't be back. 

Castiel - Supernaturual

After Sam and Dean slipped through the portal back into reality in the Season 12 finale, Castiel followed—but Lucifer, from inside the portal, stabbed him with an angel blade, seemingly killing him. Even though Season 12 found the show occasionally at an apparent loss as far as what to do with Cas, he finally seemed to find a purpose in the care of Kelly's baby—and then he died. Or did he? Actor Jared Padalecki's comments at a fan convention hint that Cas is going to be around, and Misha Collins tweeted that the character "has a future." What that holds obviously remains to be seen.

Jasper Jordan - The 100

Jasper was arguably the heart of the original 100: even though he was supposed to die in the pilot episode, everybody liked him so darn much that they kept him around. He struggled with PTSD and suffered depression after Maya died; he turned to the bottle, cleaning himself up for awhile, only to attempt suicide in Season 4. He survived, finally finding a sort of peace in the knowledge that a looming nuclear holocaust would soon end life as The 100's characters knew it—and in the season 4 episode "The Other Side," Jasper took a lethal amount of the drug he created, admired the Earth one last time, and died in his best friend's arms.

Hermie - Girls

Despite the fact that Hermie was a supporting player on HBO's Girls, the character made an impact. As Ray's blunt, grumpy boss at the coffee shop, Colin Quinn brought his characteristic snark and humor to the role, as well as some vulnerability that added some real emotion to his surprising death in Season 6's "Painful Evacuation." After a chatty coffee shop regular died suddenly, Ray was left questioning life, the universe and everything—then, to heap more existential angst onto the poor guy, he went to Hermie's house and found him dead. Ray spent the next episode, "Gummies," sorting through Ray's belongings and grieving.

Mr. Blossom - Riverdale

Riverdale fans were surprised to learn that Jason Blossom was murdered by his father, Clifford, after discovering that the family's maple syrup empire was really just a front for a heroin operation. If that wasn't enough, Cheryl confronted her dad after Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Archie saw the footage on the flash drive found in Jason's jacket—and Mr. Blossom reacted drastically. When the police approached the Blossom mansion, Cheryl and her mom simply pointed to the barn, where the cops found Mr. Blossom swinging from a noose.

Malcolm Merlyn - Arrow

Over the course of five seasons of Archer, Malcolm Merlyn—a.k.a. the Magician, a.k.a. head of the League of Assassins, a.k.a. the New Ra's al Ghul, a.k.a. Thea's real father—was alternately a force of pain and justice, and he was played with relish by Torchwood and Doctor Who fan favorite John Barrowman. His end came in the form of noble sacrifice. On the run from Adrian Chase on Lian Yu, Thea (Willa Holland) stepped on a landmine; Malcolm, who'd come to the island to protect his daughter, took her place on top of the mine, allowing her to run to safety. Left to confront Chase's minions, Malcolm took his foot off the landmine, wiping them out—and giving up his own life in the process.

Tariq - Empire

The members of the Lyon family often act irrationally and destructively—it provides the soap opera theatrics that make Empire so fun. Perhaps there's nobody in the series quite as unhinged as Leah (Leslie Uggams), who even kidnapped Lucious Lyon's granddaughter at one point. She's also never been fond of Tariq (Morocco Omari), the illegitimate child of the family. Tariq was just about to tell his half-brother Lucious about the kidnapping plot, but Leah put a stop to that with a fatal stab to the neck. It's a death that was surprising, bloody, and sad—Lucious and Tariq were just beginning to treat each other like brothers.

Nikki Swango - Fargo

To many viewers of the third season of FX's Midwestern crime anthology, it seemed like Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) would be the last person standing when all was said and done. After all, the petty criminal pulled the strings from the beginning, orchestrating the plot to extort money from her parole officer fiancé's wealthy twin brother...and then always rolling with the punches and staying a step or two ahead of both the police and the bad guys when plans went awry. But even though the crafty Nikki survived countless brushes with death, she still somehow met an unceremonious end—shot by a police officer during a roadside standoff.

Missy - Doctor Who

There have been some close calls, but the Doctor on Doctor Who doesn't die—he instead "regenerates" every so often to allow a new actor (or actress) to slip into the role. But the death of another time-and-space-resistant Doctor Who character might be a bit more permanent. Missy, a.k.a. the Master (Michelle Gomez), has been a longtime fixture on the long-running series, as the nefarious Master was about the only entity in the universe who could go toe-to-toe with the Doctor. But the Master, or rather the Mistress, or rather Missy, is no more—she met her end when a previous iteration of the Master shot her (themselves?) in the back. Of course, the character has returned from the dead before, and there's every reason to expect it could happen again; in the meantime, however, one of the show's most powerful players is off the canvas.

Lady Olenna Tyrell - Game of Thrones

Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), matriarch of the Tyrell clan, has been a ruthless and imposing player on HBO's Game of Thrones for years. The "Queen of Thorns" was behind one of the series' most notorious death scenes—she provided the poison that killed Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) on his wedding day to her granddaughter, Margaery (Natalie Dormer). But as the battle for power on Game of Thrones heats up, some contenders are going to be left out, and the Tyrell matriarch met her maker during the seventh season's third episode, "The Queen's Justice." 

Laid siege to by the Lannister army, the ever-dignified Lady Tyrell sits for one last bit of sparring with Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who reveals he's brokered a merciful death for her over the wishes of his sister Cersei (Lena Headey). After drinking his proffered cup of wine laced with poison, Tyrell gets one last dig in against the Lannisters, revealing to Jaime that it was she who was responsible for the death of King Joffrey—firstborn product of the not-so-secret incestuous tryst between Jaime and Cersei.

Travis - Fear the Walking Dead

More and more, Fear the Walking Dead resembles its companion series, The Walking Dead, in its willingness to kill off beloved characters. Travis (Cliff Curtis) has been a part of the California/Mexico-based zombie drama since day one, helping his blended family and those they pick up along the way escape Los Angeles, a quarantine, and the dangerous clans that spawned after the de facto end of the world. Travis even survived a zombie pit fight, killing the lot before escaping via helicopter...only for the chopper to sustain gunfire, which got him Travis in the gut and the neck. Finishing the job himself, he opened the helicopter door and fell away.

Ozzie Graham - People of Earth

TBS's strikingly original People of Earth mixes psychological drama with wacky sci-fi comedy. It's about a support group called StarCrossed that meets in a church basement so members can discuss their experiences being abducted by aliens.They're not crazy in the least—they really were visited by extraterrestrials, who are also characters in the show. It's an ensemble series, but the central character and audience surrogate character was Ozzie Graham, initially a reporter covering StarCrossed. That's why it was so shocking when Ozzie (Wyatt Cenac) was shot by one of the evil Reptilian aliens, who was trying to track down a different character.

Littlefinger - Game of Thrones

In a show about cutthroat political machination, Littlefinger was probably the most manipulative character of all—and the man also known as Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) took a special interest in messing with the Starks. But after seven seasons, he'd played his hand a little too clearly, and the Stark kids had their revenge: his closest charge, Sansa Stark, ambushed him under the guise of putting her sister Arya on trial—only to turn and accuse Baelish himself of various high crimes. He was found guilty, of course, and met his end at the edge of Arya's blade.

Donna - Kevin Can Wait

In 2016, Kevin James returned to CBS, where he'd starred for nine seasons on The King of Queens, with a new sitcom called Kevin Can Wait. James plays Kevin, a just-retired police officer, and actress Erinn Hayes co-starred as his wife, Donna. The show did pretty well in the ratings but got a big attention boost with a guest-star run from James' The King of Queens co-star Leah Remini, playing his former partner. 

Their chemistry was undeniable, so much so that during the show's summer hiatus, producers decided to take the show in a new direction: Hayes' character wouldn't be returning, while Remini would join the cast, effectively turning Kevin Can Wait into The King of Queens 2.0. Donna's death was addressed on the second-season premiere of Kevin Can Wait. Set more than a year after the end of the first season, Kevin gets a postcard in the mail from his deceased wife's gym. "We haven't seen you, we miss you," he reads sadly. "You know what? So do I."

Alexandra Reid - Marvel's The Defenders

Perhaps it's not so surprising for a villain in a Marvel property to die—the bad guys have to die in the world of comic books, after all. The death becomes significantly more surprising when that antagonist is played by a legendary fan-favorite of science-fiction and action movies. 

Sigourney Weaver of Alien and Ghostbusters was the most famous person in the cast of The Defenders, playing Alexandra Reid, a mysterious, ancient figure and founder of the Hand who can bring people back to life. She provided that service to Elektra (Élodie Yung), who died on the Defenders sister-series Daredevil. Unfortunately, undead Elektra is never quite herself, and she stabs in Alexandra in the back—literally and figuratively.

Black Jack Randall and Frank Randall - Outlander

Starz's romantic-historical-fantasy series Outlander is based on Diana Gabaldon's books, which in turn are based on real events. Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) is a mid-20th-century English woman transported back in time to 18th century Scotland, where she meets and marries a dashing Scottish soldier named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). 

Season 3 picks up during the Battle of Culloden, an especially bloody 1746 fight in which English troops squashed Scotland's Jacobite power grab. The face of the villainous royal forces on Outlander has long been the brutal knight Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall (Tobias Menzies); despite his side's victory, he's the Outlander main character that dies. 

The third-season premiere shows Jamie about to die on the battlefield, recollecting what he thinks are his last few moments. Viewers see him come face-to-face with Black Jack...and deliver the death blow. Jamie is ultimately pulled to safety, protected underneath the corpse of Black Jack. After Black Jack's death, Menzies fans could console themselves with the knowledge that at least he'd be around in his other role on Outlander: Frank Randall, Black Jack's descendant and 20th-century husband to Claire Randall. For a little while, anyway—just two episodes after Black Jack's death, Frank died too, meeting his end in a car accident.

Linda Reagan - Blue Bloods

The consistent, understated, CBS police drama Blue Bloods is not the kind of show that kills off characters—but it's set in the world of New York City police and other first responders, so death on the job is a constant, foreboding possibility. In its eighth season premiere, a main character did perish. 

Actress Amy Carlson was ready to move on, so her character was written out with an off-screen death. Emergency nurse Linda Reagan was treating an airlifted patient in a helicopter...that crashed. The event happened months prior, but her husband, polite detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) remains devastated, blaming himself for his wife's death because he'd asked her to change her work schedule around on that fateful night.

Joanna Wellick - Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot revolves around unsteady and unclear alliances formed by characters whose actual intentions aren't always clear. (Which is to say nothing of the double-crossing and split personalities that complicate things further.) Among the most shrewd, clever, and calculating players in the ongoing saga to take down Evil Corp and/or manipulate the world's economy is Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneiliussen), the wife, co-conspirator, and puppet master of Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström), an Evil Corp corporate stooge gone into hiding for his role in the successful "5/9" hack. 

While it's not terribly shocking that someone doing the things Joanna did would pay the ultimate price, it's how she died that threw viewers for a loop. As part of her master plan, she seduced a bartender named Derek (Chris Conroy), convincing him to implicate an enemy in a murder. But then Derek went and fell in love with Joanna, who no longer needed him. Humiliated and lovelorn, the jilted Derek followed Joanna's chauffeured car, got it to stop, and gunned down both the driver and Joanna...while she was sitting next to her newborn son.

Bob - Stranger Things

It was probably inevitable that the Duffer brothers would kill off at least one innocent character during the second season of Stranger Things—that's just what they do on Stranger Things, keeping the stakes high and the audience emotionally invested by murdering a character people like. (Bob is the new Barb.) Played by the highly likable Sean Astin of The Goonies and The Lord of the Rings, Bob had a lot going for him: running a Radio Shack in the '80s, dating a former high school classmate who looks just like Winona Ryder, and owning a video camera. At least, and of course, Bob went out a hero. After getting trapped in the Hawkins Lab, Bob volunteers to hack into the system and open the gates so everyone can flee—only to be mauled by a Demodog just as he's a few feet from freedom.

Rosario - Will and Grace

Only one major cast member didn't return for NBC's Will & Grace revival: Shelley Morrison, who portrayed Rosario Salazar, Karen's caustic, sarcastic, and long-suffering housekeeper. "Shelley has decided to retire," Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick told reporters last summer. "We really wanted Shelley to be a part of this series, so we find ourselves having to figure that out moving forward." In the fifth episode of the season, the writers figured out what to do: they killed off Rosario, offscreen. It's explained that she fell ill, was admitted to a hospital, and died after surgical complications.

Sharon Raydor - Major Crimes

When Kyra Sedgwick vacated the role of Brenda Leigh Johnson on TNT's extremely successful crime procedural The Closer in 2012 after seven seasons, the show about an L.A.P.D. Major Crimes Division continued on as Major Crimes. Replacing Sedgwick and Johnson was Mary McDonnell as Sharon Raydor, a brilliant, hard-to-crack detective. 

Realizing the show's sixth season would be its last, the writers had ample time to wrap up plot lines and character arcs. For Raydor, that seemed to be a happily-ever-after with fellow detective Andy Flynn (Tony Denison, a holdover from The Closer). That's why it was so shocking—and incredibly sad—when the police commander and mother (and stepmother of five) succumbed to a chronic heart condition in one of the last episodes of Major Crimes. While yelling at a murder suspect during an interrogation, Commander Raydor's heart stopped...and she died.

"It was very difficult physically to go through that," McDonnell admitted of filming her character's poignant final moments in an interview with Variety. "I just found it very unpleasant, and also necessary, and then it was done. It was kind of shocking, actually."

Alex Kirkman - Designated Survivor

Death just seems to follow Kiefer Sutherland's TV characters. On 24, his character Jack Bauer witnessed an unrelenting series of deaths, including that of his wife. On Sutherland's latest show, Designated Survivor, fictional history repeated itself. 

Sutherland plays Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Thomas Kirkman, who ascends to the presidency after everyone else in the line of succession dies a fiery death. Like 24, Designated Survivor is full of political intrigue and high-stakes drama. Also like 24, the writers aren't afraid to kill off the lead character's spouse: Alex Kirkman (Natascha McElhone), an immigration lawyer turned reluctant First Lady, met her end in the midseason finale when a truck smashed into her Secret Service vehicle.

As executive producer Keith Eisner explained to The Wrap, the decision was at least partly driven by McElhone's decision to join the cast of Sean Penn's Hulu drama The First—but he also felt it opened up new storytelling avenues for Designated Survivor. "Fans will be really excited to see how the story develops and what it means for Tom Kirkman," he promised. "It's new ground for the show and new ground for a White House show to suggest potential legal difficulties that envelope the first family and the First Lady, and to see how the president and his family deal with that."