The 10 Most Shocking TV Deaths of 2012 - Rolling Stone
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The 10 Most Shocking TV Deaths of 2012

Featuring ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Homeland,’ ‘True Blood’ and more

best tv deaths 2012

Your television screen is spattered with more blood than ever before, what with all the zombies and vampires, meth fiends and Prohibition gangsters who populate our favorite dramas. From the biker treachery of Sons of Anarchy to the boardroom betrayal of Mad Men, it's one big American horror story. Here are 10 of the most brutal, shocking and delectable deaths from the 2012 TV season.

By Sean T. Collins, Erica Futterman, Halle Keifer, Katy Kroll, Sarene Leeds, Bex Schwartz and James Sullivan

true blood

John P. Johnson


‘True Blood’: Russell Edgington Stakes Roman Zimojic (Season Five, Episode Six)

Deaths on True Blood are so commonplace, the only way to shock the fans at this point is to kill off a major character as soon as he or she is introduced. That's exactly what happened to megalomaniac vampire Roman Zimojic, whose storyline came to a screeching halt after just five episodes at the hands of the diabolical Russell Edgington – proving once again that no character, however powerful, is safe on this show. This rule of thumb re-emerged at the season's end, when we bade a blood-teared adieu to Russell himself (staked by Eric Northman, settling a 1,000-year grudge), and when, after downing a vial of vampire goddess Lilith's blood, Bill Compton was reborn an indeterminate hybrid the interwebs have unofficially dubbed "Billith."

elena vampire diaries

Annette Brown/The CW


‘The Vampire Diaries’: Elena Vamps Out (Season Four, Episode One)

Elena Gilbert never stood a chance. Just as Bella Swan's fate was inevitable in the Twilight saga, it was only a matter of time until The Vampire Diaries' Elena turned to the dark side after nearly four seasons of playing footsy with the bloodsucking Salvatore brothers. When mortal Elena seemingly died in a car crash, it begged the question: How could the show lose its leading lady? Indeed, Season Four's opener revealed she had Damon's blood in her system, leaving her with a choice: feed on humans as an immortal or die. And, really, who would choose death over an eternity in the middle of a hot-brother sandwich? Adios, daylight! Hello, newly birthed vamp. Death has never been so becoming.

walkind dead lori grimes

Gene Page/AMC


‘The Walking Dead’: Lori Grimes Delivers (Season Three, Episode Four)

Poor Lori Grimes: For two seasons of The Walking Dead, she was at the center of a bizarre love triangle between her husband and his best friend. By Season Three, she was about to give birth in an abandoned prison, supposedly safe from the ever-present zombie threat. Estranged from her husband (due to the whole "who's-the-baby-daddy" issue), detested by her son and predisposed to delivering babies by C-section, Lori was up against some harrowing odds. But she couldn't die, right? No one ever kills off the hero's wife! Unfortunately for Lori, no one is ever safe on The Walking Dead. During a zombie attack, she went into labor far away from the crew's doctor Hershel (and surrogate medic Carol, who practiced C-sections on a rotten zombie corpse). While her son watched, the doctor's daughter sliced into Lori's abdomen without any anesthetic or actual surgical equipment. She stifled her screams to avoid further zombie detection, but eventually succumbed to the pain before getting to meet her newborn daughter. After witnessing his mother's gruesome death, her son put a bullet into her head to prevent her from turning into a zombie.  Lori Grimes walks this world no more.

gossip girl

Andrew Eccles / The CW


‘Gossip Girl’ (The Series)

"You know you love me, XOXO." Oh, but how we did, dear Gossip Girl! Remember when that show was everything? Dan and Serena! Chuck! Blair (and Nate)! Dorota! The Met steps, little J before she became a punk-rock raccoon, and the time when every masked ball, every fundraiser and every champagne brunch felt like it was the place to be, because it was? Those times became a distant memory sometime around 2010, when ­– seemingly overnight – the show's guilty pleasure appeal became tired and uninspired and we no longer actually cared who was hooking up with whom or when (if) Chuck and Blair would finally play it for keeps. But the CW kept the Josh Schwartz teen show a-churnin' for three more seasons, until, in the spring of 2012, the network finally realized it was time to put the show out of its misery with a half-season order. And so, we raise our glass of champagne to the Upper East Siders. Here's to the good times, despite how long ago they actually were.

adam levine american horror story

Michael Yarish/FX


‘American Horror Story: Asylum’: Adam Levine, Marooned (Season Two, Episode Three)

Have you ever wanted to see Adam Levine brutally gunned down after fighting off a masked serial killer, shortly after watching his arm be ripped from its socket by an unseen humanoid monster? Then 2012 was the year for you! Levine's role in the second season of American Horror Story might have been small (and let's be honest; you never thought of him by any name but "Adam Levine"), but the Maroon 5 singer's early death set the delicious, gory, over-the-top tone for this season's installment of the show. Plus, for all we know, he's not actually dead! Ryan Murphy, you beautiful, mad genius you.

sons of anarchy opie

Prashant Gupta/FX


‘Sons of Anarchy’: Saying Goodbye to a ‘Son’ (Season Five, Episode Three)

There have been plenty of deaths on Sons of Anarchy over the years (see: Piney and Half-Sack), but none shocked fans more than the unexpected demise of Opie, played by Ryan Hurst. The brutal lead-pipe prison beating of the fan favorite left many asking, "Why?" But in the realm of SAMCRO, it was the only way to save Opie's best buddy, Jax, from a similar fate. The onscreen death was compounded by the grisly real-life murder-suicide involving Johnny Lewis, who played the aforementioned Half-Sack, that unfolded just hours after the episode aired. It was a sad example of life imitating art, in the worst possible way.

homeland brody tailor

Bob Leverone/SHOWTIME


‘Homeland’: Brody and the Tailor (Season Two, Episode Three)

As if the epidemic of "distracted driving" weren't bad enough – now our nation's terrorist sleeper agents have to deal with distracted killing, too? Such is life for Homeland's Nicholas Brody, whose assignment by his al Qaeda handlers to whisk their tailor-slash-bombmaker to safety goes tits up in the woods outside Gettysburg. Believing Brody to be his executioner, the tailor makes a break for it, thus turning his fear into a self-fulfilling prophecy – a prophecy that comes true while Brody fields a phone call from his worried wife Jessica, loudly enough for her to hear it happening. "What was that?" "What was what?" Nice save, Congressman.

owen sleater boardwalk empire

Macall B. Polay


‘Boardwalk Empire’: Owen Sleater in a Box (Season Three, Episode 10)

The murder of Boardwalk Empire's most unhinged mobster, Gyp Rosetti, may have been Season Three's splashiest death, but given the battle lines that had been drawn between Gyp and Nucky Thompson, we figured at least one of them would wind up six feet under. It was the subtle, offscreen killing of Nucky's right-hand man, former IRA soldier Owen Sleater, that had us all jumping up from our couches when his body was delivered in a wooden crate to Nucky's Ritz-Carlton suite – a casualty of the botched assassination attempt on Joe Masseria. The consequences of Owen's murder went beyond gangster reindeer games, though: in the season finale, a distraught Margaret Thompson, whose affair with Owen had resulted in an illegitimate pregnancy, made the heart-wrenching decision to abort the baby.

breaking bad mike

Ursula Coyote/AMC


‘Breaking Bad’: Mike’s Quiet Exit (Season Five, Episode Seven)

In the end, he goes peacefully. Okay, sure, he has to tell his murderer to shut the fuck up in order to make it happen. But still, for Breaking Bad's Mike Ehrmentraut – fixer, enforcer, doting grandfather, cold-blooded killer and ersatz partner to Walter "Heisenberg" White – quietly tipping over into oblivion while sitting in the reeds and watching a river flow past in the sunlight is probably the most tranquility his murderous life has afforded him in a long time. Pity he earned these final moments of rest by getting shot in the gut because he hurt Walter White's feefees.

mad men lane pryce

Ron Jaffe/AMC


‘Mad Men’: Lane Pryce Resigns (Season Five, Episode 12)

When Mad Men returned after a 17-month absence this past March, the show appeared to be suffering from a case of uncharacteristic jollies. Namely, Don Draper, womanizer extraordinaire, was happily married and displaying zero signs of infidelity. Yet the fifth season turned out to be especially dark, with the story line of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's financial officer coming to a bleak end in the penultimate episode. After learning that Lane had embezzled funds from the company to pay back taxes, Don was forced to demand the British expatriate's resignation. Personally and professionally humiliated, Lane hangs himself on the door to his office (following a bungled self-asphyxiation attempt in his brand-new Jaguar), leaving his bereaved colleagues to discover his dead body.

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