After Trigger Point last night, it’s time to watch TV’s most shocking deaths – they often come out of nowhere, blinding both TV characters and viewers.
They’re shocking because they shake us – leaving us suddenly bereft after investing in a character.
Of course, a character’s death can also be shocking because of how they leave us. And the scope and scale of TV production means it could involve the most spectacular of deadly circumstances.
***WARNING: Spoilers for the first episode of Trigger Point ahead***
However, characters don’t have to be shattered – as happened with Trigger Point’s Nut – to move audiences.
Shocking TV deaths that have been portrayed much more subtly. And they still contained emotional hits just as poignant as when Wash fell on his partner’s dismembered, bombarded arm.
After the amazing first episode on Sunday night, January 23, here are more television deaths that left viewers stunned.
TV’s Most Shocking Deaths: Georgia Trotman in Line of Duty
Line of Duty showrunner Jed Mercurio is certainly in favor of a twist or two. And DC Trotman’s sudden exit – in every way – certainly came without warning.
But even though Jessica Raine’s time on the show was surprisingly brief, it was certainly emotionally charged.
Read more: Trigger Point reviews and reactions: What did critics and viewers think of the new ITV drama?
With Steve Arnott knocked out, Georgia went after Tommy Hunter’s nurse, who was actually an undercover assassin. Bravely, but almost silently, she battled her male opponent until he hoisted her up and almost casually knocked her out of the hospital window several stories higher, sending Georgia plummeting into her shocking fate.
DCI Cassie Stuart in Unforgotten
How could Cassie leave us like this?
With the end of the fourth series, external forces unrelated to her job or her life intruded into Cassie’s.
Hit head-on by another car while she was driving, Cassie underwent surgery.
However, her head injury was too bad – and she died without regaining consciousness, leaving her colleague Sunny to deliver a moving eulogy at her funeral as well as to viewers.
Helen Flynn in Spooks
The big-name cast meant viewers were unprepared to lose Helen Flynn when Spooks first aired in 2002.
But those watching at home had reason to be shocked beyond the loss of star Lisa Faulkner so soon.
His spy persona met a violent end in the second episode only after having his face burned in a deep fryer before being shot in the head.
Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey
The loss of Matthew took many viewers of the glossy period drama off guard. Like the character’s landed gentry relatives, some expected him to be the center of the family in the future.
However, after becoming a father with Mary on the special Christmas Day episode, Matthew chose to return to his country.
The jubilant new dad was shown enjoying the ride with the top down as a small van drove the other way.
But viewers were left in awe as the next shot cut Matthew lying in a ditch, thrown from his car and quite dead.
Rachel in Cold Feet
Rachel and Adam were meant to love each other forever.
Having been stopped from adopting but ending up pregnant instead, and having just suffered a layoff and deportation, it looked like love might win the day after Adam’s estranged father offered them money to secure a home.
On the way to a house auction, however, Rachel fiddled with a tape to listen to while driving. A truck continued as they both approached a junction at high speed. And then it was over.
Julia Montague in Bodyguard
As with heartbreak, viewers may struggle when a central character is knocked down at an unexpected time.
And with Bodyguard, fans seemed obsessed with the rest of the show, that Julia Montague was really, really dead. Or was it just plot twist?
Still, halfway through the series and due to the dramatic depiction of a devastating bomb blast, it’s no wonder some viewers were looking everywhere for clues that the death was a fake.
Read more: OPINION: The Tourist on BBC One – critics miss the point
Trigger Point executive producer Jed Mercurio – who also wrote Bodyguard – explained to the Radio Times: “I think there’s a certain expectation with TV shows that they’ll always orbit around a balance, in which nothing changes much for the main stars, and there are no drastic changes in the setup, especially now things tend to work for multiple series.
“But, with my job, I like to try to do things that move the story forward, and with Bodyguard, I wanted to have this mid-series event that would completely change the dynamic.”
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