By Verne Gay
Death, be not proud. Or, on second thought, be proud. Be what- ever you like. You never cared what anyone thought, anyway, especially on TV.
And what a TV year for you — mayhem, destruction, a beheading, a kitchen fork. Your methods, your variety, your sheer virtuosity made 2013 a macabre masterpiece. BuzzFeed, the website, tallied 65 major TV deaths a couple of days ago. It was an incomplete list.
There are all sorts of reasons for the killing (beginning with “violence sells”), but TV also has learned that there’s no easier way to galvanize fans than offing a major character.
Today, I rank 10 key deaths, in order of importance. Certain shows don’t really count, by the way — “American Horror Story,” for example, where death is cheap, commonplace and sometimes not even for the whole season.
333METHOD OF DISPATCH: Shot
IMPORTANCE: Henson’s Det. Jocelyn Carter — gunned down protecting Reese (Jim Caviezel) — was a shock to “POI” fans who are not accustomed to witnessing the death of a core part of the show’s chemistry and formula. Henson had other career plans, so no holiday for death here.
IMPORTANCE: Showtime wouldn’t let producers off Dex (Michael C. Hall), so Next Best Victim, Deb. A bit of a surprise — yes — but the show was over, anyway.
IMPORTANCE: Expected, or this would rank higher, but the end came to one of the most important characters in TV history.
222M.O.D.: Multiple gunshots
IMPORTANCE: Could and maybe should go much higher here, except this ending has been expected for a few seasons. Even so, Perlman was a core asset — a particularly fine actor who made Morrow vile, depraved, rotten, nasty and yet ... strangely human.
222M.O.D.: Broadsword to the neck
IMPORTANCE: Good, decent Hershel who saved his people from the plague, who wouldn’t even shoot “walkers” at first. But gone he is, by the sword of The Governor (David Morrissey) .
222M.O.D.: Gunshot in shootout WITH THE “NAZIS”SDRq
IMPORTANCE: Hank was the white hat — the Last Good Guy, who grew in complexity, subtlety, intelligence over five seasons — arguably more than any other character.
222M.O.D.: Kitchen fork
IMPORTANCE: More shocking, horrific, perhaps than “important.” She was brutally offed by Gemma (Katey Sagal) in a mistaken rampage, thinking she was about to go to the feds.
IMPORTANCE: The most human character on “Empire” and — getting beyond the fact that he is a ruthless killer — the most sympathetic. His loss hurts the series in ways stricken fans can’t even begin to imagine.
222M.O.D.: Throat slit
IMPORTANCE: Insanely shocking death scene at the infamous “Red Wedding” in a season that also saw the end of her son, Robb Stark (Richard Madden).
IMPORTANCE: The most important death of the TV season because this resets “Homeland.” The first three seasons are over. A brand new story begins in the fourth.