BY JEFFERSON GRUBBS
Is 2015 the year that television finally took shocking deaths too far? The modern reign of the Grim Reaper has been increasing every year, starting with broadcast shows like Grey's Anatomy and Lost before being thrown into a veritable frenzy by cable programs like Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead. It would probably be impossible to make a list of literally every character that perished onscreen (and off) over the course of the past calendar year. But we'll do our best with this list of some of the most TV shocking deaths of 2015.
Sometime this season, showrunners went from killing characters with apparent glee to using our fear of death to craft cheap cliffhangers. Not one, but four shows this year appeared to kill off leading male characters... before it became painfully clear that they would soon be popping up again alive and well. (Yeah, we're talking about you, Game Of Thrones, The Leftovers, True Detective, and The Walking Dead.) The affected characters in the latter two shows have already been resurrected, disqualifying them from entry on this list. (Sorry, Kevin Garvey, Glenn Rhee. Colin Farrell's Ray Velcoro was later killed off for good, but that didn't come as much of a shock to anyone.)
But there were still plenty of deaths that stuck. Here, ranked by shock value, are the 19 TV deaths that fans are likely still mourning this holiday season:
10. Sharon Knowles, Mr. Robot
Before he strangled the life from an innocent woman on a Manhattan rooftop, we already knew that Tyrell Wellick was a dangerous man. But we didn't fully grasp how dangerous — or how increasingly unhinged he was becoming — until an illicit tryst slowly and horribly transformed into murder before our very eyes. Every little detail of the scene, from Sharon's shoe flying off in the struggle to the way the music cut out as Tyrell realized what he'd done, was perfectly calibrated to enhance our distress even further.
7. James Plouffe, Mr. Robot
Given that the Season 1 finale was delayed by USA due to the shocking on-air shootings of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, viewers knew going in that something terrible was going to happen. That's the only thing that made this scene sliiightly less shocking than it otherwise would have been. After fsociety brought down Evil Corp, this disgraced exec took the only way out he could see: by committing suicide live on air, with the emotionless camera lingering far longer than the stunned viewers at home probably would have liked.
5. Shayla Nico, Mr. Robot
Wow, three Mr. Robot deaths in the Top 10. The first season of USA's acclaimed hacker drama was a deadly one, but the most shocking death was that of Elliot's love interest (and drug dealer) Shayla. She was the one thing tying the delusional programmer to a normal life, and her loss — after an entire episode spent trying to get her back from the clutches of Vera — was a serious blow to our protagonist... and to our own emotional well-being, to boot.