2007 saw the end of some of our favorite characters on television. Major cast members were being killed off almost every single week, particularly during May and November. From beloved series regulars to memorable guest stars, the “In Memoriam” montage for this year would be longer for fictional characters than it would for real people.
While putting together our list, we tried to pick the most important deaths, the ones that came at a price. Some of the deaths were sudden, others were a long time coming, and yet others were off-screen and quite comical, though with devastating results.
But before we get into our official list of the seven saddest deaths, wed like to take some time out to pay tribute to many of the other fictional people we lost this year who didn’t make the list.
Meredith’s mom and George’s dad both passed away on Grey’s Anatomy. Bradford Meade bit the big one on Ugly Betty. Many of the Others, including Mr. Friendly, as well as Locke’s father were killed on Lost. Tommy’s baby, William Walker, Jr. lived a tragically short life on Brothers & Sisters. Gaby’s husband Mayor Victor Lang was impaled by a fence post on Desperate Housewives.
Another TV mayor, Jericho‘s Johnston Green, was gunned down during the finale, though miraculously the show survived. The Unit member Hector Williams was shockingly killed off this year. Scrubs killed off Nurse Laverne for no good reason. A whole lot of Heroes died (or did they?), including Isaac, Simone, Niki, D.L., Kaito Nakamura and Nathan Petrelli, to name a few. 24‘s Milo Pressman got a bullet to the head.
On cable, more than half the cast of Rome was axed as the show sped through history to find the deaths of Brutus, Cicero, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Servilia, and Lucius Vorenus, to name a few. In the final season of The Sopranos, Johnny Sack succumbed to lung cancer, Christopher was choked to death, Phil Leotardo was shot and then his car ran over his head, and Bobby Baccalieri was whacked in the model train store. On Showtime’s Dexter, Sergeant Doakes met his maker in a giant explosion.
Dennis and Dee’s mom died on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, while the Chief on Rescue Me and Ray Fiske on Damages both committed suicide. Also on Rescue Me, Tommy’s dad died quietly sitting next to his son at a baseball game. Starbuck “died” on Battlestar Galactica, though that doesn’t count since she came back in the finale. There was also The Master from Doctor Who and dorky J.T. from Degrassi: The Next Generation.
And even in the world of soap operas, daytime staples like John Black on Days of our Lives and Emily Quartermaine on General Hospital passed away.
If you’re a big enough fan of television, then you probably think you know who we haven’t mentioned yet, and therefore, must be on our list of the top seven. Are you right?
#7 – Sheriff Don Lamb
Sheriff Don Lamb (Michael Muhney) was one of the unsung heroes on that gem of a teenage noir series Veronica Mars. Although Lamb didn’t have the investigative chops to compete with either Mars, Keith or Veronica (Enrico Colantoni and Kristen Bell) in the field, he had enough bluster and bravado to never back down from them and to counter all their quips with equally sarcastic snarks of his own.
And so, it was with deep sadness for us viewers, who have grown to love to hate Lamb, when he finally bit the big one, felled by Richard Grieco’s baseball bat in the episode “Mars, Bars.” Sheriff Lamb went out on a M*A*S*H-inspired note, with his infamous last words: “I smell bread.” And with that, he went up to see the big Wizard in the sky.
#6 – Dr. Sara Tancredi
I’m not sure that I was exactly sad for Sara that she died on Prison Break, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of her character in the first place. I was sadder for Michael, who has felt the weight of the lives lost so he could get himself and his brother free piling up on him. Michael’s first intention was good: free his brother, an innocent man on death row who was set up for a murder he didn’t commit. Instead, the path Michael took caused innocent people and not so innocent people to lose their lives.
Michael and Sara had been separated after he broke out of Fox River but they finally made their way back to each other. Though he hurt her by using her as a way to break out and indirectly causing the murder of her father, the two still fell in love and had a very deep connection. She and Lincoln’s son, LJ, were kidnapped and held by The Company. When Michael and his brother didn’t play by the rules, they delivered Sara’s head in a box to Linc as a message. If The Company kills LJ too, I’m not sure Michael will have any other reason to fight his way out of Sona or cooperate with the agency. That will just spell trouble for everybody.
#5 – Tony Soprano
You can see that question mark up above, and you probably understand why it’s there. We never saw Tony Soprano die and the final moments of The Sopranos didn’t obviously suggest that he would perish. But, it is my belief that David Chase wanted us to believe that Tony did die. There have been million of words written, theorizing about what the final moments of the finale meant, but I think all one needs is a simple analysis.
what the final moments of the finale meant, but I think all one needs is a simple analysis. What else would a quick cut to black symbolize, other than death? David Chase is a smart guy, and there’s nothing else that cut could represent. The music literally stopped, and if Tony were to be shot by the Member’s Only guy, it’d be that quick. One second, the music is playing and your family is there, the next second: black. If we are to believe Tony did die at that booth, then it is definitely sad, as he was killed in front of his family.
#4 – Curtis Manning
Curtis, no! There were audible gasps from the rapt audience when Curtis Manning was shot in the neck by his friend Jack Bauer on 24. This took place before the sixth season of 24 took a turn for the worst, so all the viewers were still on board. Curtis, however, was not on board with Jack and CTU helping out a known terrorist who had been responsible for the deaths of some of Curtis’s former compatriots.
Curtis had a gun to the terrorist’s head and was about to shoot him. Jack, knowing the importance the terrorist had to national security, bit the bullet and shot his friend Curtis in the neck, killing him. It was devastating moment. Curtis had probably run his course as a character, but that doesn’t mean a bullet to the neck was how he had to go.
#3 – Santos
Ugly Betty is one of those shows that is hard to categorize. Its strength lies in seamless way that the scenes switch back and forth from comedy to tragedy. And there was nothing quite so tragic as the death of Santos in first season finale.
Santos was on his way to see his son Justin (Mark Indelicato) perform in his school’s production of West Side, he stops at a convenience store and finds himself in a hostage situation. He is shot while trying to defend the store clerk from the gunman. It was heartbreaking to see, especially because he had been successfully turning his life around, being a better father to Justin and about to marry Hilda (Ana Ortiz).
The worst part was that we had to wait the entire summer to find out what happened to him. In the second season premiere this fall, taking place three weeks after the shooting, we find Hilda spending the day in bed with Santos, who is alive and well and recovering from his gunshot wound. They happily plan details of their upcoming wedding and their rosy future ahead of them. But sadly, we find out at the end of the episode that it was all in Hilda’s mind. If the scene in which Hilda brings herself to admit to Betty (America Ferrara) that Santos is gone didn’t bring a tear to your eye, then you, my friend, are made of stone.
#2 – Sprinkles the Cat
We all knew that Sprinkles wasn’t doing well. She needed insulin, an ace inhibitor, cream, and pills to keep her health in tact. The thing is – Sprinkles is a cat. A cat that became too sick for Dwight Schrute to tolerate. On the season 4 premiere of The Office, Dwight euthanized his girlfriend’s cat, causing sadness to animal (and Dwangela) lovers everywhere.
Back in September of this year, Angela made a simple request of Dwight: go to her house and take care of Sprinkles. Give her insulin, her ace inhibitor, pills, and cream. Instead, he shoved Sprinkles in the freezer and left her there to die, as she tried to claw her way out through the bags of frozen French fries. When Dwight eventually admits in the middle of the Michael Scott’s Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Fun Run Race for the Cure that he killed Sprinkles, it ended one of my favorite television romances of all time.
Since then, Andy has stepped up and tried to win Angela’s heart but it’s apparent that she still has feelings for Dwight. Can she go back to someone who did such a terrible thing to her beloved cat? He tried to make it up to her by giving her a cat named Garbage but it’s just not the same. I’ve never wished for a cat to be alive more so that I can watch my two favorite characters call each other “monkey” once again.
#1 – Charlie Pace
I’ll admit that I lost a bit of love for Charlie during season 2 of Lost. Knocking out Sun and acting so nutty that Locke had to punch him in the face made him a little less endearing than he was during the first year of the series. That’s why I was so happy when the sane, caring version of Charlie returned in season three. It was as though the very possibility of his impending death healed his soul.
Though we finally got the adorable Charlie back, it didn’t last long. Our favorite rock star sacrificed his life in the third season finale, knowing that his death would allow his beloved Claire to be rescued from the island. It was a noble sacrifice from a guy who was never much of a hero, and a beautiful end for his character.
Even before his demise, Charlie got a wonderful send off in the episode “Greatest Hits,” which highlighted the five best moments of his life. Number one on the list was “The day I met you,” referring to the first time he met Claire. Anyone who was able to keep their eyes dry during that heartbreaking scene is a much stronger person than I am.
(Image courtesy of the CW)