When a character suddenly dies on your favorite TV show, you go through the usual stages of grief: shock, sadness, hoping it’s a dream sequence, Facebook petition, reruns, Twitter rant, and, finally, acceptance. Questions arise when a fan-favorite is suddenly cut from the story line. Is it just for ratings, or is there a bigger behind-the-scenes drama going on? Here are 12 TV stars who were killed off for reasons that may surprise you.
1. Susan on Seinfeld
Heidi Swedberg played George Costanza’s fiancée Susan. She was killed off for apparently “lacking chemistry” with Jason Alexander. Susan died doing what she loved: licking poisonous glue on envelopes of wedding invitations.
2. Matthew on Downton Abbey
If you’re still trying to recover from Matthew Crawley’s sudden death on Downton Abbey, you are not alone. The actor, Dan Stevens, wanted off the show, so the writers killed him off in a car accident. Simply devastating.
3. Charlie on Two and a Half Men
Back when Charlie Sheen was #WINNING, he said a bunch of bad things about Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre. Charlie was killed off when a train hit him and he exploded “like a balloon full of meat.”
4. Chef on South Park
Isaac Hayes was hilarious as Chef on South Park, but he couldn’t handle the heat in the kitchen when the show decided to poke fun at Scientology. Chef died violently by falling off a bridge, smacking boulders, getting impaled by a branch, and finally having his extremities ripped off by a mountain lion and a grizzly.
5. Prue on Charmed
Bad girl Shannon Doherty was written off of 90210 for having a Brenda/Kelly feud IRL. Her next big role was on Charmed, where the actress couldn’t get along with her costar Alyssa Milano. She was killed off the show when a Fabio/Thriller demon shot lighting out his hands and put her though a wall.
You need to watch this video of her death to truly remember how cheesy this show was:
6. Eddie on Cheers
Jay Thomas, the actor who played Carla’s husband Eddie on Cheers, thought it would be funny to publicly call Rhea Perlman ugly on his radio show. The writers didn’t agree. They killed off Eddie in freak Zamboni accident.
7. T.R. Knight and Patrick Dempsey on Grey’s Anatomy
Shonda Rhimes killed off Dr. O’Malley and Dr. McDreamy after they expressed they weren’t happy with the direction of their characters on the show. Knight got smashed by a bus in 2009, and six years later, McDreamy got creamed by a car when it was his time to go.
8. Marissa From The OC
Mischa Barton, who played Marissa Cooper in the teen drama The OC, wanted out of her contract to pursue movie roles. Her character died in the arms of her bad-boy boyfriend after a fiery car crash.
9. Harrison on Scandal
Columbus Short, who played Harrison, found himself in a real life scandal when his wife charged him with domestic violence. He was quickly killed off.
10. Bo on Days of Our Lives
While people constantly die (and return from the dead) on soap operas, fans were heartbroken in 2015 when Bo Brady died after 32 years on Days of Our Lives. Peter Reckell, who played Bo, said he wanted to move on to other things, but fingers crossed, his evil twin will come back someday and re-marry Hope.
11. Edie on Desperate Housewives
Nicollette Sheridan played Edie Britt on the ABC series, but she couldn’t get along with her costars or the showrunner Marc Cherry. Edie crashed her car into an electric pole and got electrocuted by the wires. Talk about a shocking death.