The Most Emotional TV Deaths of 2021


So many of our favorite TV characters died in 2021 and affected us.

That is good TV when it packs a punch and makes us cry.

All of us at TV Fanatic listed which character deaths affected us in 2021.

Scroll down to take a look at the list of emotional character deaths.

Dean Miller (Station 19)

Dean Miller death

He was the gentlest, sweetest, most lovable member of Station 19, and his death is one of the most devastating of the series thus far. It felt as if Dean was just getting started, implementing a successful program that could benefit the relationship between first responders and the community and help save lives with de-escalation practices and preventative measures.

He was a doting and devoted father to little Pru. Miller and died doing the job he loved and saving lives, including his colleagues. And if his death wasn’t hard enough, after nearly losing her, he had just learned that his best friend he was in love with didn’t love him the same way.

Abuelita (On My Block)

Teary-eyed Abuelita  - On My Block Season 4 Episode 10

Abuelita was one of the most incredible adults on the series who always protected the Core Four and helped them with their misadventures. She was a total badass, with the best advice and a delightful closeness with Ruby and his friends, particularly Jamal. Over the season, it was apparent that something was happening with her since she was less like herself and tired, but it took Jamal to realize that she was hiding sad news about her impending death.

Her final days were doing what she did best, being the best grandmother and the rock for the Core Four, and she had one of the best funerals and wakes when everyone honored her with hard liquor, partying, and smoking weed.

Oscar “Spooky” Diaz (On My Block)

Future Plans - On My Block Season 4 Episode 5

Just when we thought Oscar would get his happy ending, his former life as a gang leader caught up with him. Oscar had a life he planned ahead of him with his pregnant wife, a new home, and the restaurant he dreamed of starting in Portland, but he couldn’t go or his fresh start without trying to save his brother Cesar from the gang life one last time.

In the end, he succeeded, but he lost his life in the process. A drive-by shooting during a gang war took him out, and we never learned who was behind it. It was the most devastating death of the series and a polarizing one.

Charles Vega (911: Lone Star)

Straight to the Point - 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 Episode 5

Charles’ sudden death was jaw-dropping, and fans did not see it coming at all. The biggest tragedy of it all was how simple his death was. He had an aneurysm while folding laundry and waiting for his wife to come home.

And there was nothing that Queen of Paramedics could do to save her husband, and it was just his time. He was a loving father and husband who supported his wife wholly and completely as she went back into the field after years as a stay-at-home mom.

He was a kind man and a great friend to the Ryders, always had a joke and a smile. And it was simply his time to go. His death rocked Tommy to her core, and Gina Torres gave an incredible performance as she spent an entire day or so processing his loss before she even shared it with anyone.

Tim Rosewater (911: Lone Star)

Questioning Authority - tall - 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 Episode 2

Tim didn’t have the most prominent presence on the series. However, it was still the shock of a lifetime when the team responded to a natural disaster that included molten lava, and Tim literally got hit with a flying piece of fiery hot rock.

Death by meteor sounds so absurd it’s laughable, but the scene was far from it. Suddenly, this character that viewers took for granted broke our hearts with his tragic passing.

Love Quinn (YOU)

Love Quinn's Death

The bodies wracked up on the third season of YOU, but there was a twisted comfort in knowing that for a while, it was Joe and Love against the world. Sure, they’re toxic, destructive killers, but they did it with charm.

Sadly, both of them realized that the other was out of control for different reasons, and Love’s attempt at putting an end to the pain that Joe caused, once and for all, backfired.

He beat her to it, injecting her with an excruciating substance that had her dying a slow death, dramatically sprawled across the kitchen floor with Taylor Swift’s Exile playing in the background. It was devastating, chilling, but gorgeous, too. And it ended an era of You. Victoria Pedretti was exceptional.

Paula (The Big Leap)

Paula Tribute -tall  - The Big Leap Season 1 Episode 11

Piper Perabo, much like the rest of the cast and the show itself, stole our hearts. We watched the character spread so much love and joy around and fall in love with the perfect guy, having one of the sweetest love stories.

But then she discovered that her breast cancer returned, and she chose to live the rest of her life having fun and with the family, she formed at the Big Leap rather than slowly die under chemo.

And she got to live in those final moments, settling into domestic bliss, growing weaker, until one day she collapsed.

The dance show had Perabo deliver a sweet tap dance to represent Paula’s death, with the light going out representing her passing on, and Paula’s death left a significant mark on the series and all those who loved her.

Lily (Virgin River)

Lilly is Touched  - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

We found out early into the season that Lily was dying from cancer, but it still didn’t prepare us for how devastating her death would be once it happened.

Lily spent all of this time with her daughter, soaking up as much time and creating as many happy memories as she could, and preparing her daughter for her pending death and a future of raising her little sister without Lily.

Lily was a character who bonded so many of the others, so her death tore through the small town of Virgin River and hit everyone hard. Lynda Boyd had fans bawling their eyes out when Lily settled in for a nap and never woke up again.

Nic Nevin (The Resident)

Nic in Hospital - The Resident

We all knew Emily VanCamp was leaving the show, but when Conrad heard that Nic was in a car accident, our hearts stopped with him.

Matt Czuchry sold his grief to us so well, and the rest of the cast did as well. How would baby Gigi grow up without her mom, and how would Chastain survive without Nic?

General Adler (Motherland: Fort Salem)

General Adler's death - Motherland: Fort Salem

It was bittersweet when General Adler died in a battle against the Camarilla. We knew she had committed several crimes, but Lyne Renee is such a talented actress that you want her to survive.

Her emotional goodbyes with her foster daughter Anacostia and the trio-Raelle, Abigail, and Tally brought us to tears.

Mitch Kessler (The Morning Show)

Mitch Kessler's death

The character itself was irredeemable. But in season 2, we witnessed the death of his career and his life. Once he begins a new life and rekindles a friendship with Alex, he ends up accepting his inevitable death moments before the car goes off the cliff.

He owned his death (which was so evident by the expression in actor Steve Carrell’s eyes), and that was heart-wrenching.

The aftermath, though, is where our hearts sink. People who hated him and loved him had now to reconcile his death and their relationships with him. It stands as the season’s climax, leaving the Alex-gets-covid ending feel much less interesting.

Andrew Deluca (Grey’s Anatomy)

Beach Partner - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 7

We didn’t see Andrew’s death coming, and it hurt. After months of treating COVID patients, including Mer, with who he had an on-again-off-again relationship, he poured all of his focus into taking down the sex trafficking ring that held his patient.

DeLuca’s dogged pursuit for justice led to his demise when one of the traffickers stabbed him, and despite the best efforts of those at GSM, he succumbed to his injuries. It was devastating.

Screech (Saved by the Bell)

Dustin Diamond Attends TV Event

Saved by the Bell honored Screech’s memory in an uncharacteristically understated way, making it far more impactful.

A group of friends shared a meal and memories of their friend. Even though Screech’s passing was never directly stated, the loss was felt.

Gordo and Tracy Stevens (For All Mankind)

Gordo and Tracey's death

As former married couple and American heroes, Gordo and Tracy’s failed marriage did nothing to deter their deep love and respect for each other. When faced with a life or death situation, they chose each other to lean on as they saved their friends and coworkers, dying in each other’s arms. Their sacrifice brings a lump to the throat even now.

Hoyt Rawlins (Walker)

Hoyt Rawlins Death - Walker

Hoyt’s death was heartbreaking. He showed what a loyal friend he was. Even though he had just found out Cordell and Geri had started dating, he went with Cordell to commit a bank robbery to stall Clint West from harming the Walkers.

When they returned to the Ranch, the money wasn’t enough. Clint still wanted revenge. A shoot-out began, and Clint fatally stabbed Hoyt. He died in Cordell’s arms, with Abby and others telling him they loved him.

Colin Zabel (Mare of Easttown)

A Waking Nightmare - Mare of Easttown Season 1 Episode 2

A series can rarely pull off a death so shocking that you can feel everyone collectively gasping in shock then sitting in stunned silence.

Evan Peters matched Kate Winslet toe-for-toe captivating viewers as the awkward but charming Zabel. His youthful nervous energy and friendliness made him an instant fan favorite.

And his crush on Mare blossomed and even seemed like it was taking off somewhere, but then he was gone in quite literally a blink of an eye when their suspect’s crack shot turned into a head one.

One minute we were looking into those puppy dog eyes and that youthful countenance, and the next, there was a hole in his head and blood everywhere. It left fans as disoriented, traumatized, and shell-shocked as Mare herself.

Over to you, TV Fanatics. Did we cover all the emotional character deaths of 2021? Who else would you have added? Chime in below in the comments.

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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