In Memoriam: Farewell to 10 top characters on TV dramas

Shock. Grief. Satisfaction.

Those were some of the sentiments experienced by devoted fans as they reacted to the killing off of key characters on top dramas in what seemed to be a banner year that could have been subtitled: "There Will Be Blood -- Lots of It."

"Breaking Bad," "Sons of Anarchy", "Game of Thrones" and "Homeland" were just some of the series that provided wrenching moments; Some of the characters were dispatched quietly, while others exited with a bang.

Though it contains only a fraction of the number of dearly -- and not so dearly -- departed, the following list consists of 10 key characters who were integral to their respective dramas. They will be missed.

Cue the orchestra and get out your handkerchiefs.

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1. Walter White of "Breaking Bad"

Played by: Bryan Cranston

Profession: Chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin

Time of death: Fifth season, series finale. Cause of death: Gunshot wound.

Remembrance: He was the danger, the one who knocked. In his transformation from terminally ill cancer patient to criminal mastermind, White became one of the darkest and most villainous figures in TV history, wreaking havoc on his family, friends and associates. But he managed to achieve some redemption and right some wrongs before succumbing, accompanied by Badfinger's poignant ballad, "Baby Blue."

2. Nicolas Brody of "Homeland"

Played by: Damian Lewis

Profession: Marine/POW/congressman/triple agent

Time of death: Third season finale. Cause: Hanging.

Remembrance: In a series full of troubled characters, Brody was the most tortured, never finding true peace after he was rescued after years in captivity as a POW. Though he found his soul mate in CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), their affair led to more anguish. After completing a CIA mission of assassinating an Iranian leader, Brody was arrested and hanged. Carrie was one of the few who realized he died a hero.

3. Richard Harrow of "Boardwalk Empire"

Played by: Jack Huston

Profession: Sharpshooter/protector

Time of death: Fourth season finale. Cause of death: gunshot wound.

Remembrance: A gravelly voice. A face half-destroyed by a war injury. Unmistakable vulnerability. A lethal sharpshooter and assassin. This combination made the mask-wearing Harrow one of the most offbeat characters in the 1920s-era drama -- and probably the most beloved by fans. His death scene was truly heartbreaking: He has a vision of being reunited with his new wife and their surrogate son, his face fully restored.

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4. Hershel Greene of "The Walking Dead"

Played by: Scott Wilson

Profession: Farmer/veterinarian

Time of death: Fourh season finale. Cause of death: Decapitation.

Remembrance: Hershel's wisdom and guidance often helped save the days for the band of survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Skilled in medicine, he heroically helped many survivors recover from a deadly virus. He was murdered by the Governor, a power hungry madman.

5. Debra Morgan of "Dexter"

Played by: Jennifer Carpenter

Profession: Police investigator

Time of death: Eighth season, series finale. Cause of death: gunshot wound.

Remembrance: As forensic investigator Dexter Morgan carried out his twisted mission of justice as a serial killer of bad guys, he always remained devoted to his half-sister Debra Morgan. The foul-mouthed, dogged investigator was his only connection to the goodness of humanity. And she remained devoted to Dexter, even protecting him when she discovered his true nature.

6. Robb Stark of "Game of Thrones"

Played by: Richard Madden

Profession: King

Time of death: Third season. Cause of death: Stabbed by knife after being wounded by arrows.

Remembrance: Stark, his wife, Queen Talisa, and their unborn child were killed during the "Red Wedding," a massacre arranged by Lord Walder Frey as payback due to Stark breaking the marriage pact between House Stark and House Frey. Most of Stark's men were also murdered.

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7. Lady Catelyn of "Game of Thrones"

Played by: Michelle Fairley

Profession: Former queen

Time of death: Third season. Cause of death: Slit throat.

Remembrance: Another victim at the "Red Wedding." Catelyn, Robb Stark's mother, was both loving and tough as she grappled with her family. See "Robb Stark."

8. Clarence "Clay" Morrow of "Sons of Anarchy"

Played by: Ron Perlman

Profession: Deposed leader of outlaw motorcycle gang

Time of death: Sixth season. Cause of death: Execution by his stepson Jax Teller and other members of the Sons of Anarchy.

Remembrance: Morrow was a ruthless leader with a lot of blood on his hands, including murdering a fellow member. He beat his wife, Gemma, and engaged in endless criminal activity. His death was payback for a lifetime of sins.

9. Tara Knowles of "Sons of Anarchy"

Played by: Maggie Siff

Profession: Nurse/Jax's "old lady"

Time of death: Sixth season finale. Cause of death: Stabbed in the head with a carving fork.

Remembrance: Probably the most brutal departure of the television season. If Morrow was the beast of "Sons of Anarchy," Tara, the wife of Jax Teller, was the beauty. She ultimately was a victim of the violent lifestyle that she desperately tried to escape. She was killed by an enraged Gemma, who thought she had betrayed Jax.

10. The Governor of "The Walking Dead", a.k.a. Philip Blake, a.k.a. Brian Heriot

Played by: David Morrissey

Profession: Self-appointed leader/sociopath

Time of death: Fourth season finale. Cause of death: Stabbed by machete, shot in the head.

Remembrance: The Governor's rage-filled vendetta against a group of survivors living in an abandoned prison proved to be his undoing. Perhaps the year's greatest villain, and the most cheered death.


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