The Returned

TV Characters We Wish We Could Bring Back from the Dead

We grow attached to TV characters. It just happens. Especially when they’re on a show we love—even when we hate them, it’s damn hard to say goodbye. So we’re letting ourselves indulge in a little “what if” therapy and naming our top characters we’d bring back from the dead. SPOILER ALERT: Do not continue reading if you are behind on any dramatic series from AMC, HBO, FX or Showtime. We’re assuming you’re all caught up on Lost

1. Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), Lost
Washed-up rock star, junkie, thief… Charlie was far from perfect. But his was also one of the sweetest redemption stories in a series full of them: He protected single mom Claire (Emilie de Ravin) and baby Aaron; became fast friends with Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick); and, eventually, sacrificed his own life to save his friends—warning them in his last moments (who could forget “Not Penny’s Boat”?).

2. Eddard (Sean Bean), Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) and Robb Stark (Richard Madden), Game of Thrones
There’s no shortage of dearly departed characters in the GoT universe, but the first truly shocking death knell was the execution of patriarch Ned Stark (Sean Bean) by horrid little King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). Followed not long after by the gruesome Red Wedding and the dishonorable slayings of Ned’s widow, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) and heir, Robb (Richard Madden)—not to mention his pregnant wife—and with them, the last great hopes for the realm.

3. Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), Breaking Bad
He starts off as a one-dimensional tough guy, but Hank evolves throughout the series as the most worthy of opponents (and counterpoints) to antihero Walt (Bryan Cranston). Canny and complex, Hank is relentless in his pursuit of meth king Heisenberg, and his smarts and persistence finally pay off as he cracks the case—with tragic consequences. To his credit, he dies bravely, defiantly, and his brother-in-law Walt weeps at his death (as did we).

4. Hershel (Scott Wilson), The Walking Dead
He was the voice of reason on the show, he saved lives and Rick relied on him, but all that couldn’t save Herschel in the end. When the Governor beheaded him in front of the prison and Rick’s whole gang, we reached for a box of tissues. Or three.

5. Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) and Bertram Cooper (Robert Morse), Mad Men
Fundamentally a gentle soul who becomes overwhelmed by a mounting pile of debt and general unhappiness, Lane brings about his own demise when he embezzles money from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. After Don (Jon Hamm) asks him to make an “elegant exit,” he instead hangs himself in his office—but only after composing his resignation letter. Perhaps no one on this list had such a jovial send-off as Bertam Cooper—with a song and dance routine set to “The Best Things in Life Are Free”—but that doesn’t make us miss Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s Yoda any less.

6. Rita Morgan (Julie Benz), Dexter
The violent end to one of the show’s most beloved characters, Dexter’s wife, Rita, was absolutely devastating—and a complete shock. In his cat-and-mouse game with the serial Trinity Killer (John Lithgow), Dexter finally took out his rival—but too late, as he returns home to find Rita brutally slain in the bathtub. The fact that their son, Harrison, was sitting crying in a pool of his mother’s blood, made this especially heartbreaking. Note that Rita remains alive in the book series, so we can in fact bring her back from the dead by reading about her!

7. Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins), The Shield
In a show full of unsavory characters who have no trouble stabbing one another in the back, then making amends, then doing it all over again, it should perhaps have come as no surprise that Shane met such a horrible end—poisoning his son and pregnant wife and shooting himself in the head. We wish the lot of them could’ve had a different fate; it even shook the nearly unflappable Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), Shane’s former best friend and partner, who drove him to it.

8. Stringer Bell (Idris Elba), The Wire
Though the writing was on the wall, it was no less shocking when Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) ordered the killing of his old friend and business partner Russell “Stringer” Bell. As Avon’s second-in-command, Stringer attempted to run the Barksdale Organization as a legit business rather than a violent underground drug ring. Needless to say, that didn’t work. But, oh, how we rooted for him to make it happen—and for him to come out on top.

9. Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), The Sopranos
A character that has created the space for ambiguous antiheroes from Breaking Bad‘s Walter White to The Wire‘s Omar Little, Tony Soprano was an imperfect father, husband and crime boss, both ruthless and anxious, a complex mix that made him lovable and despicable at the same time. His very sudden death (if you believe he actually died), in the final scene of the final episode, remains an infuriating, fascinating head-scratcher.

10. Will Gardner (Josh Charles), The Good Wife
It’s hard to pull of the death of a main character, especially one that’s been around since day one. But The Good Wife did just that when they took out Will Gardner in a shocking courthouse shootout. Fans, and quite a few of the show’s characters, were left reeling to this day.

SundanceTV’s THE RETURNED returns this fall.

Tags: / /