The TV characters we really, really don’t want killed off

Tyrion Lannister, Daryl Dixon, John Diggle... These are the TV characters we couldn't bear to lose...

Following the rumour that a monster-ratings show about to go into its fifth season has killed off yet another character, we at Den Of Geek thought we’d do our bit to protect our TV loved ones. It may well be dramatically expedient or a narrative necessity for a few cast-members to be sent their P45s from time to time, but there are some characters we simply can’t let them take away.

To this end, we’ve harnessed the power of the desperate, snivelling beg. Below, our writers have chosen the vulnerable TV characters from currently-airing shows that they’d be lost without, and in unison we ask, please please don’t kill them off.

So TV gods, if you’re listening, hear our prayers…

Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead

Those of us who have more than a passing interest in The Walking Dead are already aware of the campaign ‘If Daryl dies we riot’ that’s liberally splashed all over the internet and even has its own merchandise to boot, so fervant is the fervent fanbase of Mr Dixon and the man responsible for portraying him, Norman Reedus. Such is the popularity of both actor and character that it’s difficult to separate the two in order to establish who people cherish the most, as Daryl has made Norman a worldwide icon, but the man previously best known for The Boondock Saints cult movies and a supporting role in the mighty Blade II has become a champion of social media and the convention circuit for the dedication he shows his loyal followers, making him as popular off screen as on.

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As for Daryl, it’s easy to see why he’s become such an integral part of The Walking Dead’s ever-changing line up, as his evolution from aggressive outsider to group leader has made him invaluable, especially during Rick’s recess from taking charge. More importantly though, Daryl Dixon is unnervingly cool, from the bike to the biceps to the bow, he’s as iconic as geek heroes get and when that’s combined with his ‘actions speak louder than words’ modus operandi, you can’t help but love him – killing him simply isn’t an option for AMC, unless they really do want a riot.

By Duncan Bowles

Gus Grimly – Fargo

Gus Grimly has had the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head ever since the first episode of Fargo, when a chance encounter with the spectacularly evil Lorne Malvo resulted in a tense moment where we wondered if the frankly brilliant Colin Hanks had been brought into the show solely to be dramatically killed off right at the start.

This is the thing with Fargo – by already establishing that this story will come to an end with its first season (any future seasons will feature entirely different characters and plots), most of the usual expectations are out of the window. That same first episode had already led us to believe that Vern Thurman would be a major character, before dispatching him suddenly and brutally – and we’ve also unexpectedly lost Eddie from Friends sorry, Mr Numbers, in recent weeks.

Both Gus and Molly represent the direct opposite of Malvo – the pure good to his pure evil – and it’s likely that only one side of the argument will come out of the story unscathed. Having already used one recent cliff-hanger to falsely tease the possible loss of Molly, she’ll surely be safe for the rest of the season, but we’re less sure about Gus’ fate. He’s lovely, and mixed up, and a bit useless, and he might just be a sacrifice the show considers it worth making. But we hope not.

By Seb Patrick.

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Matt Donovan – The Vampire Diaries

As the only human character left on the show, Matt Donovan has been first on everyone’s kill list since the show’s very first episode and, going into the sixth season, it’s a wonder how he’s survived for as long as he has.

The Vampire Diaries might be a show where death has effectively become meaningless but, if the writers were going to kill anyone off permanently, it’d almost certainly be Matt. Factor in that his base of operations, The Mystic Grill, was destroyed in the fifth season finale and he currently has no love interest (love interests are a big deal on this show), it feels more likely than ever that Elena’s last tie to her old, human life will finally fulfil his pre-destined role as vampire fodder. Then again, as the show’s Zeppo; the Xander Harris for this generation, maybe he’ll get away with just losing an eye.

By Caroline Preece.

Lagertha – Vikings

One common criticism of female characters on television is that “strong” almost always equals “can kick your ass,” and that all other forms of female strength are unrecognized. Not so of Vikings’ Lagertha. It’s true that despite the fact that Katheryn Winnick stands at least a head shorter than most of Lagertha’s allies and enemies, there’s little doubt that she dominates on the battlefield. But where the character really shines is in the sheer number of dimensions she exhibits.

The culture depicted in Vikings is one where, while somewhat inferior to their men, women are warriors, mothers, sexually liberated lovers, and able politicians. We’ve seen Lagertha struggle with her desire to follow Ragnar into the west – knowing that she must maintain their farm and family in his absence – mourn her daughter, proudly leave her straying husband (sadly, but without guilt or self-loathing), viciously deal with a second abusive one, take an earldom, raise a son to still love his father who betrayed her, and negotiate as an equal with the other Viking leaders. She is heart and head and sinew in a way that few characters of either sex on television have managed to be. Long live Lagertha.

By Laura Akers.

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Tyrion Lannister – Game Of Thrones

The Starks may be the sort-of ‘good guys’ in Game Of Thrones – they are honourable, they love each other in an appropriate manner and if forced to execute someone they nearly always do it themselves. But the one character most fans desperately don’t want to lose is surely Tyrion Lannister, unloved younger son of the ‘bad guy’ Lannister family.

Why? For one thing, Tyrion is played by Peter Dinklage, probably the best actor in a series full of incredible actors (slightly dodgy English accent notwithstanding). He knows exactly when to ham it up and when to play it down. He has perfect comic timing, better slapping skills than the cast of How I Met Your Mother and can own a room by moving a chair around. Even more importantly, it’s the Lannisters who really know how to wield the power of snark, and Tyrion is the best at it by far. There is no situation in which he will not come up with some biting witticism that will get him in even more trouble. Without him, the show would be a long, dull series of people hacking each other to bits and hanging around in baths, and who wants that? By Juliette Harrisson

Chloe O’Brian – 24: Live Another Day

Chloe O’Brian turned the day she was given an automatic weapon. Before that, she was clearly the most intelligent person in CTU, albeit the one people dreaded drawing in the office’s annual Secret Santa. But armed? She began her migration across film genres and styles, that recently has seen her one-woman tribute act to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in 24: Live Another Day.

Tellingly, Chloe is the only ‘friend’ of Jack Bauer’s from the early days who remains by his side to any degree. And given that 24 finds it impossible to a) kill Jack Bauer and b) allow him to stay dead when they break rule a), Chloe has had a target on her head for the past few seasons.

Yet would there be a character more devastating to lose? Taking not even the merest sniff of shit, and managing to hack all manner of computers no matter what GUI the effects team have come up with this time, Chloe is the beating heart of 24. We’d lose Bauer before we lost her.

By Simon Brew.

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Eric Northman – True Blood

Okay, we all know there’s one major reason there was an outcry when it looked like True Blood’s Scandinavian dreamboat might have gone up in flames – in a cast chosen for their drop-dead gorgeous looks as well as their acting ability, Alexander Skarsgård and his perfect, frequently-viewed backside stands out as one of the most attractive of a group of very attractive people.

But that’s not the only reason viewers are desperate to see Eric Northman live to bite another day. He is a gloriously outrageous character. Most vampires at the more romantic end of the vampire sub-genre tend to be only a couple of hundred years old – brooding Civil War veterans, brooding eighteenth century gentlemen or brooding early twentieth century youths. Not Eric Northman. Forget your troubled, brooding gentlemen – Northman is a Viking, a warrior, the product of a colder and harder time, and that makes him a much scarier and much cooler vampire. He walks the line between ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’, committing some truly horrific acts in the first couple of seasons in particular, which makes him unpredictable and fascinating to watch. And of course, most importantly, he brings the snark. You gotta have the snark.

By Juliette Harrisson

John Diggle – Arrow

Being the hero in a semi-realistic superhero show is a dangerous business, but being a superhero’s sidekick might just be worse. We know from past experience that Arrow isn’t afraid to kill important characters if their loss will drive forward Oliver’s story and, aside from maybe Thea, Diggle has become the most vulnerable character on the show of late. We had Diggle-centric episodes in season two, sure, but his role in Team Arrow became laughably futile as the year progressed until it reached the point where we were left wondering if he needed to be there at all.

But he does, and his death would potentially change the show forever. With Felicity upgraded to love interest and confidante, the team needs that uncomplicated pillar of strength at its core, and he serves that purpose even when left languishing without a storyline. He was Oliver’s first friend after returning from the island, and that relationship still grounds Arrow. We can’t afford to lose him. 

By Caroline Preece.

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Mary Morstan – Sherlock

Such is the unholy love some fans have for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s Holmes and Watson that when it was announced that the future Mrs Watson, Mary Morstan, was arriving in series three, parts of the Sherlock fandom went into conniptions. As soon as they met Amanda Abbington in the role however, all fears were allayed.

This Mary was smart, funny, intensely likeable and, crucially to some fans, wasn’t going to come between Sherlock and John. Quite the opposite in fact; it was Mary who urged Watson to forgive his former flatmate for causing him two years of grief, and she who engineered the pair teaming up on a case that Sherlock later cited in his “The Sign Of Three” Best Man speech as proof of Watson’s heroism.

Then came “His Last Vow,” a Mary-centric episode that changed everything and nothing about the wonderful Mrs Watson and truly cemented her place in the show. We don’t care if it’s canon, we don’t care if it’s dramatic, please Moffat and Gatiss, don’t kill off Mary. Firstly, she’s brilliant, and secondly, hasn’t poor John been through enough already?

P.S. That goes double for Mrs Hudson. Touch her, and we’ll lose count of how many times you fall out of our window. 

By Louisa Mellor

Agent Coulson – Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

If there’s one character on TV who definitely doesn’t deserve to be killed off, it’s Agents of SHIELD‘s Agent Coulson. Not only is he the lynchpin of the series, anchoring it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with ease and warmth, he’s also a rare example of an original MCU creation who was so good, they adapted him INTO the comics.

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Of course, Coulson isn’t immortal. He’s already been killed off once before, and while no-one should have to go through that again (nor should we viewers have to endure the dragged-out reveal of how and why he was brought back…) there’s a better reason to avoid it: what possible TV death could compare to his first one? Stabbed through the back by a god after confronting him single-handedly? For sheer scale, there are some things TV just can’t match. Anything else would be a disappointment by comparison. 

By James Hunt.

Arya Stark – Game Of Thrones

Yes, it’s greedy to beg for a stay of execution for two characters in the same show, but nobody needs our longevity prayers more than the cast of HBO’s slaughter-happy Game Of Thrones.

Arya’s scenes with The Hound have been some of this season’s best, right from the moment of that squelchy bar fight in this year’s opener. Long before then though, Arya has been a vital character on the show. She’s a walking social science experiment, the causal product of extreme circumstances, and her trials aren’t over yet. Life has toughened her, experience has taught her, and the game of thrones has made her an orphan. At the very least, we have to see her live long enough to tick a few more names off that shit list.  

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B Weiss have proved that the series can successfully divert from George R.R. Martin’s template, meaning the axe may fall on anyone, at any time. Wherever it lands next, please make sure Arya Stark is on a boat to somewhere far away. Somewhere they don’t even have axes.

By Louisa Mellor.

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Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead

While deputy Grimes might not have the same delirious level of adoration that his crossbow wielding companion courts, for me he’s been the heart of the show since day one. Even during season four when his stern leadership finally faltered and his body was broken, there were still plenty of displays of inner strength that reminded audiences why he remains the character who will always take charge and rise to the occasion when needed.

Most excitingly though, as we witnessed at the end of the last episode, Rick is finally back in the fight and even more badass than ever before, with a new addition to his fighting roster – being a little bit bitey – which should make the start of the fifth season something to behold. Rick continues to be the poster boy for The Walking Dead and I simply can’t conceive of a show without him, as despite the characters’ ups and downs, he’s the one that many of us first loved and continue to support as faithfully as his onscreen companions.

Andrew Lincoln’s consistently outstanding work on the show, both in terms of his performance and leadership on set (in interviews his colleagues have consistently made reference to how high he sets the bar in terms of energy and commitment), mean that he’s an invaluable asset in every way, so here’s hoping that secures his longevity on a consistently brutal series that never hesitates to kill off beloved characters.

By Duncan Bowles.

So that’s who got our votes. Feel free to add your own below…

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