In some cases, fictional characters were always planned to die. Ned Stark had to go in order to kick off Game of Thrones, Shane from The Walking Dead was always going to turn into zombie food to further the story of Rick Grimes, and Dexter needed to lose his wife in order to progress his personal journey as a serial killer with a strict moral code.
Sometimes, however, television series often need to kill off characters that were never planned to go, for a variety of reasons — whether it’s a contract dispute, a backstage feud, or a real-life death. Here are ten times that major television shows were forced to kill off one of their characters.
Derek Shepherd – Grey’s Anatomy
Oh, McDreamy. Why did you leave us? Dr. Derek Shepherd was a part of Grey’s Anatomy for 11 seasons, as the medical drama routinely did huge ratings and won multiple awards. Eventually, though, actor Patrick Dempsey simply had enough. There was no hard feelings or controversy here — Dempsey just wanted to pursue other projects and being the star of a hit TV show didn’t allow him to do that.
Dempsey and the show agreed to part ways, allowing the writers to create a suitable exit for the beloved character. In some of the most heart wrenching moments of the entire series, Dr. Shepherd suffers a massive head injury after being in a car accident, and Dr. Merideth Grey has to make the agonizing decision to take her brain dead husband off life support.