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Most Memorable Shondaland Deaths
Shonda Rhimes recently admitted to Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show that she once killed off a character on one of her shows because she didn't like the actor playing said character. While she added, "I'm not naming names," there are dozens of options to choose from. Ahead, the most shocking on-screen deaths from Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder.
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Wes Gibbins (How To Get Away With Murder, season 3)
How to Get Away with Murder’s third season made clear from the start that, somewhere along the way, there would be a major death after the opening sequence showed a body being pulled out of Annalise’s house as it burned to the ground. But not too many of us expected to see our beloved “Waitlist,” a.k.a. Wes (Alfred Enoch), under that sheet. Wes was carrying a good amount of baggage toward the end of his run, but his death will still go down as one of the most shocking moments on the show so far.
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Derek Shepherd (Grey's Anatomy, season 11)
Derek got the nickname McDreamy for a number of reasons: The way he leaned, the way he looked at Meredith, that hair. But he was also a hero. So it's no surprise that Derek pulled over when he witnessed a car accident. The only bad thing about him? He couldn't save himself. After saving a few people on the side of the road, Derek found himself the victim of a car crash. He was then sent to a less-than-adequate hospital, where a number of horrible doctors failed to realize what was really wrong with him. As a result, Meredith was forced to pull the plug.
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Denny Duquette (Grey's Anatomy, season 2)
Denny came into the hospital in need of a new heart, but it wasn't that need that killed him. After finally getting a heart transplant — not to mention stealing the heart of his new fiancé Izzie Stevens — Denny suffered a stroke that no one could've seen coming. Just like that, Izzie's dreams of a life with Denny died. And when she admitted that she was the one who had cut his LVAD wire, her shot at being a surgeon died too. (Her career would later be revived, unlike our dear Denny.)
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Verna Thornton (Scandal, season 2)
The Supreme Court Justice met a sad fate in Scandal's second season. After crossing Fitz, he returns the favor, suffocating her in her hospital bed.
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George O’Malley (Grey's Anatomy, season 6)
In one of the show's most shocking moments, George O'Malley died … but only after everyone spent the day taking care of a John Doe who had thrown himself in front of a bus to save a complete stranger. Flash forward to the end of the hour and John Doe is George. But by the time Meredith realizes it, it's too late to save him.
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Lexie Grey (Grey's Anatomy, season 8)
The first victim of the plane crash, Lexie Grey spent her final moments with the man she loved as McSteamy finally admitted his love for her. But McSteamy's dreams of having the perfect life with Lexie were short-lived, because there was simply no way to save her.
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Lila Stangard (How to Get Away with Murder, season 1)
The other murder we were solving in Season 1. All signs pointed to Sam Keating as Lila's killer: He was the one who had gotten her pregnant during their affair, after all. But who really strangled her and disposed of her body in a water tower? None other than Annalise's on-call thug, Frank — but this time, the call came from Sam. Frank owed him a favor.
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Mark Sloan (Grey's Anatomy, season 9)
Not long after losing Lexie, Mark himself collapsed from injuries sustained in the plane crash. He'd survive long enough to get back to Seattle Grace Mercy West and say his goodbyes but would eventually take his last breath with his best friends by his side as both Derek and Callie held his hands.
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Jerry Grant (Scandal, season 3)
President Fitz learned the hard way that you don't mess with Papa Pope. Not only did Pope manage to kill Fitz's son, but he had Tom — a B613 agent who just happened to be one of the president's most trusted guards — do it. In other words, if Rowan wants you dead, there's next-to-nothing you can do about it, no matter who you are.
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Ellis Grey (Grey's Anatomy, season 3)
Meredith's heartbreaking journey with her mother came to a close in the third season. After Meredith nearly drowned following a ferry crash, she is treated at Seattle Grace Mercy West at the same time her mother is receiving medical care. As they both teeter on the verge of death, the two meet in another world, parting ways as Ellis dies and Meredith lives.
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James Novak (Scandal, season 3)
A rare bright spot in the conniving and cunning world of Scandal, James bites the dust in the third season. Cyrus' husband is shot dead by Jake Ballard as David Rosen looks on, witnessing the sacrifice on account of keeping Sally Langston's murderous action a secret.
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Charles Percy (Grey's Anatomy, season 6)
The unforgettable shooting at Seattle Grace turned deadly for two interns. Dr. Percy was shot in Gary Clark's infamous rampage and dies with Bailey by his side.
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Reed Adamson (Grey's Anatomy, season 6)
Along with Charles Percy, Reed dies in Grey's sixth season finale. A mere casualty in Gary Clark's quest for revenge on Dr. Shepherd, Reed is shot and killed in the midst of the spree.
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Sam Keating (How to Get Away with Murder, season 1)
As HTGAWM's first season unfolded, it seemed like the philandering Keating's killer could have been anyone — Michaela? Annalise? — but finally, the truth came out: Good little "Waitlist" Wes hit Sam over the head with the trophy to protect Rebecca, and everyone else (except Asher) helped him transport and burn the body.
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Dylan Young (Grey's Anatomy, season 2)
Lovingly known as "bomb guy," Dylan Young (Kyle Chandler) was the bomb squad leader who led Meredith through some of the most stressful hours of her life. He not only kept her calm, but he talked her through the removal process, right up until the moment he held the bomb in his hands. The good news: He got the bomb out of the operating room. The bad news: He didn't make it further than the hallway before it exploded, killing him instantly.
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Henry Burton (Grey's Anatomy, season 8)
Henry Burton joined Grey's for a short but memorable run as the patient who charms Teddy into marrying him. She loses Henry in the eighth season, when Cristina is unable to save his life in the O.R.
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Heather Brooks (Grey's Anatomy, season 10)
Heather Brooks lost her life trying to save another. The intern comes to Chief Webber's aide in the tenth season, attempting to help him after he's knocked unconscious during a storm. While Webber makes it out alive, Brooks dies after suffering from electrocution.
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Harrison Wright (Scandal, season 3)
Columbus Short's character of Harrison Wright was killed off Scandal in the third season following the actor's problems in his personal life. The gladiator finds himself far too close to Rowan Pope and is soon killed by Tom.
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Susan Grey (Grey's Anatomy, season 3)
The third season of Grey’s was a tough one for parents, as Meredith’s stepmom passed away just episodes after Harold O’Malley’s death. In a now-infamous trip, Susan visits the hospital for never-ending hiccups, but dies soon after, doing little to help Meredith's relationship with Thatcher.
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Harold O’Malley (Grey's Anatomy, season 3)
The patriarch of the O’Malley clan passed away after making the seemingly unwise decision to seek treatment at the likely cursed Seattle Grace Mercy West. Needing heart surgery, Harold specifies that he wants all of his tumor extracted, even if it puts him in danger. George finally says goodbye to his father, making the decision to take him off life support.
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Rebecca Sutter (How to Get Away with Murder, season 1)
After being kidnapped, handcuffed, and duct taped by the Keating Five at the end of Season 1, it was hard for anyone to see a way to let Wes' girlfriend and Lila's pal off the hook. She knew too much, and no one was sure they could trust her: Especially Bonnie, who took it upon herself to suffocate Rebecca with a plastic bag. The adults try to convince the students she ran away, but they’re not buying it — especially not Wes.
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Adele Webber (Grey's Anatomy, season 9)
Chief Richard Webber lost his wife Adele in Grey’s Anatomy’s ninth season. The former nurse suffered from Alzheimer’s for years and spent time at Seattle Grace Mercy West when she needed emergency surgery. Though she lived through the surgery with a little help from Bailey, Meredith, and the team, she went on to have a heart attack, passing away just before Bailey’s wedding to Ben.
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Emily Sinclair (How to Get Away with Murder, season 2)
The assistant district attorney got involved with the wrong case on HTGAWM. While her death is shrouded in mystery, Emily is clearly dead, as Keating's crew comes upon her dead body in the second season.