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Top 10 Scariest TV Deaths You Don't See

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Miller
Sometimes, it’s worse not to see. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, we’re counting down the top 10 scariest TV deaths you don’t see. For this list, even if it's implied that the character is about to die, if the actual death is off-screen, it counts. We’re excluding forensics crime dramas like “CSI,” because there are too many of those deaths to include! And two words: spoiler alert.
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Sometimes, it’s worse not to see. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, we’re counting down the top 10 scariest TV deaths you don’t see.

For this list, even if it's implied that the character is about to die, if the actual death is off-screen, it counts. We’re excluding forensics crime dramas like “CSI,” because there are too many of those deaths to include! And two words: spoiler alert.

#10: Violet Harmon
“American Horror Story” (2011-)


“American Horror Story” started off strong out of the gate with the terrifying season of television “Murder House,” which revolved around a family living in a haunted house. Midway through the season, we see what we think is a failed suicide attempt by teenager Violet when she’s saved by her ghostly boyfriend Tate. It’s only near the end of the season that we find out it wasn’t a failed suicide attempt at all. Turns out, we saw Violet die and we just didn’t know it. And neither did she. Violet only finds out she’s dead when Tate shows her own corpse hidden beneath the house.

#9: Dale Lacy
“Castle Rock” (2018-)


Hulu’s series based on the lore of Stephen King fittingly already gave us one scary off-screen death in its very first episode. Warden Lacy of Shawshank Prison, played by Lost veteran Terry O’Quinn, commits suicide on the day of his retirement, for mysterious reasons. Lacy drives out to a nearby cliff, ties a rope to a tree, puts a noose around his neck and drives off the cliff. It’s a horrifying death that we’re thankfully spared from seeing, but the blood spatter shot we do get tells us all we need to know.

#8: Bullet
“The Killing” (2011-14)


Now, “The Killing” was never a massively popular series, but it did have a strong enough fanbase to get a Netflix revival when it was cancelled by AMC. In the show’s third season, homeless teenage badass informant Bullet is introduced, quickly becoming a fan favorite character. After being stalked by an unknown person in the season 3 episode “Try,” Bullet is killed off-screen, and her body is discovered in the following episode by Joel Kinnaman’s Detective Holder. By the end of the season, we discover that Bullet was killed by none other than the leader of the Seattle Special Investigations Unit, James Skinner.

#7: Vince Parker
“Supernatural” (2005-)


“Supernatural” has had its fair share of off-screen deaths due to its status as a horror show on the relatively-mild CW. Few, if any, have been scarier, however, than this season 1 death, that saw young couple Vince and Holly stranded on the side of a remote road. The two come upon a terrifying-looking scarecrow as they search for help. Vince soon disappears, leaving Holly alone. It isn’t long before she happens upon his skinless corpse, left by the scarecrow. It’s by far one of the more gruesome deaths on the long-running horror series; one we won’t be able to forget as we try to fall asleep.

#6: Principal Flutie & Herbert the Pig
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)


Joss Whedon’s modern classic television series about the titular teenage vampire hunter produced some of the best horror moments on TV during its seven-season run. One of the more ghastly deaths on the show happened off-screen in season one, when Principal Flutie and the school’s mascot pig Herbert are eaten alive by a pack of hyena-possessed students that have been terrorizing the school. Buffy is eventually able to stop the students, but not before they caused some serious damage. Really, it only took the series 6 episodes to kill of their first principal. And by students, nonetheless! Color us surprised more kids didn’t ask to transfer schools.

#5: Hodor
“Game of Thrones” (2011-)


Game of Thrones has been responsible for the deaths of countless characters, both hated and beloved by fans. Chalk this one up in the beloved column. We’re thankfully spared from witnessing Hodor being torn apart by wights, but honestly, it doesn’t make the scene any easier to watch. In the very same episode that we learn his history and that Bran was the one who caused his simple-mindedness with his time-travel shenanigans, Hodor dies protecting Bran and Meera from an onslaught of attacking undead. The episode ends with Hodor’s final moments before the undead break through the door.

#4: Barbara Holland
“Stranger Things” (2016-)


Despite her death at the hands of the Demogorgon in only the third episode of “Stranger Things,” the memory of Barb has lived on in the hearts and minds of fans. After attending a get-together at Steve’s house, Barb disappears into the upside-down, finding herself face-to-face with the hideous creature at the bottom of a pool. After trying to escape, Barb is pulled down into the pool by the creature, and that’s the last time we see her alive. Her death haunts the characters of the series, especially Nancy, who is driven to find out what happened to her best friend.

#3: Sophia Peletier
“The Walking Dead” (2010-)


Many remember season 2 of “The Walking Dead” as a bore that saw the group stuck at the farm for an entire season. We can’t really argue with you, but the handling of Sophia’s death was surprisingly effective. After being chased into the woods by walkers early on in the season, much of what follows is the group searching for her, hoping that she is still alive. It’s only when they find out that Hershel has been keeping walkers in his barn that both the characters and the audience discover that Sophia has been a walker the whole time. It’s a heartbreaking moment in the series, and imagining Sophia’s death alone in the woods is an utterly horrifying thought.

#2: Laura Palmer
“Twin Peaks” (1990-91)


The entirety of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s original “Twin Peaks” revolved around the aftermath of the brutal murder of teenage Homecoming queen Laura Palmer. Laura is killed the night before the series begins, and seeing the effect of her unsolved murder on the town of Twin Peaks creates a distinct sense of eeriness as well as sadness. When we eventually find out more about her killer, and the events that led to her death, it becomes all the more terrifying. In the film follow-up to the series, “Fire Walk With Me,” we see glimpses of Laura’s murder, but much of the brutality thankfully remains off-screen.


#1: Rita Morgan
“Dexter” (2008-13)


After killing and disposing of rival Miami serial murderer, the Trinity Killer, Dexter Morgan returns home, both he and the audience believing everything has come to an end with Dexter victorious once again. Soon, however, Dexter finds his son sitting in a pool of his wife’s blood on the bathroom floor, with Rita lying dead in their bathtub. John Lithgow’s Trinity had visited the Morgan house before his confrontation with Dexter and had killed Rita. Dexter’s discovery of the body resulted in one of the most shocking and horrifying moments in TV history; one that we won’t soon forget, if ever.
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