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Author Topic: OT - Most Impactful TV Deaths
Curt Injurker
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Interesting topic of discussion at the cigar parlor today, and I wanted to open it up to the Forum for their thoughts. Defining "impactful" in any way you'd like, what are your picks for Most Impactful Deaths in TV History?

My Top Three:

1) Zito - Miami Vice - The Mark Breland two-parter might be my favorite Miami Vice ever. And then scene when Switek finds Zito still gets me when I catch the episode in reruns.

2) Mrs. Landingham - West Wing - John Spencer's performance after Charlie gives him the news is masterful, and sells the scene in a way that not even Sorkin dialogue could. Plus it is the catalyst for my favorite episode of tv ever (Season 2 finale - Two Cathedrals).

3) Adrianna - Sopranos - You knew it was coming and it STILL was staggering. From Christopher running in to the "civillians" at the gas statio to Adrianna's daydream in the car, the last fifteen minutes have such an incredible tone.

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SWW72 from FL
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Henry Blake _ M*A*S*H

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SWW72

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dthcm
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"I have a message. Lt. Col. Henry Blake's plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan. It spun in, there were no survivors."
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SWW72 from FL
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Henry Blake _ M*A*S*H

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gulascantfoolus
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Edith Bunker

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gulascantfoolus is the greatest
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Skullbutt
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Jack Ruby
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Stephen Gennarelli
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Brian Piccolo - 1970 ABC Movie of the Week "Brian's Song" - One of the All Time great tearjerkers.

Col Blake - "M*A*S*H" - As a kid watching at home I was completely devastated by it.

Edith Bunker - "All in the Family" - It may have actually happened on "Archie Bunker's Place", but her death was so moving and well played by Carroll O'Conner

Rosalind Shays - "LA Law" - The elevator shaft.
That was real water cooler talk back in the day.

Ralphie - "Sopranos" - If that brawl didn't affect you ...you might not have a pulse.

Janice shoots & kills her boyfriend - "Sopranos" -
It just happens in the middle of the episode and it feels so real and so brutal.

Christopher's death - "Sopranos" - One of those episodes that forever changes the "Sopranos" series.

JR Ewing - On the fondly remembered "reboot" of "Dallas", JR finally goes on to his great reward sadly due to the passing of TV icon Larry Hagman. Really heartfelt due to how everyone felt about Larry.

This Week's Top TV Death - Reyna James - "Nashville" - My wife and I flooded out the living room with tears on this one.

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KobashiChop
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Blake's 7

The whole cast plus the returning Roj Blake.

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codystarbuck
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Definitely Henry Blake; it was like a gut-punch, coming out of nowhere.

Serina's, on Battlestar Galactica (original) was quite powerful, as Boxey has to say goodbye to his mother and then Apollo and Boxey have to be strong for each other.

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"The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues." —Terry Pratchett

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Guacamole Anderson
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Shane on the Shield. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.
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Shaving Weezie Jefferson
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Henry Blake on M*A*S*H
Edith Bunker on All in the Family
Dr. Auschlander on St. Elsewhere
Gary on thirtysomething
Maureen Bauer on Guiding Light
Jenny Calendar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Herschel on Walking Dead
Fred on Angel
Everybody at the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones
Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street

[ 03-12-2017, 06:04 PM: Message edited by: Shaving Weezie Jefferson ]

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SWW72 from FL
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Officer Joe Coffey on Hill Street Blues. Didn't see it coming at all.

[ 03-12-2017, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: SWW72 from FL ]

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Rob from IA
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Henry Blake and Edith Bunker were gut punchers for sure.

Nearly everyone ended up dying on Sons of Anarchy, but Opie's death (after his wife and dad's previously) was the saddest.

Dan Connor on Roseanne, even though we didn't find out until the finale that the character had died from the heart attack.

A couple real life ones incorporated into the show, Nicholas Colasanto from Cheers and John Ritter on 8 Simple Rules.

[ 03-12-2017, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: Rob from IA ]

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Tatsuya
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Even though it was the finale and didn't impact the series at all but Jack Arnold on The Wonder Years.

Guess I expected him to at one point just let Wayne take over the business and enjoy retirement but turned out he didn't live much longer after the series ended

Agree with Henry Blake, Edith Bunker and Joe Coffey.

It was done comedically but Susan on Seinfeld was like "whoa they went there"

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cheapseats
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William from "This is Us" as far as recent
programming but another vote for Henry Blake.

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Blue Thunder
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gennarelli:
Brian Piccolo - 1970 ABC Movie of the Week "Brian's Song" - One of the All Time great tearjerkers.

Col Blake - "M*A*S*H" - As a kid watching at home I was completely devastated by it.

Edith Bunker - "All in the Family" - It may have actually happened on "Archie Bunker's Place", but her death was so moving and well played by Carroll O'Conner

Rosalind Shays - "LA Law" - The elevator shaft.
That was real water cooler talk back in the day.

Ralphie - "Sopranos" - If that brawl didn't affect you ...you might not have a pulse.

Janice shoots & kills her boyfriend - "Sopranos" -
It just happens in the middle of the episode and it feels so real and so brutal.

Christopher's death - "Sopranos" - One of those episodes that forever changes the "Sopranos" series.

JR Ewing - On the fondly remembered "reboot" of "Dallas", JR finally goes on to his great reward sadly due to the passing of TV icon Larry Hagman. Really heartfelt due to how everyone felt about Larry.

This Week's Top TV Death - Reyna James - "Nashville" - My wife and I flooded out the living room with tears on this one.

I take it you're a Sopranos fan. [Wink]
Yeah, Ralphie getting whacked was kind of a shocker when one considers this was the same episode everyone rallied around him after his kid nearly died. I didn't see that one coming.

Adrianna Lecerva's death was such a great swerve. I didn't see that one coming.

Probably the TV death that affected me the most was Shane killing Lem on the Shield. That was shocking on many levels. Shane was by far the most decent of the bunch. Out of all of those guys, he was the last one who I wanted to see get killed. That killing came out of nowhere and seeing Shane beg for forgiveness was beyond dramatic.

Omar Little getting killed on the Wire was a shocker. He was certainly the anti-hero of the show. Here's this bad ass feared gangster getting picked off by a 12 year old kid.

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UCW SLAM
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Glenn on Walking Dead was a recent one.
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awafan
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Opie on Sons Anarchy.
Adrianna on the Sopranos.

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Billy Burgess
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quote:
Originally posted by Shaving Weezie Jefferson:

Maureen Bauer on Guiding Light

Deaths on daytime TV often seemed a dime-a-dozen, especially on a show like Edge of Night, which was mostl mystery-based, and would every so often have a long-running, beloved character like Adam Drake, played by Donald May, become a murder victim. And of course, the "character returns from the dead" trope has been trotted out so much that few deaths appear permanent.

The loss of Maureen Bauer, last played by the amazing Ellen Parker, was a really hard one to take. At that point Mo, as she was called, was essentially the matriarch of what was left of the once-dominant Bauer family on the show. You pretty much knew Mo wasn't coming back, unless it was in flashback or as a ghost (which may have happened. But I think the loss of Maureen was something from which the show never quite recovered (as good as Kim Zimmer was as Reva Shayne Lewis, I think Ellen Parker was on an entirely different level). Killing Maureen off was one of daytime TV's biggest mistakes.

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Pillsbury
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Ned Stark from Game of Thrones.

Stringer Bell from The Wire.

And the dad from Good Times,I can't believe I can't remember his name.

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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have FIVE SUPER BOWL RINGS!!!.......FIVE!!!

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Shaving Weezie Jefferson
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quote:
Originally posted by Billy Burgess:
quote:
Originally posted by Shaving Weezie Jefferson:

Maureen Bauer on Guiding Light

Deaths on daytime TV often seemed a dime-a-dozen, especially on a show like Edge of Night, which was mostl mystery-based, and would every so often have a long-running, beloved character like Adam Drake, played by Donald May, become a murder victim. And of course, the "character returns from the dead" trope has been trotted out so much that few deaths appear permanent.

The loss of Maureen Bauer, last played by the amazing Ellen Parker, was a really hard one to take. At that point Mo, as she was called, was essentially the matriarch of what was left of the once-dominant Bauer family on the show. You pretty much knew Mo wasn't coming back, unless it was in flashback or as a ghost (which may have happened. But I think the loss of Maureen was something from which the show never quite recovered (as good as Kim Zimmer was as Reva Shayne Lewis, I think Ellen Parker was on an entirely different level). Killing Maureen off was one of daytime TV's biggest mistakes.

Kim Zimmer was always too over-the-top (like Susan Lucci). Ellen Parker is as real as they get. Not a false note in her.
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Shaving Weezie Jefferson
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And they killed Mo off because of a single focus group. But it sent the show into a ratings tailspin that it never fully recovered from.
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Curt Injurker
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---I can't believe I forgot about James from Good Times - that one hurt. And John Amos could have shown up twice on my top 10 or 20 List, as I'm a big West Wing fan, and him dying as Admiral Fitzwallace was another one that I still remember as being well done.

---So.....I was the one guy in the world who didn't watch MASH (dodges tomatoes). I loved the movie so much, and the tv show was so different, that I punted on it after a couple of episodes. I don't know if that makes me a proto-hipster, or just ignorant to good television ( [Smile] ), but that is why I was surprised that the first three responses where all a consensus for Henry Blake.

---Great call on Opie from Sons of Anarchy. Like Adrianna on The Sopranos, it was crazy that a death could stand out after SO many other deaths on the show, but his "I got this" was so well done.

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Kilroy
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quote:
Originally posted by SWW72 from FL:
Henry Blake _ M*A*S*H

This. IMO this is at the top of the pile and everything else is below it.

That said, not sure if it was the most "impactful" but one of the most shocking ones IMO was Shireen on Game of Thrones..burned at the stake, her screaming actually messed me up for a bit and I knew damned well it was just a TV show but good lord...

Also, it's a cartoon, but that episode of Family Guy where Brian dies was pretty good..

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BRUNORULZ
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As much as I love this site for all the wrestling knowledge/opinions,etc. It's topics like this that make me love this site even more ! Great topic!

And I ,too,have to put Henry Blake's death as the one ,imo, with the most impact!

Just the silence in the scene as the surgeons had to keep on operating and HotLips crying, was just devastating !

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Dissin' Terry Funk
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This won't make anyone's list, because it's so obscure, but when Cindy Lake took a bullet meant for Paul Williams, then died in his arms that was a really sad moment on Y&R. I know there have been more high profile deaths on the show(which I quit watching LONG ago), but that one really tugged at my heartstrings for some reason.....
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Magnum GA
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Another nod to Henry Blake. It was impactful to me as a 9 year old because of Radar relaying the message to the rest of the 4077th. He was not only a father figure to Radar, but also to everyone. Radar lost a father, so did everyone.

I've only seen the episode once (surprising since I have seen just about every other one multiple times), yet I can remember it today as if I just watched it last night.

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Stephen Gennarelli
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Having seen it probably 5 or 6 times since, I can testify that it still packs an emotional punch even though I know the words "Radar" is about to deliver.
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Shaving Weezie Jefferson
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gennarelli:
Having seen it probably 5 or 6 times since, I can testify that it still packs an emotional punch even though I know the words "Radar" is about to deliver.

Yup. Getting chills just thinking about it. Especially given the way they're all chatting and joking in the OR as Radar comes in. The timing was just flawless and felt realer than real.
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TerryR
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Some good ones on The Wire.

Spoiler if you haven't seen it.

I'll qualify Bodie's death as impactful in this case as notable due to the foresight of the writers, and just the symbolism involved.

In the show's first season, Bodie is helping deal drugs in a low rise project. He is taught by the guy running that location how to play chess by relating the pieces to how their own gang's hierarchy is (pawns are the frontline, King is the leader etc).

Flash forward to season 4 and Bodie has his own corner, but is getting targeted by a rival. The way the shooting is, well, shot, is that the rival shooters are moving like bishops and finally a guy moves out of nowhere like a knight to shoot him. Very neat detail.

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Curt Injurker
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"The King stays the King....." The Wire had so many great (is it weird using that term) character send-offs.

My personal favorite was Snoop.

Talking hard even after Mike got the drop on her. Berating him, telling him why he wasn't cut out for this life and then....at the last moment....the most violent, unrepentant character on the show asks Mike how her hair looks. Such a great last line to end on.

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tamalie from MN
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Because "Colony" on USA is only in its second season, I'm going to keep my mouth shut on which character this is since others may be watching, but not up to date, or plan to. There is a character's death on that show this season that due to the circumstances will choke up and stick with even the most cynical viewer.
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mckinneydg
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quote:
Originally posted by Guacamole Anderson:
Shane on the Shield. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.

Same show, but Lem's was worse for me.

Now I see Blue Thunder mentioned it already. It really was a rough one.

Although, did you mean to say Lem was the most decent of the bunch instead of Shane? Lem and Ronnie were always the two Strike Teamers you felt the most sympathy for (even though they were all dirty.)

[ 03-13-2017, 09:50 AM: Message edited by: mckinneydg ]

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Daddy Dewdrop
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Can't believe no one's yet mentioned Hank on Breaking Bad.
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Travlr
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Several terrific ones mentioned already.

I'm going to toss in Joyce Summers, Buffy's mom from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A supporting character that acted in many ways as a surrogate mother to the whole Scooby Gang. Buffy finding her mother at the end of "I Was Made To Love You" was devistating, and Geller nailed the response so many of us would have had coming home to find their parent dead. The following episode, "The Body" is an exceptional episode the deals with the familial shock of Joyce's entirely natural demise.

Yeah, not Henry's or Edith' or Mrs. Landingham's on The West Wing (which also set up a remarkable follow-up episode of its own), but a big turning point in the series.

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a fan since '68....

"Reputation is what others think about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. The friction tends to arise when the two are not the same.... Guard your honor; let your reputation fall where it may."

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Stephen Gennarelli
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Great catch, Daddy Dewdrop...!!!
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Mississippi fan
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For me, Edith Bunker, Henry Blake, James Evans & Barney Miller's Detective Yomaha (Jack Soo).

[ 03-13-2017, 10:38 AM: Message edited by: Mississippi fan ]

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The Coach
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quote:
Originally posted by gulascantfoolus:
Edith Bunker

This

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Shaving Weezie Jefferson
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quote:
Originally posted by Travlr:


I'm going to toss in Joyce Summers, Buffy's mom from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A supporting character that acted in many ways as a surrogate mother to the whole Scooby Gang. Buffy finding her mother at the end of "I Was Made To Love You" was devistating, and Geller nailed the response so many of us would have had coming home to find their parent dead. The following episode, "The Body" is an exceptional episode the deals with the familial shock of Joyce's entirely natural demise.


Also a great one. "The Body" deserved an Emmy. One of the finest hours of television ever produced in my opinion.
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phoenixkeeper
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How about Taraji P. Henson's character on Person of Interest. Surprised that hasn't been mentioned either.
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