Beware! Spoilers lurk below! Ye have been warned…
2010 was a bloody year. A lot of folks got offed this year, between Lost and 24 ending, it was a veritable bloodbath. Tears were shed for my friends and cheers were afforded to the deaths of my foes, and even though there were no shock style Rita moments, 2010 will still go down as a damn bloody year – with three group killings on the list, and over 40 possible deaths to choose from, network execs were trigger happy in these tough economic times. This list is not exclusive to regular cast members, Amy’s death on The Walking Dead proved you don’t need to be in the opening credits to make an impact. Here are my picks for the top 10 TV character deaths in 2010.
10. Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan) on Damages
Death by: Murder! Drowned in his toilet by Joe Tobin (Campbell Scott)
Other than Glenn Close and Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan was the only regular stalwart of Damages ever-revolving cast, therefore the mystery of his death holds a lot of weight. Tom had a rough season; in addition to losing ass his money to the Louis Tobin (Joe’s dad played by Len Cariou), Tom Shayes was first stabbed by one of Mr. Zedeck’s (Dominic Chainese) cronies protecting the whereabouts of his cashcow, Tobin’s lawyer Leonard Winstone (Martin Short) who saves his life at the last second. Tom, bleeding, makes it home only to be ambushed by a drunk, crazed Joe Tobin – and when Tom calls Joe’s dead poppa a thief, Joe drowns him in the toilet. He later confessed to Patty, and is probably serving time – but that still doesn’t take away the sting that Damages will have two more seasons sans both the character Shayes and Donovan.
9. Talbot, Royal Consort to the Vampire King of Mississippi (Theo Alexander) on True Blood
Death by: Murder! Seduced and staked by Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard)
Eric Northman’s viking family was murdered by a Vampire leading a pack of werewolves and his father’s crown was stolen, for 1000 years he hunted that Vampire who turned out to be Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi (Denis O’Hare), so Eric infiltrated his ranks waiting to exact his revenge; to kill Russell’s family – and his family was Talbot. Talbot was the flamboyant and feisty consort who’s words can sting just as sharp as his bite. Eric won the king’s trust and one night when he was babysitting an unruly Talbot, he seduced and staked him. Talbot was only a recurring but he was a scene stealer, a fan favorite & he died in a big gay mess as seen in the NSFW clip below.
8. Ida Blankenship (Randee Heller) on Mad Men
Death by: Don Draper (according to Roger, but probably natural causes)
Roger Cooper put it best: “She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She was an astronaut.” Mrs. Blankenship arrived after Don took advantage of his last secretary, Joan knew she was exactly what Don needed. During her short recurring tenure as Don’s secretary she was always good for a laugh or a life lesson or both; her “It’s a business of sadists and masochists and you know which one you are.” barb to Peggy was a doozy! One of 2010’s funnier deaths, I still chuckle picturing her face down at her desk and being wheeled out covered in Harry’s blanket “My mother made that!”
7. Amy (Emma Bell) on The Walking Dead
Death by: Zombie Attack!
Technically this could count as a bloodbath as Ed was killed also, but the entire scene and my emotional reaction were all cause by Amy’s shocking death (Emma Bell, a recurring actor, was in all the promo material with the lead cast for TWD). The first sacrifice of a series which is sure to have an entry on this list every year was especially hard to stomach. Amy was about as sweet as they come, she’d been protected by her sister Andrea (Laurie Holden) but one a solo trip to the bathroom, she separated from the group and fell victim to a Zombie attack. Technically this could be considered a bloodbath (like #’s 4,2 & 1) with Ed dying and Jim getting bit, but it was Amy’s death that hit us the hardest.
6. Creighton Bernette (John Goodman) on Treme
Death by: Suicide
I never saw it coming. I saw he was in a funk, even like his wife Toni (Melissa Leo) I thought that all he needed was Mardi Gras to cheer him up. It didn’t. His videos got angrier and more dejected. He talked to his class about endings, he went for a walk, tipped Annie (Lucia Micarelli) generously, rode the ferry and bummed a smoke from a fellow passenger, and he was never seen again. Clinical depression can be that subtle I suppose, and in the wake of Katrina’s destruction I can see Bernette’s hopelessness. I find some solace however in Toni’s refusal to give Creighton a second line for his selfish act, she was still rightfully angry (hell, I’m a little angry too). I’ll miss Goodman’s Bernette next season, he was presence and stood out among Treme’s regular ensemble.
5. Renee Walker (Anne Wersching) on 24
Death by: Murder! Assassinated by a sniper
It was the last season of 24, they could have let Jack have some love; Terri Bauer, Nina Meyers, Claudia Hernandez (secret cartel lover) are dead and Audrey is in a coma or a mental hospital, it was the last season and they could of let Jack have a little love. But no, Renee gets shot by an assassin almost immediately after nailing Jack Bauer – like literally minutes post coital. Renee wasn’t the only regular to kick the bucket in season 8, Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor) and Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) got murdered too, but the timing of Renee’s gives her the edge.
4. BLOODBATH: Reed Adamson (Nora Zehetner) & Charles Percy (Robert Baker) on Grey’s Anatomy
Death by: Murder! Shooting rampage by gunman Gary Clark (Michael O’Neill)
Grey’s Anatomy had sucked for 2 or 3 seasons before disgruntled widower Clark brought a gun to Seattle Grace and revitalized this dying series, which is only part of the reason for Grey’s bloodbath being this high, the other reason is the vastly different deaths experience by two recurring characters: Reed and Charles. Reed was shot in the episodes opening minutes, it was precise and sudden and set up the episode tonally. Charles was shot standing up for his profession (“Are you a surgeon?” … … “Yes” BANG), Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and a patient (Mandy Moore) do their best to save a bleeding Charles, but their plans are foiled when no power stops them from moving Percy to the OR and he dies in their arms. The way Miranda let him know his time had come still chokes me up. Charles and Reed may not have been popular but their death mark a return to quality and will thusly be remembered.
3. Jack Shepherd (Matthew Fox) on Lost
Death by: Umm… I guess overexposure to electro magnetism… and stabbed by the MIB (Terry O’Quinn)
I suppose Lost had to end with it’s star‘s death, it was very cyclical and kind of a perfect for the ending to the real life narrative. It was a beautiful scene which Fox played it perfectly. The sombre yet uplifting music along with Jack’s peace of mind in seeing the plane take off and Kate leave safe made for a fitting exit only made better by Vincent laying with Jack in the end.
2. BLOODBATH: Agent June Stahl (Ally Walker) and Jimmy O (Titus Welliver) on Sons of Anarchy
Death by: Revenge Murder! Stahl shot by Opie (Ryan Hurst) and Jimmy stabbed by Chibs (Tommy Flanagan)
Ethan Zoebelle got away and in the finale SOA made up for it. Chibs got his revenge on longtime nemesis and baby thief, Jimmy O; the man that stole his wife and kid and gave him a glasgow smile. Jimmy got the same smile before Chibs gutted the SOB, and as much as I loved Jimmy’s death, I can’t think of a character on a series I’ve wanted to die more than June Stahl. That bitch was just the worst, torturing the Club for three years, her actions lead to much bloodshed and murder. This bitch got what she deserved. Since she set in motion events that resulted in the death of his wife Donna, Opie’s had her number – once even sparring her – but not this time. Opie calmly instructed her, through cries and begs, to get in the front seat. Then he told her “This is what she felt” then he picked up the machine gun and shot her in the back of the head. Both longtime recurring enemies for the gang, both needed to go, and as Opie finally breathed, we all did, feeling the same catharsis he felt fight then. And it felt good.
1. BLOODBATH: Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) and Sun & Jin Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim & Yunjin Kim)
Death by: Murder! Sayid is blown up and Sun & Jin drown all by the bomb of The MIB (Terry O’Quinn)
We knew that in Lost’s final season, like 24’s, there was going to be death and it was going to be hard – we just didn’t know how hard. But the deaths of Sun, Jin and Sayid are still just as numbing as they were on May 4. There is a bomb on the sub, Saywer tricks the failsafe and the timer speeds up. And with “..it’s going to be you, Jack” Sayid takes the bomb and runs offscreen, a second later he explodes. The bomb rocks the sub and traps Sun under debris, and despite their best efforts Jin, Jack, and Sawyer cant set her free. Jin sends them away and stays with Sun, “I wont ever leave you again. I love you Sun”. The submarine descends into the sea as the score and my tears swell. Some people say Sayid’s death was overshadowed by Sun and Jin’s, but I think the opposite. In one fell swoop the MIB took out almost half the candidates, and even though they were separated by a few minutes, I feel psople seem to forget that we lost three beloved characters in just a few minutes, not since the opening minutes of season 5 of 24 has so much happened so fast and meant so much.
Honorable Mentions go to:
David Hale (Taylor Sheridan), Sons of Anarchy – Ran over by Mayans; Katherine Rhumor (Miranda Richardson), Rubicon – Poisoned by Clay Davis; Dell Parker (Chris Lowell), Private Practive – Car Accident Injuries; Gale Boetticher (David Costabile) – Most likely shot in the face by Jesse; Robert McCallister (Rob Lowe), Brothers & Sisters – Killed in car accident.
Anyone you’re shocked I missed? Who’s on your list?
For more Best of 2010, be sure to check out: