A Final Farewell to the TV Characters That Died in 2016

From Poussey to Hodor we lost some real ones.

By Brenden Gallagher

With great television comes great pain. 2016 saw many of our favorite characters and shows ride off into the sunset. Though we live in the era of “too much TV,” that doesn’t mean that great characters and great stories don’t burrow into our hearts and hurt us when they’re gone. As we wave goodbye to this wild year, let’s remember the TV characters we lost. Hopefully, the characters and shows that help us through the next four years will be just as compelling.

  • 1 Hodor, Game of Thrones
    A gang of people died during Season 6 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, but trying to figure out which character we will miss the most is the easy part. Let’s be honest, Hodor’s (Kristian Nairn) passing while holding that door had us all ugly crying and confused.

  • 2 Lexa, The 100
    The CW
    When Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a lesbian character, bit the dust this season, there was a lot of anger from The 100 super fans. This led to some serious self-reflection on the part of many TV writers and critics. Though Lexa may only be known to a small fan base, her death, and the fan response, may have a lasting impact on TV.

  • 3 Nina Krilova, The Americans
    Getty Images
    Nina (Annet Mahendru), was a tough woman who has switched allegiances like geopolitics was a pick-up basketball game. By the time of her death, she was functionally a quadruple agent. And yet, she died as so many TV characters do, when she let her principals get in the way of survival.

  • 4 Theresa Cullen, Westworld
    Westworld has packed tons of plot twists into its first season. One of the most unexpected was the death of Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen), whose short-lived bid for control of Westworld ended as abruptly as a high noon shootout. Though the seeds had been planted for Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) to be revealed as a host, the death of Cullen and the scope of Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) plan took even devoted viewers off guard.

  • 5 Vanessa Ives, Penny Dreadful
    While most deaths on television this season have been tragic, the death of Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) was ultimately a relief. Ives spent three seasons of Penny Dreadful pursued by werewolves, vampires, and even the Devil himself. The character’s life was marked by endless pain: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Ives’ death was among the most peaceful, beautiful moments on television this year.

  • 6 Poussey, Orange is the New Black
    Orange is the New Black lost one of the show’s best characters this season. The effervescent Poussey (Samira Wiley), didn’t make it out of Litchfield alive. Though Poussey’s passing was painful for diehard fans, it was executed with brutal grace. Accidentally choked to death during a prison uprising, Poussey’s passing was reminiscent of Eric Garner and others who have become symbols of the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • 7 Gideon Godard, Mr. Robot
    On television, you can be a good man and you can be a weak man, but if you are a good and weak man, you likely aren’t long for this world. Gideon Godard, played by Michael Gill, is a perfect example of this. His killer said he died for America, but no matter why he died, we all knew it would happen sooner or later.

  • 8 Lucas Goodwin, House of Cards
    You get the sense that Lucas Goodwin (Sebastian Arcelus) would have been good friends with Gideon Godard. Both men got way in over their heads, surrounded by people infinitely more cunning than they were. In the end, Goodwin did take the Underwood’s bodyguard Meechum (Nathan Darrow) with him, which is more than we expected from him.

  • 9 Pablo Escobar, Narcos
    They say that you shouldn’t hold story for next season. Narcos has learned that lesson in the most brutal way. Rather than try to build suspense for binge watchers, Netflix decided to advertise season two as Pablo Escobar’s (Wagner Moura) last stand. When it came time to kill off the infamous drug lord, the producers leaned heavily on the DEA agents who worked on the case, putting care into every gory detail of the drug lord’s final moments.

  • 10 Glenn Rhee, The Walking Dead
    The Walking Dead continues to be one of the most popular cable shows of all time. The show left fans with one of its most torturous cliff hangers yet as viewers waiting to see who Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) would take out with his barbed baseball bat named Lucille. It turns out that two characters took the L: first Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), then fan favorite Glenn (Steven Yeun).

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  • 14 Wes, How to Get Away With Murder
    The death of Wes (Alfred Enoch) resolved a long-awaited cliffhanger on How to Get Away With Murder. Though Annalise (Viola Davis) was the intended target, the lovable underdog passed away instead. But wait, in yet another twist, we learn that Wes was dead before the fire started, proving once again that you never know the full weight of a twist on HTGAWM until all the cards are on the table.