Dropped a Bridge on Him

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Tywin Lannister Dies.jpg
"Bridge on the captain!"
William Shatner, after filming his death scene in Star Trek Generations

When a character is permanently written out of a show, especially killed off, in a way that is unexpectedly anti-climactic or mundane, they Dropped a Bridge on Him.

This can be a case of Writer on Board (or worse, Running the Asylum), but may also be an attempt to make the best of a difficult, real life situation.

Sometimes, when a character is Killed Off for Real in a universe where Death Is Dramatic, a lot of work is put into it. They may make a Heroic Sacrifice, or have A Death in the Limelight in their last appearance. If done well enough, it might even be their Dying Moment of Awesome. This trope, however, applies when such things are generally expected, often because of previous dramatic deaths in the series, but don’t happen. Note that when Anyone Can Die, this trope does not apply.

To compare, take the NYPD Blue death of Det. Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) versus the death of Det. Danny Sorenson (Rick Schroder). Smits dies of Soap Opera Disease with a Tear Jerker sendoff. Schroder left the series, so his character is killed off-screen, between seasons.

Named for the death of Captain Kirk in Star Trek Generations, which was expected to be a key, climactic event after 30 years of adventuring. Instead, they almost literally Dropped a Bridge on Him, when such deaths are usually reserved for Red Shirts.

When done off-screen (like the Sorenson example), it's known as a Bus Crash. See also McLeaned, Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome, Distracted From Death and Not So Invincible After All. Not to be confused with Unsettling Gender Reveal, which was once called "Dropped a Bridget on Him". If this is done to a character repeatedly with the aid of Negative Continuity, see They Killed Kenny. See also, Life Will Kill You

No real life examples, please; We're in a universe where Anyone Can Die.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Dropped a Bridge on Him include:

Media in General

  • Some (though not ALL, mind you) cases of Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome are also cases of this trope. Many more examples are given on that trope's page, but a few are worth noting here:
    • Alice Hardy, the heroine of Friday the 13 th, who is quickly killed off in the opening scene of Friday the 13th Part II.
    • Paxton, hero of Hostel, who is quickly dispatched in Hostel: Part II's opening.
    • Hicks and Newt in the third movie of the Alien saga. This really pissed off fans because it made the climax of the previous movie completely pointless (not to mention that it completely decanonized all the Alien comics Dark Horse had published since Aliens was released, in which Newt had grown to young adulthood and taken a level in badass).
    • In Final Destination 2, its mentioned Alex Browning, the protagonist of the first film, was killed... when a brick was dropped on him.
    • In Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, Dr. Loomis is simply killed off-screen by the Big Bad. Quite the ending, one can say, for a character who has been ceaselessly trying to stop the crazed killer since the beginning of the series. However, it should be noted that his death is much more of a case of Real Life Writes the Plot after the very real death of actor Donald Pleasence.
      • Not to mention Jamie Strode, the Final Girl of the previous two films, who is impaled and shredded by a tractor at the beginning.
      • Laurie Strode's death in Halloween: Resurrection is particularly egregious. Namely, She's reduced to a mental patient at an asylum, and Michael Myers chucks her off the roof of the building. So much for over twenty years of character development and constantly evading and defeating the Big Bad. Given the prior mention of the death of Dr. Loomis, it's safe to say that this series has been pretty notorious for simply killing off its best protagonists in the worst possible ways.
      • That isn't the only bridge dropped on the Halloween series with that movie alone. And its not even close to being the worst.
      • LL Cool J's character in H20 was accidentally shot, but survived, then mysteriously disappeared. John and Molly were also Brother Chucked.
    • Randy in Scream 2 is pulled into a van, hacked to death, then mostly forgotten, although he makes a posthumous appearance on video in the third movie.
    • Cotton was promoted to a major character in the second film, only to become the Sacrificial Lamb of the third.


Anime & Manga

  • Although Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin manages to make most of its deaths impressive in one way or another, the manga-only wolf arc manages to make some exceptions:
    • Suiga's death, being taken into a pool of lava by one of Gaia's Child Soldiers, seems rather quick and unimpressive by the series' standards. Made all the worse by the fact that his comrades pay next to no attention to his death due to Akame getting tackled into the crater next... and surviving by using his ninja skills.
    • The Empire's eight warriors are supposed to be extremely dangerous fighters and they certainly show the ability to back this up. Later on, cue Raiga arriving to the scene and curbstomping at least three of them with a single attack.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima: In the Gecko Ending of the first anime series, Negi's father Nagi, the legendary "Thousand Master", for whom Negi has been searching the entire series (and most of his life), is casually disposed of by shoving him through a dimensional portal so that Negi can get to the real business of the show's Grand Finale, which is retconning the bridge dropping of another character.
  • Wolf's Rain did something similar in the four OVA episodes that conclude the series. Remember, the wolves were trying to get to Paradise, and the series up to that point had suggested they had a chance of making it—so the first time one of the wolves died it was especially shocking.
    • Then again, the ending confirmed that they couldn't have reached Paradise anyway because it doesn't exist—the world is trapped in an endless cycle of death and rebirth and it's the wolves' fate to initiate every rebirth.
  • Vanessa Rene in Madlax is killed off in such an anti-climactic way that some viewers haven't even realized she is dead until another character starts burying her. Madlax is shown to grieve over her though, which makes it even more puzzling why in the end she runs off with the woman who killed her.
    • Vanessa's death may better fit a Heroic Sacrifice or Taking the Bullet. The foundations were well set up in the proceeding episodes, it is definitely a very in-character sacrifice and not an arbitrary, collapsing bridge in the jungle. True, she didn't expect to die ... but her belief doesn't make it an unrealistic turn of events. She put herself in front of a sniper's bullet. She then earned her heartwarming reward, to be reunited in spirit with her Mother and Father ... pretty much making it clear she didn't miraculously survive the shot.
  • In the end of the first arc of Groove Adventure RAVE, the protagonist's father dies shielding him with his own body from falling rocks. That would be heart-warming, if not for the fact that said father and son have always exhibited superhuman levels of strength and endurance, and also the traditional feats seen in Anime. A bridge was definitely dropped here.
  • Vamdemon's deaths from Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02. To quote one Digimon forumer, each of his forms was increasingly easier to beat. First form? All the Perfects had to combine their powers to allow Angewomon to strike him down. Second form? Hit him in the crotch with a chunk of building. Third form? "I wanna be a teacher!" POOF! The next time he'll be planet sized and bristling with firepower, and Neemon will kill him by sneezing on him.
    • And let's not get started on the deaths of Arukenimon and Mummymon.
    • In the movie, Big Agumon (as he's called in the end credits) literally gets a bridge dropped on him, allowing him to digivolve into Greymon - a minute or two later he and Parrotmon are destroyed in his own attack.
  • Orochimaru from Naruto gets the shaft so badly that a bridge is dropped on him twice. First he is killed in a relatively brief fight with Sasuke, and his own mind-control power meant to aid him in taking over Sasuke's body gets turned on him and he ends up being absorbed into Sasuke's mind. Later on, when Sasuke is fighting Itachi, he gets his chakra drained which "frees" Orochimaru...only for Itachi to seal him in a permanent, inescapable genjutsu before he can do anything.
    • Way before him, Dosu was suddenly killed when he tried to take out Gaara between stages of the exam and happened to have attacked him when the Shukaku was in control.
      • Directly afterward, a second bridge is dropped on Chunin proctor, Hayate Gekko, who saw it happened, heard Kabuto and Baki talking about the invasion, and was killed off by Baki right there with almost no build up. His girlfriend in the ANBU ops was among those who found the body. She swears revenge on his killer and is promptly Brother Chucked.
    • Also Tailed Beast hosts besides Naruto, Gaara, Killer Bee, and Yagura (who was dead before the series started). One was introduced for the sole purpose of being beaten, one was just shown defeated, and 3 of them were killed off off-screen (it wasn't until the author drew a group picture that we even saw what the hosts for the missing ones looked like)...
  • In Ashita no Nadja, Miss Applefield, who gets a shelf dropped on her off-screen as she performs a Diving Save to protect one of the orphan kids. This serves no other in-story purpose than having her Orphanage of Love disbanded and giving Nadja yet another reason to angst.
    • And another one is how Jose gets hit by a carriage right after he and Carmen have resolved to separate but stay in friendly terms until they truly reach their dreams.
  • In the Hellsing manga, Alucard is erased from existence right before the climax of his confrontation with Walter. Schrodinger committed suicide and blended his life essence with the blood of millions that Alucard was absorbing, causing himself and Alucard to become a set of imaginary numbers due to a quantum irregularity in which Schroedinger ceases to exist if he can no longer recognize his existence. Yes, math and Techno Babble killed Dracula. It took him thirty years, but he got better.
  • In Part 2 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Caesar Zeppeli is crushed by a giant slab of concrete dropped on him by Wham's wind mode during their fight. It is even worse in that the fight was a brutal Curb Stomp Battle from the beginning that only went for about 5 pages before he gets killed and that his death was unnecessary to the plot.
  • Zoids features a number of these, possibly the most infamous in episode 13 of Zoids: Fuzors. The climactic, three-way battle between the Liger Zero Phoenix, the Buster Fury and the Matrix Dragon (the latter which had been hyped as one of the most powerful Zoids ever just an episode prior) ends with the Buster Fury and the Matrix Dragon getting shot in the back by the Energy Liger. As a final indignity, the Berserk Fury and the Buster Eagle are seen in the following episode looking *better* than they did after they'd been shot, but being declared as "damaged beyond repair, no good even for scrap." What? (Made even more inane when you remember this is a Merchandise-Driven series, and the sole reason Buster Fury is being written out is to be replaced by the Gairyuki.)
  • Although a major side-villain and somewhat expected to die at some time during the series run, Full Metal Panic!'s Seina quite literally does have one dropped on her. By her own brother. The Behemoth's activation causes the structural supports for the warehouse to collapse around the main cast during their escape, including the water-filled room Seina is hanging onto a rail in. But we don't get to see that right then. Instead we see her about to shoot Andrey Kalinin despite the fact he came back for her. We see the gun go off as a cliffhanger to episode 11. In episode 12, we see Kalinin alive and Seina mortally wounded. In a flashback we then see her hit by a large girder which caused the gun to go off. That was pretty darned random.
    • If you consider the fact that Seina was a nihilistic bitch who had no one left to care for her in any way, and that Mithril would have probably have her killed (or at least locked up for life) for her acts of terrorism, her trying to save Kalinin and then literally dying in the arms of the only man she half-cared for was actually the best ending she could have received under the circumstances.
      • Besides, if you read the novels, you will see that in the Full Metal Panic universe karma is quite a bitch and all things happen for a reason. In this case, her rather pointless death is shown to be a perfect ending to a rather pointless life.
    • Leonard's death is quite anti-climactic. He's the major villain of the latter half of the entire series,so you'd expect an epic mecha battle between him and Sousuke. Wrong! Kalinin merely shoots him because he's not ending the world fast enough. No big deal.
  • In the final episode of The Big O, a side-villain named Vera gets into a Megadeus bigger than any other in the series, and gives a big, dramatic speech about how she will unleash a curse upon the city. Then, a beam breaks off of the mysterious giant stage lights over the city and falls on them. It is not acknowledged by the characters who witnessed it. The show must go on.
    • This scene made about as much sense as anything else that happened in the course of that episode, which was either a Gecko Ending, a Gainax Ending or a bit of both depending who you ask.
  • Reiji, from the [[Phantom of Inferno|Phantom Requiem for the Phantom]] is, out of the blue, killed in the very last episode by a passing cart driver.
  • In Soul Eater, South American Death Scythe, Tezca Tlipoca seemingly dies this way. Although nobody knows if it'll stay this way.
    • Nah, he replaced himself at the last second.
      • And he seems to have died again just seven chapters later. Although this time it seems to be for real, although it seems like way less of a bridge drop this time around since it not only got some fanfare, but the whole chapter devoted to the fight that ends this way. He's techincally still alive.
  • The manga version of Kimba the White Lion has Kitty who got killed off by a plague that came out of no where.
  • In the movie version of Akira, Kaori suddenly meets her end when a mutating Testuo accidentally pulls her in and she's crushed by his insides. Her death in the manga was more plot-relevant, as she's shot to death by Tetsuo's unnamed liutenant and perishes in Tetsuo's arms.
  • In Queen's Blade, Shizuka is brutally fridged in a cruel, drawn out manner, literally for no other reason than for Tomoe to get even more powerful than she already was.
  • Offscreen, but in the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Izumi dies somewhere between the end of the series and The Movie. Justified that she was quite sickly but still.


Comic Books

  • Arguably the fate of Steve Rogers, the original Captain America (comics), who, over the course of the Civil War arc, was stripped of his title by the government, became a fugitive from justice, was put on trial for treason, and ultimately was shot while walking to his trial by both the Red Skull's henchman, Crossbones, and a mind-controlled Sharon Carter. And his body anti-miraculously aged to his true age when he died.
  • After the House of M event in the Marvel Comics universe, many mutants lost their powers. The ones who got it the worse were probably a set of young student X-Men, mostly minor characters in the series, who were literally Put on a Bus... then the bus was hit by a missile. Every one of them died.
  • Exiles member Sunfire was killed off by dropping a literal bridge on her. Or maybe it was a building. I can't remember because it happened off-panel.
  • Jean Grey's death in the 2003 'Planet X' storyline fits this to a "T". Her marriage to Scott had a bridge dropped on it in more ways than one at the same time.
  • Not even including how many 'show, don't tell' rules it broke, Janet "The Wasp" van Dyne's death at the end of the Secret Invasion likely counts. An alien agent impersonating her husband gives her a "stabilized" version of the serum to make herself grow as well as shrink, only for her to realize too late that it can also turn her into a giant biological bomb at his command. Despite her efforts to get out of the fight and minimize casualties, she ends up having to be teleported to another plane by a blow from Mjolnir, so that instead of taking out all of the Avengers' allies, she dies alone.
    • It Got Worse : While her soul's trapped in Erebus gambling for either resurrection or an afterlife, her soulless body is now a dimension. Housing Ultron. Her husband ends up building a house on her. The indignities just keep piling on long after she's dead.
    • On one hand, it turned out that wasn't really the Wasp's body in that dimension. On the other, it seems her real body has been reanimated as a cyborg zombie.
  • Furthermore in Ultimate Spider-Man, Gwen Stacey does what she does best- dies. But whereas her death in the classic continuity was a major series turning point and one of the most shocking and unexpected events in the history of comics, forever solidifying Norman Osborn as Peter's greatest nemesis, in the Ultimate universe she's jumped in Peter's backyard by mindless monster Carnage and sucked dry. That's it.
    • The suddenness and brutality of her Ultimate death still caused it to have a considerable impact on the series though and in any case she comes back. As Carnage!
  • Crisis Crossover series, especially at DC, are notorious for killing off characters who've been around a long time in awkward, Red Shirt like ways, just to show how bad the Big Bad is. These characters are lucky if they get more than one or two lines of dialogue. Some examples include the Losers, Dove of Hawk and Dove, and the original Mirror Master in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Justice Society members Atom (Al Pratt) and Dr. Mid-Nite in Zero Hour (Hourman also died, but he got better), and most of the Freedom Fighters (Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, Doll Man) in Infinite Crisis.
    • And in Final Crisis, Batman and Darkseid pull one on each other at the same time with a gun and eye beams respectively. Yes, a double bridge drop in a single scene. And while Darkseid is killed in that scene, Bats is now lost in time and cursed with multiple lives. It does take Darkseid most of the next issue to completely die, though. And Batman's since come back.
    • Teen Titans characters like Pantha and Wildebeest died just to give Superboy-Prime, who'd already had a Face Heel Turn, a moment where he crosses the Moral Event Horizon. Neither of these characters are given many lines, or a chance for those not familiar with them already to get to know them, before they die.
    • And then there's the Psycho Pirate, who, though portrayed sort of sympathetically in Grant Morrison's Animal Man, shows up in Infinite Crisis as a villain again (recruited by Alexander Luthor due to his remembering the Multiverse) who is suddenly and abruptly killed off when he gets his head gruesomely smashed into a gory mess on-panel by Black Adam.
    • In the ninth chapter of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Brainiac and the Silver-Age Luthor lead an army of villains. Golden-Age Luthor (who'd been around since at least the early 1940s) appears just long enough to say that he, not Silver-Age Luthor, should be their leader. Brainiac says "You are right. We do not need two Luthors.", and disintegrates Golden-Age Luthor. No final battles with Superman for that Luthor. Instead, he goes out like your usual faceless henchman.
    • Countdown to Final Crisis has several, though the most egregious examples of victims to this fate are Duela Dent, the Jokester, Trickster, and three entire Earths. Countdown is very mean spirited overall.
    • There's a good amount of this in Blackest Night, often to make room for their replacements/predecessors. Tempest gets his heart ripped out by Black Lantern Tula, making room for the Young Justice version of Aqualad, and the second Hawk is also killed to free up space for her predecessor to return. Dr. Polaris gets it bad too, dying off-screen. Captain Boomerang Jr. went from being an antihero who had movie nights with Supergirl to someone who helps his Obviously Evil zombie father kill and devour women and children. Firestorm's girlfriend Gehenna got her heart ripped out and turned to salt simultaneously.
    • After countless times of escaping death, after being one of the most evil and powerful of supervillains, after clashing with Superman and the Green Lantern Corps and allying himself with the some of the greatest evil powers of the DC universe (Mongul and the Anti-Monitor being a few), how does the normally unkillable Hank Henshaw finally die? He makes the mistake of transferring into a cybernetic character who already has a soul, and then is soul-killed by said character which Word of God says is permanent. What makes it worse is that he is killed by a supporting Green Lantern character who has only made less than a dozen appearances total, and while on the astral plane he was just an ordinary human; reflective of his soul. So his end was in a crubstomp fight of a trained warrior woman killing an elderly man.
      • And, as it turns out, Death Is Cheap, so the situation's not quite so bad as it seemed.
  • Marvel's Ultimatum is infamous for this trope, as it kills off over half the cast of Marvel's Ultimate Universe in brutal, violent, pointless ways similiar to many of the above DC examples. The most infamous is the Blob's gruesome murder of the Wasp.
  • Due to Executive Meddling, this was the fate of all of the Dead Universe Transformers in Simon Furman's Transformers comics for IDW. Grindcore, Straxus, Cyclonus, Bludgeon, Thunderwing, and Monstructor were all destroyed (or presumed to be destroyed/deactivated) offscreen after the Autobots managed to deactivate the machines keeping them from disintegrating in the Live Universe. While this was probably going to be the case anyway, it felt like a Bridge Dropping because these characters had all of four issues to terrorize the Autobots, and it was left unclear whether the mind-controlled Decepticons died or were defeated offscreen.
    • Later stories revealed that Cyclonus, Bludgeon and Monstructor all survived, but confirmed the deaths of Grindcore and Straxus. Thunderwing's still up in the air.
  • The Wild CATS/Aliens crossover from 1998 had most of the members of the Wildstorm team Stormwatch killed off this way. Word of God from writer Warren Ellis is that he only took the job so he could get rid of the artifact characters to pave the way for a new title with the characters he created during his Stormwatch run (The Authority).
  • A few years ago, Harbinger, one of the heroes of Crisis on Infinite Earths, was abruptly killed offscreen by Apocalpytican forces in the pages of Superman/Batman when she tried to prevent them from kidnapping Supergirl from Themiscyra, a role that could have easily been filled by any generic Amazon. Can't anybody from that story get a happy ending?
  • This happened to Ryan Choi, the second Atom in the pages of DC's Titans: Villains For Hire at the hands of Deathstroke to make Slade seem like more of a threat. The fact that this is the second Asian character to get killed by DC to make a villain seem more dangerous in as many months (the first being Lian Harper) has not gone over well with fans.
    • Especially since A) this was Deathstroke who's already been established as one of the most ruthless badasses in the DCU for over twenty years and B) the person who hired him turned out to be Dwarfstar, a character who was created specifically as Ryan's nemesis.
    • The reception was so poor that the entire series of events was retconned in The New 52 and now Ryan is back to being the sole Atom.
  • Terra 2 from Teen Titans gets pointlessly killed one day to make way for a Legacy Character, in the form of her sister. She didn't even live long enough to even reunite with said sister, let alone having her true origin revealed to her: she was a princess from a underground kingdom who was given human form (of Terra, oblivious of the fact that Terra was evil), who was ultimately kidnapped by the Time Trapper and mindfucked into thinking she was from the year 2001 as part of an underground group of rebels fighting against the mad son of Donna Troy.
  • Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors kills off a number of surviving characters from both the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street series. Casualties include - Jessica Kimble and Stephen Freeman of Jason Goes to Hell, former died of illness before the events of the comic, latter gets his head crushed shortly after he first appears; Rennie Wickham of Jason Takes Manhattan gets gutted before she can do anything even remotely noteworthy; Alice Johnson of The Dream Master and The Dream Child is, near the end, randomly revealed to be dying of some sickness, so she just lets Freddy kill her, and Maggie Burroughs of Freddy's Dead, after inexplicably turning evil, is crushed by a tank, before her Face Heel Turn is ever explained, and before she can even confront the protagonists.
  • All the way back in 1942, Fiction House's Rangers Comics changed its focus from supehero stories to more down-to-earth stories involving American soldiers. The Rangers of Freedom, the super-hero team, became ordinary army rangers. Most of them got bayoneted off-panel before the story ended.
  • A villain example occured in the Spider-Man miniseries, The Hobgoblin Lives. Jason Macendale, the second Hobgoblin and major villain for nearly two decades, was quickly shot and killed in one page in order to make way for the original Hobgoblin to return. The writer was Roger Stern, the creator of the original Hobby. He was disappointed that his original version of the character had a bridge dropped on him as well (not to mention that Stern left Marvel Comics before he could reveal who the Hobgoblin really was). Despite this, Jason Macendale was still a popular villain and should have been powerful enough to avoid his death or at least survive it.
    • The original Hobgoblin later had a bridge dropped on him as well. After being bugged to bring him back for 12 years, the writers brought him back for one issue, at which point he was promptly beheaded so that his gear could be stolen and his killer could turn into the new Hobgoblin. This is the subject of quite a bit of Fanon Discontinuity.
  • Banshee was regarded as dying like this when Vulcan crushed him with the Blackbird, as were several mutants killed after House of M. The fanbase is not pleased that at least one major character is killed each story.
  • Dr. Octopus died during The Clone Saga. His death happened thusly: He's sitting in a police car. And then Kaine comes and kills him. And then Kaine jumps away.
  • This happens to Ethan Rayne in the comic adaptation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He's shot by the bad guys while imprisoned, prompting him to disappear from a dream sequence he's helping Buffy with. She walks into his cell, taunting him, only to find him dead.

Fanfiction

Films -- Animation

Films -- Live Action

  • Star Trek Generations.
    • Kirk's death scene was actually worse in the original cut - Soran simply shot him in the back. Audiences demanded a more heroic death, so at least Kirk sacrificed his life to uncloak the missile.
    • Also in Generations, the Enterprise-D is basically a random victim of a lucky shot. After winning a space battle, the warp core gets a coolant leak, and when Riker asks why they can't just eject the Warp Core, Geordi says they can't but doesn't explain why. They let the main section explode, causing the saucer section to crash on a nearby planet (compare to the way the original Enterprise is destroyed in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock). This is lampshaded in one of the books.
    • This doesn't get as much attention or complaints because it involves two characters who appeared in only one episode, but the offscreen deaths in a fire of Picard's brother and nephew definitely qualifies. The sheer randomness of it, the complete lack of concern over how this would affect their surviving widow and mother Marie, and especially the way it ruined the final scene of that one episode they were all in, all just to make Picard properly sad at the start of the film.
    • In perhaps a callback to this movie/scene, William Shatner gets dropped off a bridge this time around in what could be his last Priceline commercial.
  • From Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith:
    • Many Jedi die quite abruptly, but Canon Immigrant Aayla Secura is executed particularly brutally, being shot over and over as if to assure us that she's really dead. Amazingly, some people still insisted that she wasn't.
    • Averted with Mace Windu. Samuel Jackson explicity refused to participate in the movie if a bridge was to be dropped on his character. That said, his death scene was one of the most memorable of the film.
    • Count Dooku was powerful enough to curb stomp Obi-Wan and Anakin, and go head-to-head with Yoda. He gets killed unceremoniously in the first fifteen minutes of Episode III because Anakin's power has grown beyond Dooku at this point.
    • Kit Fisto is also a pretty cool Jedi who gets some screen time in Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars, but he is hacked down in about a second by Palpatine.
  • The character of Fox in The Warriors was originally meant to be a more substantial presence in the film, particularly in that Mercy, the girl the gang picks up during their escape back to Coney Island, was originally meant to be his love interest. Since the two actors playing Fox and Mercy had no chemistry together, the script was rewritten so that Mercy hooked up with gang leader Swan instead. The actor who played Fox actually left the film over this, so he was written out of the script by being run over by a subway train during a scuffle with a cop.
  • No Country for Old Men's Llewellyn Moss is killed offscreen. And NOT by Anton Chigurh, the guy chasing him almost the entire movie. Possible subversion in that it was more than likely that this was a deliberate move - it's not the only moment in NCFOM where audience expectations are completely turned on their heads.
  • In XXX, Vin Diesel plays an extreme sports master named Xander Cage who is recruited for his unconventional specialties and skills by a secret government organization. When Vin Diesel dropped out of the sequel, xXx: State of the Union, and was apparently somewhat unprofessional about it, it is announced early in the film that his character has been killed offscreen, and a new character, Darius Stone, replaces him. On top of that, Stone is said to be "tougher and nastier" then Cage when xXx's superior is considering his replacement. In the DVD release, this is explained: Simply put, he goes into a building, which promptly blows up. To emphasize the deadness, two things come flying out of the wreckage - his charred torso and the portion of his neck with the 'xXx' tattoo on it, complete with ears. They must have forgotten their own script, because in the movie, Agent Shavers tells Darius Stone that the last xXx died in some sort of freak snowboarding accident.
  • Notoriously, the third X-Men film, The Last Stand eliminated several franchise regulars, with arguably the most controversial example being that of Scott Summers, aka Cyclops. Despite acting as the team's field leader and, within the regular comic series, their linchpin since inception, he's quickly killed off-screen within the first 30 minutes of the film by his newly resurrected fiancee, Jean Grey. As though that wasn't bad enough, his death barely registers with the rest of the cast later on in the film, with only a brief mention by Professor X who doesn't seem overly perturbed by the loss of his surrogate son.
    • To some of the general public, Cyclops' anti-climactic death might not have been that big of an issue as his screentime got shafted in the previous 2 films in favor of Wolverine, who acted as the series' cinematic alpha hero. However, for fans of the comics, the death was also a slap in the face of sorts since the film's plot was heavily influenced by the comics' extremely well-regarded "Dark Phoenix" storyline that focuses on Jean and Scott. Within the context of X-Men 3, that story became a secondary plot thread, and Wolverine was substituted in as the romantic/heroic lead in light of Scott's less than stellar death.
    • Also, Professor X is killed off midway through the film. Coupled with the fact that Rogue and Mystique were both Put on a Bus and Jean had basically removed herself from the X-Men/Brotherhood fray, you have a climax that barely features any of the characters from the previous two movies.
    • Also of note in the third film are Kid Omega, Arclight, Psylocke, and (presumably) Juggernaut, all of whom unceremoniously fall victim to Jean Grey's psychotic "burn everything" episode near the film's conclusion.
  • John Carpenter's The Thing had a bridge dropping so egregious we didn't even get to see it! In the original script towards the ending, one character, Nauls, was supposed to hear The Thing making noises in an underground basement area and wander off until he saw the legs of a dead character...and then get attacked by the title monster. We would then see him partially assimilated begging Kurt Russell's character, MacReady, for help before being split in half. The scene started with Nauls wandering down the hallway and then...that's it, he's gone. It immediately cuts to MacReady asking how things are coming along and notices the alien noises, and after the alien appears, Nauls is nowhere to be found... No gruesome horrible death for Nauls, he just drops off the face of the Earth. The scene was partially filmed, but because the staff ran out of budget, it couldn't be completed. In the novelization, we get to read the death of the character, although the whole last part of the story plays out completely different.
  • The character of Tank was killed between the first and second The Matrix films after the actor, Marcus Chong, was involved in an especially messy contract dispute. An alternate interpretation averts this trope if one chooses to believe that Tank died from the injuries he sustained during the first movie, thus turning his Crowning Moment of Awesome into a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The character of Grandpa Gohan in Dragonball Evolution is killed by having a...house dropped on him. In the manga that this was (very, VERY loosely) based upon, he got stepped on by Oozaru-mode Goku, although this was from before the series had started.
  • In Burn After Reading, while sneaking around in the CIA agent's house, Brad Pitt scares the guy who's sleeping with his wife, who quickly shoots him in the head. Of course, this all fits with the Farcial Black Comedy of the movie.
    • Not to mention, his death comes as especially shocking, because it's a well-known trope that the "stupid but well-meaning goofball" almost NEVER dies.
  • The Kraken in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. It's an incredibly dangerous menace in the second film, and is still around when the second film ends. Did you think the third film will have our protagonists engage the Kraken in an epic final battle? Well, if you were expecting that, you were probably very disappointed when the Kraken only appears in the third film ... as a corpse. It's implied that Cutler Beckett ordered Davy Jones to kill it despite its obvious usefulness to both of them in keeping control of the sea.
  • In Mr. Nice Guy, Diana, the Damsel in Distress of the first act, may be either this or a Brother Chuck. She gets a knockout punch from one of the gangsters towards the end, and is never seen or mentioned again.
  • One criticism of The Sorcerers Apprentice is that this happened to the secondary villains. Drake, Sun Loc, and Abigail all get rather anticlimatically killed off once Hovath has decided You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
  • Diamonds Are Forever. Assuming that you count Blofeld's final demise as happening in this film, then the Biggest Bad in Bond history is killed because 007 gently swings his submarine into the side of the oil rig. Hardly the demise you'd expect for such a major character.

Please, Mister Bond! I'll buy you a delicatessen! In stainless steel!!

    • It Makes Sense in Context, given the fact that the person who owned the copyright to Blofeld was trying to use it to wrestle for control of the series proper. Knocking off a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Blofeld was basically the owners' declaration of independence and burning of bridges to assert that Bond did not depend upon Blofeld as an antagonist.
    • Which is all well and good until you realize it doesn't make much sense to do it at that time in Roger Moore's fifth outing and just as many films since Blofeld's last appearance.
    • He isn't listed in the credits. It isn't Blofeld, it isn't Blofeld, it isn't it isn't it isn't...
  • Luis Bunuel's final film That Obscure Object of Desire features a May–December romance couple where in the young girl keeps on breaking the old man's heart, but he keeps winning her back over and over again. The final scene sees them walking happily only to start arguing again and suddenly the screen is consumed by a random explosion that kills them.
  • In Bruno Mattei's unofficial Jaws sequel Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws a bunch of characters are killed off very awkwardly in a scene where they're on a boat trying to shoot the shark when suddenly the woman in the group starts getting hysterical and for no reason grabs an open tank of gasoline and raises it over her head, accidentally pouring gasoline all over herself and the guy next to her, and then another guy gets right in the way of the pouring gasoline and fires a flare gun, causing the ship to explode.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World had a strange one when rival rock band Crash and the Boys were unceremoniously killed off by Matthew Pattel (in fact they were the only non-villians killed off) even though they had a larger role in the comic.
  • Particularly blatant example of both this and "Kick the Dog": Sarah's death at the end of The Crow: City of Angels. A highly sympathetic child character in the previous film, ostensibly returning as a Love Interest for The Hero, killed in passing by the Big Bad in a meaningless, pointless anticlimax that added too little to the plot to even be called a "sacrifice", and without even the closure that would be provided by, say, showing her spirit joining the temporarily-resurrected protagonist's when he's shown returning to the afterlife and rejoining his murdered son.
  • Destiny and Leroy in Mystery Team.
  • Danny Glover's U.S. President in Roland Emmerich's 2012. Introduced the subtrope Dropped An Aircraft Carrier On Him.
  • In The Crawlers a.k.a. Troll 3 a.k.a. Creepers a.k.a. Contamination .7, the heroes confront the Big Bad and demand to know the location of the illegal dumping site he's been using to dump chemicals so he can embezzle money. He laughs at how they expect him to cooperate and pulls out a gun. Even though he could just shoot at least one of them or just tell them the location and run off with his embezzled money while they're busy, he instead shoots himself in the head.
  • Wash in Serenity. Also an example of Killed Mid-Sentence. He is celebrating his safe landing when a harpoon crashes through a window and impales him, killing him instantly. It was used deliberately in this instance however, in order to produce a feeling of jeopardy, wherein no character is safe. Joss Whedon has stated that he killed off Wash so quickly and matter-of-factly so as to make the audience believe than the whole crew were likely to die. Seeing as they had just flown through the middle of a massive space battle with no deaths or even injuries, this feeling was obviously lacking.
    • Joss says in the Serenity commentary that he originally didn't intend for anyone other than Book to die, but then he finished the script and realised that the stakes weren't high enough, and that it was kind of implausible for them all to get through unscathed. Therefore, he did his evil Joss trick of picking the character that would be the most heart-wrenching to kill and proceeding.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has drops the bridge on Irene Adler, unceremoniously during a flashback.
  • The young protagonist of Pay It Forward, infamously.
  • The Subspecies series was sadly fond of this. Radu murders Stefan in his sleep at the start of the second film, Radu able to return from the dead after decapitation but Stefan unable to respond to external stimuli. At the start of the fourth movie, the entire cast of the third are killed in an off-screen car wreck, aside from so-called protagonist Michelle.
  • While most of the good guys in Predator who are killed get a Dying Moment of Awesome or at least a Cruel and Unusual Death, the character of Poncho is unceremoniously shot in the head and left behind as they are fleeing.
  • The film version of Slaughterhouse-Five has Derby, up to that point Billy Pilgrim's constant friend and companion, summarily executed at the back of the frame while two minor characters (both Germans) are talking in the foreground. It's actually very effective, because ... that's the way it happens in wartime.
  • Wow, Maggie Gyllenhaal is replacing Katie Holmes in The Dark Knight, and the character's going to be a lot cooler? Awesome! She just kneed The Joker in the balls! Aw, man, this movie kicks a--.............What the fuck just happened?
  • One would expect the extremely badass Ironhide from Transformers to go down in battle guns blazing but in Dark of the Moon, he's shot in the back by Sentinel Prime's cosmic rust gun and dissolves into a pile of rust.
  • Looks to be what happens to most of the cast of the first G.I. Joe film in the sequel, G.I. Joe Retaliation. Marlon Wayans, the actor who played Ripcord in the first film, jokingly mentioned that Ripcord was killed offscreen by friendly fire.

Literature

  • Possibly the Ur Example is Shakespeare's Falstaff, the fan favorite Butt Monkey of his two Henry IV plays. Falstaff unceremoniously dies offstage in Henry V without uttering a single line. Readers and critics speculate that Shakespeare was probably worried about Falstaff upstaging his main character (as he arguably does in the other plays).
  • Happens to the hero of Edmund Rostand's Cyrano De Bergerac, although there it was a log, not a bridge. Cyrano Lampshades the dissatisfying irony to the end of such a life as a fearless swashbuckler. Rostand's hands may have been tied by the fact that the actual Cyrano de Bergerac was killed in that very manner.
  • Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space series is frequently accused of this. In one case, a minor arc of one novel involved one of the protagonists falling in love with another character, who was subsequently killed off between novels in an apparently random accident.
  • Something similar also happened in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series between So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless. Arthur Dent's love interest Fenchurch is taken from him because of some technicality that doesn't really make a whole lot of sense even in context. The author later apologized for this and blamed it on the fact that he'd been having "a thoroughly miserable year" when he wrote the latter book.
    • And then died of a heart attack. The irony would be thick, if we weren't talking about a real person.
    • There's also the fact that Mostly Harmless ends with all versions of the Earth in all parallel universes being destroyed along with most of the main characters (except Zaphod, because he wasn't there) before they managed to accomplish any of their goals in that book. I mean, sure, there's now a sequel by a different author. But, still...
  • Donald Gennaro, of Jurassic Park. In the book he's not a cowardly jerk as in the movie; he helps Muldoon against the Tyrannosaur and the raptors, and escapes the island with his life. In the second book... he got dysentery and died. A similar fate befalls Muldoon. Noteably, both characters survived in the book but were killed by the dinos in the film, which makes it look like Crichton was cleaning house to make the two sync up better.
  • Tom Navidson's death in House of Leaves is very mean-spirited. Three words: OM NOM NOM.
    • Johnny Truant, however, is an Unreliable Narrator transcribing the work of an Unreliable Narrator- and one of them, probably Truant, considered making that particular scene even worse: by spearing the children on one of the house's non-euclidean corners beforehand. The choice not to do this, it must be pointed out, seems to have been utterly arbitrary.
  • At the end of Anthony Trollope's The Warden, major character John Bold has just married into an influential Barsetshire family and can be expected to play a major role in future novels. By the beginning of the next book, Barchester Towers, he's dead of causes never mentioned in the book, leaving behind a plot-convenient widow and young child.
  • In the Eisenhorn trilogy, Midas Bentancor gets killed between Xenos and Malleus, with details being vague. However, this gets used effectively, as it provides a lot of development and motivation for his daugther, Medea.
  • The death of Locklear in The Riftwar Cycle was done to get him out of the way so William could become Knight-Marshal of Krondor for the Serpentwar.
    • And then in the Serpentwar Saga Greylock was SHOT THROUGH THE HEART by a crossbow bolt fired by one of his own troops, after the day is won, because the trooper just shouldered his crossbow rather than unload it. Somehow a bolt fired blind, backwards, from an * upside down* crossbow, by a foot soldier, went straight through the chest of his (mounted) commanding officer.
    • To say nothing of the Empire Trilogy. Ayaki, right at the beginning of the third book, anyone?
    • Not to mention Miranda in Rides a Dread Legion, whose throat was ripped out by a random demon that jumped on her back after the big bad was dealt with.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden has many epic moments in Changes, leading to an intensely awesome climactic final battle, with Crowning Moments of Awesome for multiple characters, which ends with him destroying the entire freaking red court of vampires. How does he die, though? After the battle, while he is relaxing on his brother's ship, he gets shot by a sniper and dies before he can react at all. He got better. Also, when we learn the context for the shooting in the next book, it changes from this to a Thanatos Gambit - he orchestrates a Mercy Kill with Jared Kincaid to prevent himself from becoming Mab's servant. He fails.
  • The death of Annalina Aldurren in the last book of the Sword of Truth series seems particularly mean spirited. After trying (in vain) to convince another character to do something that everyone else in the book had just finished deciding was a bad idea, she gets a hole blasted through her chest, and the killers go so far as to destroy her body so nobody would know what happened. Later on, the man who had in previous books admitted he loved her, after briefly mourning, is seen with a couple of young women in his arms.
  • In the final book of The Dark Tower series, several main characters die suddenly and anticlimactically, but the one that angered fans the most was actually a villain: The Man in Black (aka Randall Flagg, who has appeared several of King's novels). After being built up as a character of incredible intelligence, cunning and mysterious power for seven books straight (not to mention being Roland's nemesis), he makes a random appearance in the last book and is killed off quickly and suddenly by Mordred.
    • Also, Sheemie Ruiz. Several mentions are made of how one more teleport would kill him by brain aneurysm, the reader is led to expect some Heroic Sacrifice on his part... and what happens to him? He cuts his foot on a piece of glass and dies of blood poisoning on his way to safety.
  • In the eleventh book, Senna Wales of the Everworld series jumps off the slippery slope and is abruptly stabbed in the chest by her half-sister, then left apparently dead.
  • In Tom Clancy's The Bear and the Dragon, Robby Jackson has become Jack Ryan's Vice President, and therefore the first black VP of the United States. Either this was too controversial or Clancy needed an excuse to bring Strawman Liberal Ed Kealty back, because in Teeth of the Tiger, Jackson has been assassinated by white supremacists completely offscreen and with no more than a passing mention in the novel itself.
  • Inverted in The Last Battle. The (previously major) character of Susan does not appear, and is abruptly dismissed within a couple of paragraphs as having had an offscreen change of character, causing a lot of fan resentment. The inversion comes when it turns out that she's the only major character who isn't dead, everyone else having died in a train crash and therefore being eligible to enter the Narnian afterlife.
  • Hollyleaf at the end of the third arc of Warrior Cats, right after her sudden plunge off the deep end. Well, maybe.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle's stab at killing off Sherlock Holmes might not have caused such a massive fan revolt if he hadn't gone to such pains to make it clear that even if he hadn't killed him off, he wouldn't have any more stories to write - no, not even from Watson's old files.
  • The death of Tiger Cub in the second Night Watch book is narrated by an enemy and consists of only slightly more than "So I killed her." Justified, since he barely knew her, but the readers did.
    • She is barely mentioned later, when Anton takes over as the narrator, despite being good friends with her.
  • Done very intentionally in Gormenghast with Fuchsia, who is one of the most sympathetic and developed characters in the story, present since the very beginning of the first book. She falls out of a window and dies.
  • Its revealed (without much build up) near the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street: Perchance to Dream that Freddy had killed Alice Johnson, the protagonist of the fourth and fifth films, years ago.
  • Due to the Loads and Loads of Characters in the BattleTech fiction, this was bound to happen at some point. Notable examples include Hanse Davion in the early days of the Clan invasion, Knight in Shining Armor Arden Sortek towards the end of the Civil War, and more than a few major characters from prior novels in the course of the Word of Blake Jihad, including mercenary commanders Jamie Wolf, Wayne Waco, and Daniel Allard.
    • If you pay attention to the Blood of Kerensky novels, he had been showing signs of heart trouble, and had died of heart failure at the end of the last of the trilogy. A more apt choice would be Morgan Hasek-Davion in the Twilight of the Clans series, who was assassinated with poisoned whiskey while en route to Huntress and the assassin's employer, to this date, still has not been discovered. To make it more egregious, said employer must have been grasping a new toy: the Villainous Idiot Ball! Since the only two groups (Word of Blake and Katrina Steiner) who could possibly have motive/opportunity to kill him would be Inner Sphere factions, and thus, I don't know, would want to keep one of the best generals in the Inner Sphere alive to stop the Clans?
  • The chronologically first two books of Alexander Kent's "Richard Bolitho" Wooden Ships and Iron Men series showed Bolitho as a midshipman developing a close friendship with another middie. And then in the next book published, newly-promoted Lieutenant Bolitho comes aboard his newest ship and explains his gloom: "My best friend was killed a month back." The death isn't treated lightly, but it wasn't for another 26 years that Kent wrote a book showing how it happened.
  • Merrick gets an entire The Vampire Chronicles book dedicated to her character and transition from a human to a vampire, only for it to end with Merrick deciding to end her life in order to help a spirit "Go Into the Light."
  • In The Worm Ouroboros (one of the earliest fantasy novels ever) Lord Gro, a major and probably the most complex character in the book, dies abruptly in the Battle of Carcë. His death is treated very curtly and feels decidedly anticlimactic.
  • According to spoilers for the as-yet unreleased Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan, the Exile is unceremoniously backstabbed.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Three big ones end up happening in the first 7 books. The first one is the fate of Julia Webster, who has AIDS and is dying from it. After the book Payback, she is sent to Switzerland to undergo experimental treatment. She seems to get better, but by the book The Jury, she has a stroke (it is debatable if a stroke is related to AIDS), seems to recover from it, but then passes away without letting any of the Vigilantes visit her! The second one is the fate of Nikki's partner Jenny, who was hit by a drunk trucker and killed off, along with her unborn child in The Jury! The third one is the fate of the Barringtons, a family of criminals who treated horses as profit-making machines and let a number of them starve to death. They appeared in The Jury, but they ran off and vanished before the Vigilantes could go after them. Then, in the book Free Fall, when Nikki asks for an update on the Barringtons, Charles reveals that they are dead. They were located somewhere in Europe, driving a car at a high speed, crashed it, and went up in one mighty fireball of an explosion. Fortunately, the Barringtons were bad guys, so there is little reason to shed tears over them!
  • In Tolkien's The Silmarillion, Elu Thingol's death is pretty anticlimatic compared to the other Elves of his stature. While they die in blazes of glory Thingol... gets ganked by some dwarves when he refuses to pay them for some work. Tolkien apparently wasn't satisfied with this end, but never got around to changing it.
  • General Scott Dixon, the hero of many of Harold Coyle's war novels, is killed off suddenly and rather unceremoniously in the book Cat and Mouse when his helicopter is shot down out of the blue by some terrorists. There isn't even an actual death scene written for him. Just a scene where Dixon's son Nathan is informed of his father's death. Yes, this was supposed to be the point at which Nathan replaced his father as the series' protagonist. But still, considering all the previous novels with Scott as the hero and the sort of off-handed manner at which he died, this definitely counts as a "Dropped a Bridge on Him".
  • Septimus Heap:
    • DomDaniel simply, suprprisingly and unceremoniously disappears after his bones were consumed by Spit Fyre in Queste.
    • Ditto for Jillie Djinn in Darke, who expires standing up on Marcia's sofa a moment after the climax, without getting much attention.
  • Twilight: James, the Big Bad of the first book, corners Bella and prepares to rip her to shreds, but then Edward and the rest of the Cullens arrive. Just when you were expecting some epic combat, Bella blacks out, and since she's the narrator, the next scene shows her in the hospital, where Edward reveals that James is dead. Er, where's the action? Where's the epic combat? Where's the one part where something interesting could have happened? GONE!
  • The second book of the Sten series invokes this: one character's death is discovered by his superiors only when, after a firefight has quieted down somewhat, they notice that he was shot through the head.

Contrary to the livies, even good men died at the least dramatic time.


Live-Action TV

  • When Jon Polito's Homicide: Life on the Street character Steve Crosetti was written out of the show at the behest of the network, who wanted another female character in the show, the producers promised him that they would write the character back in later in the season. Not believing them, Polito went to the newspapers and slagged off the production crew for bending to the network's wishes. As a result, his character committed suicide offscreen - the one thing he had asked the producers not to do. However, he mended his bridges and returned as an afterlife spirit in the Homicide TV movie that wrapped up the series.
  • The fates of Catherine Black and Lara Means on Millennium, who were written out as part of a Retooling of the series, although the latter was a matter of Go Mad from the Revelation rather than death.
  • In a show notorious for killing off characters, all three of The X-Files Lone Gunmen (Byers, Langley and Frohike) made it all the way from the first year of the show until four episodes from the last, when they were killed off trying to stop the spread of a deadly contagion. The failure of the Lone Gunmen spin-off series perhaps motivated the writers to kill off the characters for good, but the fact that they were Mulder's closest allies throughout the whole show makes this one a bit mean-spirited. (Of course, the episode was called "Jump The Shark"...)
    • Agent Pendrell of seasons 3 and 4 was killed off in a particularly undramatic fashion, and jarring (if you liked the character). Drunk (out of character), carrying over beers for Scully to celebrate her birthday a night late, he gets shot from behind about one minute after he appears in the episode.
  • Perhaps the most unpleasant example: in a season opener of Sliders, we find out that the character Wade Wells has been abducted by ugly alternate-dimension aliens... for breeding purposes.
    • Another unpleasant Sliders example was Professor Arturo; over the course of one episode he had his brains partially sucked out, was then shot dead, and was then left on an Earth which was destroyed by radioactive pulsars. And all this after the character came down with a terminal disease leaving him with months left to live anyway.
    • Fans insist that the deceased Arturo was in fact his "evil" twin due to the Ambiguous Clone Ending of a previous season's episode in which two versions of Arturo fight and we don't know which one was left stranded and which one ended up travelling with the group. Wade Wells, meanwhile, was written out by being abducted by the evil alien Kromaggs, and eventually returned long enough to be Mercy Killed.
  • Rory Cochrane's character on CSI: Miami, Tim Speedle, also died nastily after Cochrane asked to be written out of the show. The writers really did a number on him, making Speed out to be careless with cleaning his weapon, which subsequently jammed during a shootout and resulted in his untimely death. Considering his status as a much-loved character, this quite literal character assassination might drive some to accuse the writers of dropping a bridge on the fans instead of their intended target.
    • Making this all the more implausible was that in a previous episode, he had almost been killed when he gun jammed for EXACTLY THE SAME REASON - wouldn't he have learned his lesson?
  • Romano on ER. After getting his lower arm sliced off by the tail rotor of a helicopter in the previous season, the character dies when another helicopter goes out-of-control, explodes in midair, and lands on him. Ladies and gents, this is overkill at work.
    • Could be a writer's interpretation of karma or an ironic twist. Also somewhat lampshaded by Pratt suggesting that he must've done something awful to a helicopter in a previous life.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation did this when they unceremoniously killed off Tasha Yar in the episode "Skin of Evil". Denise Crosby had asked to be written out. She came back as Tasha in the episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", which mentioned that Tasha had died a senseless death, and gave the character a chance to exit with more dignity.
    • Though it's of note that Tasha's death was an attempt by the writers to actually subvert a trope... the one that says that it's always the nameless redshirts that are killed as an example of the evil alien's power. Unfortunately, Tasha's death came off as far too senseless (not to mention stuck in a really bad episode) and the fan outcry was such that it had to be revisited.
    • And later, we learn that Tasha's "do-over" death didn't take; instead she was captured by the Romulans and used as a sex slave for years before finally dying another quite ignominous death. And bizarrely, this was actually the idea of her own actress, who wanted to come back on the show and invented a way that she could play Tasha's Identical Daughter.
  • Near miss: Doctor Who is known for changing its lead actor every few seasons by having a near-death experience trigger a regeneration, resulting in a new body and changed personality. In most cases, this is due to the lead actor voluntarily choosing to leave the series, usually providing the production staff with sufficient notice to craft a story around the regeneration. In one case (the transition from Colin Baker to Sylvester McCoy), the lead actor was fired, and so without warning an episode began with the Doctor regenerating for a trivial reason, with McCoy playing the Before version (lying face-down and wearing an obvious wig) as well as the After version (briefly becoming The Other Darrin). Although the character didn't exactly die, a bridge was definitely dropped.
    • For the exact details, here's a quote from the factfile books. "Hitting his head on the TARDIS console". To be fair, he was being shot by The Rani.
    • The character of Romana underwent a surprise regeneration in Destiny of the Daleks, as actress Mary Tamm quit the series at the end of the previous season, and was replaced by Lalla Ward. Tamm had offered to return for Destiny of the Daleks in order to film a regeneration; she wasn't invited back and so Ward was introduced in a wacky sequence that remains a thorn in the side of some fans 30 years later.
    • Another character had a bridge dropped upon them in the 1980s. Kamelion was supposed to be a companion for the 5th Doctor who could change his shape into other humanoids. For some reason, the robotic form of Kamelion was portrayed by... a real robot. Problems arose when the only person on the planet who knew how to operate the blasted thing died without telling anyone else how to work it. This bridge was more out of necessity than anything else, but the fact that he barely shows up for two episodes and was cut out of another makes him a victim of a forgotten bridge at that.
    • And then there was the galaxy-scale bridge dropped on the Time Lords (including Romana, presumably) before the new series.
      • It doesn't stop them from returning in The End of Time. Then a bridge is dropped again. Sort of. Or it's the same bridge that they're sent to. Wibbly wobby... timey wimey..
  • On Star Trek: Enterprise, Trip kills himself in the series finale to rid the ship of 3 dim-witted space pirates, despite a full squad of MACOs being on board.
    • Retconned in the novels: The entire incident was staged by Section 31, and has not been declassified yet. Oh, the holodeck introduces many, many plot holes.
  • J. Michael Straczynski dropped a bridge on every single cute kid and robot that appeared in Babylon 5. He seemed to have a rather Anvilicious interest in them not ruining the show's "serious" tone.
    • That's because J. Michael Straczynski hates cute in general. To give you an idea, one episode of Babylon 5 had a teddy bear with the initials "JS" on its shirt that got a bridge dropped on it. That bear was given to him as a prank. His putting it into the episode like that was his counter prank.
  • Friends offers an in-story example: Joey brags in an interview about how he writes his own lines for his character, Dr. Drake Remoray, in the show Days of Our Lives. This irritates the writers, who have his character walk into an open elevator shaft, giving him brain damage that only his character could have repaired.
    • Eventually undone when Joey lets go of his ego and begs the producer for another chance. He doesn't get the part of Drake's twin brother Striker, but Striker turns out to be a doctor capable of fixing Drake's brain damage.
  • The end of the third season of Teachers saw the departure of the last two members of the original cast, who also happened to play fan favourites. As a rather bitter revenge, the fourth season opens on the graves of their characters being pissed on by the school's headmaster.
  • On L.A. Law, the character Roz steps into an elevator. The elevator isn't there and she falls down the shaft to her death. The end.
    • Widely noted by the press at the time as Diana Muldaur, the actress playing Roz, "getting the shaft". Perhaps a Lampshading?
  • Valerie Harper lost her self-titled sitcom when she asked for a salary increase after the first season. The producers responded by firing her, having her Valerie Hogan character die in a car crash, and then having her sitcom family mourn off-screen before Aunt Sandy Duncan took over the motherly duties under the new title Valerie's Family (eventually renamed The Hogan Family). Three episodes into the new season, all signs of Valerie Hogan literally went up in flames as the Hogan house caught on fire. Harper would later get a sizable settlement from Lorimar and the producers for their handling of the situation.
  • Ana Lucia, Libby and Mr. Eko on Lost. In the latter's case, they actually Dropped The Smoke Monster On Him.
    • An even better example is Michael - who dies after barely being in season four after his dramatic return. It doesn't help that the actor claimed there was a element of Unfortunate Implications to this-that they were Pandering to the Base, who apparently wanted him to get punished, and that the producers "felt a black man reuniting with his son wasn't interesting".
    • And then there's Daniel Faraday, one of the most interesting and plot-relevant of season 4's new characters, unceremoniously shot by his own mother. It Makes Sense in Context, but still sucks.
    • The death of Ilana in season 6.
    • The deaths of Dogen and Lennnon in season 6. Then again, Ilana, Dogen and Lennon kind of had no point being there in the first place.
  • The characters of both police Cpt. Amanda Cohen and police detective Don Schanke in the Canadian TV series Forever Knight (1989-1996) were unceremoniously killed off off-screen in a plane crash, in the first episode of the series' last season, despite the fact that Schanke had been a long-time friend and colleague of protagonist Nicholas "Nick" Knight, the titular vampire police detective (night shift). Schanke was replaced by a new (female) partner for Nick, and the department's captain replaced with an African-American male actor. The same year, Nick's vampiric lover Janette also left Toronto without explanation, came back as a human, was shot and turned into a vampire 'again, only to leave the show forever. Actually, all but one of the main characters (the villainous LaCroix)may or may not die at the end of the series, including possibly Nick himself.
  • Dollhouse has this happen to Bennett. Then later to Paul Ballard. Big ouchies on both of those, as neither of them had any warning or buildup.
  • After Susan Saint James left McMillan and Wife, it was continued for one season as McMillan with the explanation that Sally had died in a plane crash, along with their infant son (who was himself mostly a plot device to explain Saint James' pregnancy a season earlier, and never seen). Aside from one or two dialogue swipes at recovering from grief and getting back into the dating game, Mac didn't seem too shook up about the whole 'lost the True Love that propelled the entire series' thing.
  • Actor Ryan Cooley, who played student J.T. on Degrassi the Next Generation, wanted to leave the show to attend post-secondary education, so the character was written out. He was stabbed by a student from a fellow school, at the end of an episode revolving around a drunken house party, with no buildup whatsoever. Not only that, but his best friend, Toby, makes a move on the girl he used to date. Everyone pointed out how senseless it was. Compare to Rick Murray, the school sociopath whose death was simply epic.
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, when Xena, prophesied to spell the end of the Greek gods' reign, gains the power to kill gods, a group of them led by Athena attacks, and the whole group (except Athena herself, given a decent battle), some of whom were recurring allies or villains throughout years of the show as well as its parent series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, gets taken out more casually and anticlimactically than any Star Trek Red Shirt, one after another after another.
    • And who could forget the episode "Endgame," which killed off the (much beloved) Amazon regent Ephiny two minutes into the opening teaser. Still at least Ephiny died on screen; the following season Amarice, who had been Xena and Gabrielle's companion for a good run of episodes earlier that season, was unceremoniously killed offscreen during the teaser for the episode "Lifeblood" (by then the actress, Jennifer Sky, was starring in Cleopatra 2525, but Amarice's character arc ended with her being happily left with a tribe of Amazons, so mentioning her again just to say she was dead seemed, well, kind of mean and pointless).
  • On The Wire, a show that had otherwise made a point of giving every major character it killed off a satisfying (if heartbreaking) death, Omar was killed when a ten-year-old kid shot him in the head from behind in a random and anticlimactic scene. His death contrasted jarringly in its randomness and pointlessness with the respect the show gave to the other characters. Notable in that contrary to most bridge-droppings, it was done deliberately to make a thematic point, and it was planned well in advance.
    • The Bill's makers decided not to renew Jeff Stewart's contract as Reg Hollis, a move that may have resulted in his attempting suicide on set. Hollis, a highly popular character with more than 20 years in the show, gets written out off-screen with comments that he's resigned due to the death of PC Emma Keane. Not only has Hollis been around for every death in the show's history, he's been directly involved in the discovery that Des Taviner was responsible for the Sun Hill Fire and the loss of his girlfriend just as he was to propose to her. A move like that is completely out of character for him.
  • Heartbeat: Pick an Aidensfield GP. Any Aidensfield GP. One drowned after wandering into a river to retrieve a fishing rod. One burnt to death after running into a burning building to save a boy who'd already been rescued by someone else. One fell off a horse she was trying to save from rustlers who'd have been arrested anyway if she'd just stood there and done nothing. One was blown up by a schoolboy who was upset because his dog had been run over. Only Kate Rowan's failed battle with leukaemia managed to be a genuine Tear Jerker. (There was another one who bucked the trend by staying alive long enough to be Put on a Bus.)
  • When Waking the Dead had to write out DS Mel Silver, arguably the show's Ensemble Darkhorse, they chose to kill her off in the stupidest way possible, murdered on a whim not by anyone important but by a Mook with an F in Evil. Who promptly committed suicide. (Just to add insult to injury, the Manipulative Bastard who set the whole thing up apparently escapes justice at the end.)
  • D.L. Hawkins from Heroes. At first we are lead to believe he died in a Heroic Sacrifice. However, in a flashback episode, it turns out he made a full recovery from the sacrifice, only to get killed by some random guy in a bar. To make matters worse, he could phase himself through bullets, so this falls under Idiot Ball as well.
    • Caitlin got it even worse, having gone to the future and not making it back. At best, she was simply wiped from existence when that future was averted. At worst, she's stuck in a future where small pockets of humanity live in quarantine from a horrible disease. And all before she got half a clue about the weirdness going on. (The writers intended to follow up on this, but the writer's strike made it an Aborted Arc).
    • In season 3, Adam is brought out of the coffin he was trapped in. The next episode, he gets a bridge dropped on him-Arthur touches him, he ages 400 years, crumbles into dust, and is just suddenly dead...all before the main titles. This death served the vital task of adding the fifth Petrelli to the cast.
    • When you think about it, Heroes seems unable to kill off characters in any way OTHER than this trope. With the notable exceptions of Isaac and Daphne, virtually every character death has been some sort of "bridge drop".
    • Elle. She was killed by Sylar hours after he sacrificed himself so that she could escape from Noah. The only reason for her death was that Kristen Bell was at the end of her contract. And to make things worse, she hardly whimpers while Sylar cuts her head open, whereas the last time he tried to kill her she discharged an electrical arc that knocked him unconscious and took power out for an entire building. Without even trying. At the very least she could have tried to defend herself instead of letting herself be murdered which is impossible anyway.
    • In Dual, the level 5 villains. They all get offed by Sylar off-screen (except for Doyle, who ends up not dying). The most notable example is Echo DeMille, who got his own set of webisodes dedicated to him prior to the start of the season, disappeared until Dual, and was killed off before he ever said a word. Also worthy of note is Scott, the Super Soldier Marine all set up to be an Ascended Extra. Instead, he gets his neck snapped by Knox, who incidently, is killed later that same episode as well, also in an anti-climactic way.
    • Volume 4 finale, An Invisible Thread. After saving the world repeatedly, and during a phase where he's trying his hardest to atone for the dickery of the entire season, Nathan Petrelli gets killed. As he does. But instead of the dramatic, epic deaths that were given to him previously, he dies alone, frightened and bleeding out in an armchair in an empty room after getting his throat cut by Sylar. Fridge Logic sets in on just HOW horrible the death is after the credits roll. And let's not even start on the plan of mind-wiping Sylar and using him to replace Nathan. Yes, we like Adrian Pasdar, but this is just EMBARRASSING for all concerned, and has led to cries of Ruined FOREVER by a large number of fans.
    • Early in Volume 5, Danko, a ruthless special-hunting soldier who was the Big Bad of Volume 4, is unceremoniously gutted in his own home by a Knife Nut Fragile Speedster to obtain a plot MacGuffin that was somehow in his abdomen.
  • Alexandra Borgia's death on Law and Order reeks of this trope. Her character was kidnapped, beaten, and stuffed in a car trunk and abandoned in the woods, where she choked on her own vomit. Her brutal murder drives the last half of that episode, and then she hasn't been mentioned since (two seasons and counting). The trope is counts double, if one believes the rumors that her unusually brutal death was a result of Borgia's actress (Annie Parisse) spurning the romantic advances of the show's head writer.
    • Annie Parisse left to pursue a movie career. Apparently, Dick Wolf told her, "Oh, thank you for coming in early. You don't mind if we kill you, do you?"
    • There's also Max Greevey, who died offscreen in the cold opening for the 2nd season premiere after George Dzundza left the show.
    • Total inversion with Claire Kincaid, in an episode without any investigation, but following the actions of the four leads after having witnessed an execution, Kincaid offers a ride home to a very drunk Detective Brisco (Jerry Orbach). On the way there, her car is struck by a drunk driver and she's killed. Brisco survives, and the shock of the event is enough to get him sober and in AA.
    • Law and Order Special Victims Unit has ADA Kim Greyleck, who went on a business trip to Washington and never came back. She was abysmal, and they brought back Alex Cabot, so no-one gave a damn.
  • NBC's Las Vegas had a tendency to kill off the Montecito's owners at a rate of about one per season, but none quite so bizarrely as when Monica Mancuso was carried off of the roof of the casino by a strong gust of wind.
  • A literal bridge dropping happens to Shane in Degrassi Junior High - while a bridge fell on Kirk, Shane falls off of it while tripping on LSD. Shane survives but is brain-damaged, his parents pull him from the school, and the kid who gave him the drugs (and watched him fall off the bridge, doing nothing) suffers no consequences. Shane is basically ignored and forgotten by the rest of the cast, and the show implies that this is poetic justice for how he (mostly) ignored and forgot a girl who he got pregnant. In Degrassi the Next Generation, his daughter tracks him down, and it turns out that he spent the rest of his life in a wretched sanitarium for the mentally retarded, abandoned by his family, and weeping over the girlfriend and child he never did enough for and never got to see.
  • Blakes Seven killed regular character Cally out of shot in an explosion during the opening seconds of the fourth season, with only a dubbed-in scream reused from an earlier episode to indicate it. This was reportedly because the actor had left it until after the previous season had been completed to announce that she wanted to leave.
  • The death of Lt. Colonel Henry Blake in M* A* S* H After getting to go home, the last line of the episode announces that his plane has been shot down, with no survivors.
    • However, this is a total subversion of the trope: even though it was a senseless death, it was perfectly in line with everything that the show was meant for, i.e., war is hell, and people die indiscriminately, regardless of whether they are important people or not. So his death, though anti-climactic in theory, was not inappropriate or unsatisfying, but very appropriate, well-done, and respected by viewers. Of course, it wasn't respected by viewers in the '70s when it actually happened, but that was because it is the Ur Example of this trope in TV comedies.
  • James Wistler in Prison Break, who got killed out of nowhere, just so the Post Script Season plot could be extended even further. Granted, it does give some cool impression of Anyone Can Die, but still...
  • In the opening of the second season of Law and Order, George Dzundza's character is killed off screen in the opening stinger.
    • Adding insult to injury, it wasn't even Dzundza we see fall - it was a body double.
  • Adam Carter's death in the 7th season premiere of Spooks. Despite being one of the country's best spies, he performs a useless handbrake turn in a bomb-rigged car which cost him precious seconds.
    • Not to mention he loses more precious seconds at the start, when he stops to put on his seatbelt.
    • Earlier, Zafar was initially thought to have been killed by being shot, then set on fire, only later for the team to find out he'd actually been sold off to a foreign power, tortured for information, then killed. On the one hand this does show how dangerous the life of a spy can be, but offing likable characters in such a manner still comes across as needlessly cruel. Maybe that's the point.
  • Jadzia Dax of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is randomly killed by Gul Dukat in mid-prayer without getting a shot at self-defense.
    • What kind of self-defense could she put up when she's taken by surprise by a sociopath with energy-projection powers?
      • This may have been more of a Take That to Terry Farrell, she asked to be downgraded to a recurring character for the last season and the writers killed her off.
  • Bart Bass on Gossip Girl is hit by a car offscreen. To add insult to injury, he was on his way to try and reconcile with his wife, Lily.
  • Stargate Atlantis: If Carson Beckett's untimely demise doesn't count then nothing does. Some random Alien device that causes anyone affected by it to grow a rather malignant exploding tumor was found and activated by two unfortunate no-names. He died after removing and passing it to someone else, mostly because he couldn't walk away fast enough.
    • Something similar happened to Janet Fraiser in Stargate SG-1, but it was meant to be a subversion. That season was supposed to be the last one, the writers thought they were writing her out of 2 episodes (the 2-part season finale) and giving the character a respectful death, instead of 3 seasons and 2 episodes and a seemingly insignificant death. Also even though the death seems random it was actually a Heroic Sacrifice in order to save the life of a wounded airmen; the episode was even called "Heroes".
    • Maybe the writers just don't like doctors? (Although the Bridginess-factor was somewhat mitigated (both times) by excellent building of tension throughout the episode, so that the character deaths were more of a punch to a gut than a let-down.)
    • Then Carson (actually, his clone) is brought back, and the explosion incident is almost never mentioned again. Also, this Carson is somehow better at using the control chair than the original (he's engaged in a space battle in the series finale between Atlantis and a super-hive).
  • In Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Jonny is killed off-screen by being eaten by a shark in Hawaii, after trying to jump it (in an entire episode that parodies the concept of "jumping the shark"). This was due to Ralf Little wanting to leave the show to concentrate on his movie career.
    • A similar stunt was pulled in an earlier season, when Flo is killed off-screen when she gets hit by a truck. Again, this was due to Beverley Callard having to leave the show to return to her role in Coronation Street.
  • When Bret Harrison, who was intended to appear in the last season of That '70s Show resigned due to his commitment to Reaper, his character Charlie fell off the Point Place water tower and, unlike every other character who ever did that on the show, died. He obviously was quickly forgotten: in the finale, twenty-one episodes after seeing the death of a new friend, Kelso doesn't hesitate to jump from the water tower again.
    • It's lampshaded during the credits of the episode by having the Donna, Fez, and Kelso sitting on the water tower lamenting over Charlie's death. It is mentioned how many times Kelso fell off and what could have happened to him. Kelso responds by saying that they think they're invincible but they really can get hurt. Kelso then falls of the water tower yet again and remarks off screen "Screw that, I'm invincible."
  • Parodied a couple of episodes into the latest series of The IT Crowd, on a non-returning character: "Whatever happened to Richmond?" "He... got... scurvy."
    • Played straight when Denholm Reynholm tosses himself out the window in the first scene of a season 2 episode when the police come to talk to him about "irregularities in the pension fund."
  • Derek Reese in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, randomly killed by a newly arrived Terminator early in an episode, with the show's return for a third season questionable. We even get a couple nice closeups of the bullet hole right in the middle of his forehead to make it clear he's Killed Off for Real.
    • Making this even more notable is that it was just one episode after minor recurring character Charlie Dixon got to go out as a hero, sacrificing himself to buy John time to escape some assassins. In contrast, Derek is just hit rounding a corner, in a moment shot exactly the same way as the Red Shirt death a couple minutes earlier. Quite a few fans have compared it to Omar's death in The Wire mentioned above, as it's clearly meant to give the same message: sometimes even heroes die due to random quirks of fate.
  • On House Kutner was found Killed Off for Real because Kal Penn joined the White House staff and asked to quit the show. While the characters death is presumed to be suicide, House has his doubts and the producers are planning to craft a Story Arc out of this until the end of season 5.
    • Later in the season, House starts having hallucinations of Amber. In the season finale, he hallucinates Kutner as well.
    • Somewhat averted (or at least not as bad as it could have been). Executive Producer David Shore said, "this was the story that allowed us to really have the greatest impact on House in particular.... If Penn had come to us and said, "I've been offered this great part on 'CSI' ... then it would have been autoerotic asphyxiation or something like that."
  • Similarly, Tippi was Killed Off for Real in Satisfaction as the actor was going overseas to pursue other opportunities. This is not the first time this character had faced death; she was nearly killed by a tranquilizer administered by a mortician with a fetish for dead people.
  • On Reno 911!, they play this for laughs. The deputies are riding on the side of a police car that has been converted into a float, but they are late and speeding so they crash into a building. On the next season opener, Deputies Johnson, Garcia, and Kimball apparently died as a result from "burning up in the fire," but none of the other characters have a scratch on them and Dangle can't even remember their names.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Guess it seemed like having George Put on a Bus wasn't enough for the showrunners, so they decided to throw him under it as well. Literally. Didn't see that one coming.
  • The death of Galactica mechanic Jammer in Battlestar Galactica. After several episodes of development, Jammer becomes a Cylon sympathizer during their occupation of New Caprica. He is one of the few people to survive a suicide bomber's explosion in the third season premiere, and later tells Cally to escape when a number of civilians are sent to be executed by firing squad. Despite this, he is cruelly airlocked by Starbuck and several other Galactica crew members while begging for his life in the teaser for the episode "Collaborators", and never mentioned again. Worst of all, Cally[1] conveniently forgets about the person who saved her life.
    • Also the death of gunnery sargeant Erin Matthias due to an accidental ignition in a Heavy Raider's fuel system. Starbuck gives a speech afterwards about how death is meaningless, stupid, and random.
  • Zev from Lexx. In the second episode of the second season, the lone female on the Lexx spacecraft is caught on a medical station when her friend and captain, Stanley, has to go for an operation. She is tortured for the majority of the episode by a doctor who is trying to steal the Lexx's activation key from her, but she escapes and sacrifices herself seconds later to save the life of the undead assassin, Kai, with whom she is deeply in love. She ends up as a pile of goo, and eventually reforms into Xev (played by Xenia Seeberg). Eva Habermann (who played Zev) wanted out of the show due to wishing to persue other projects, but her death scene was a particularly mean-spirited way to go.
  • On the Law and Order: Criminal Intent Season 7 finale, Det. Robert Goren's mentor Declan Gage collaborates with Arch Enemy Nicole Wallace to kill Det. Goren's brother Frank. After that's been done, he kills Nicole as well. Both deaths occur offscreen, and Nicole's identity is confirmed through DNA testing.
  • Charlie Francis was killed off in the season 2 premiere of Fringe in a rather insultingly anti-climactic fashion - especially when one considers an entire season 1 episode was devoted to saving his life. As usual, Executive Meddling is to blame.
    • Bioterrorist mastermind David Robert Jones is killed off in an absurdly anti-climatic Portal Cut in the last episode of the first series ("There's More Than One of Everything"). It's even worse that he was physically displaying his immunity to bullets in his showdown with Olivia at the portal only a few seconds ago.
      • Though that one's later reversed by a handy timeline change.
  • The remake of The Prisoner had a little girl and Number Six's love interest fall down bottomless pits.
  • Parodied in the Hancock's Half Hour episode 'The Bowmans'. Tony Hancock's character, Joshua Merryweather, has been written out of the eponymous soap but overwhelming public reaction forces the producers to bring him back. Tony Hancock accepts only if given full script approval; and the next episode features every other character walking across a field and falling down an abandoned mine shaft.
  • Choujin Sentai Jetman. Gai Yuuki/Black Condor survived the whole ordeal against the Vyram and made it out of the final battle. Then 3 years later, he's stabbed by a mugger, managed to attend his friend's wedding enough to give them his blessings, then dies. No one, not even his friends, seemed to notice. Many Sentai fans argued how his death's handled, some say it's a refreshing change of how Toku heroes can die out of normal circumstances; some say it's badly handled for the sake of tributing Joe the Condor (who also dies in his series).
  • After Karl Mayer in Desperate Housewives was killed by a crashing plane the next episode had Susan and Bree have 'what if he lived fantasies' in which he ended cheating on each of them without remorse. As if to make sure the got across the message that it was a good thing he died the show avoided showing his presumably devastated daughter reacting to his death by having her make only a blink and you'll miss it appearance at the end of the episode.
  • In Season 5 of Desperate Housewives, Edie Britt drove her car into a pole, but survives just long enough to be electrocuted just to be certain she was gone for real this time, not just Put on a Bus
  • In Torchwood: Children of Earth: Day Four, a bridge is dropped on Ianto Jones. He and Jack enact the plan of marching into the alien's base, demanding it surrenders with no bargaining tool, then shooting at bullet-proof glass. The alien then releases a toxic gas that kills everyone in the building (Jack comes back to life in the aftermath).
  • Subverted hilariously in Episode 13 of season 1 of Community, "Investigative Journalism", as the first Spanish class of the new semester features a memorial for Señor Chang and a new teacher explaining he had an unfortunate moped accident during the break. Señor Chang then enters the room, dismisses the teacher, saying she was a professional actress to teach the class that "[he] can never die".
    • But then by season 3, the show does it for real with Starburns.
  • Chuck: Emmett the Buy More assistant manager in the Season 3 opener being shot in the head at point blank range despite being no threat at all to the enemy agent. An Asshole Victim for sure, and there are many who would quickly say that he deserved what he got, but others think it was a bit shocking given that, by and large, the Buy More crew was a separate world from the the Spy world and any danger to them was usually done for slapstick. The flippant way Casey covered it up while pressing the Reset Button was a bit callous, even for him.
  • The Swamp Thing TV series had a cross between this and Put on a Bus to Hell. As said in The Other Wiki:

"The series also introduced characters like the Kipp family, as well as a completely new incarnation of Anton Arcane played by Mark Lindsay Chapman. A young boy named Jim Kipp, played by Jess Ziegler, was intended to appeal to the young audience. However, after the first 12 episodes, a decision was made to return the series back to a darker theme seen in the original Swamp Thing film. Consequently, the story had Kipp abducted by a South American child stealing ring and never appear again."

  • A sort of inverse on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In this case a character was killed off after he dropped off a bridge. Hilary's anchorman boyfriend Trevor decides to propose to her while bungee jumping on live television. Unfortunately his bungee cord was a little too long.
  • In Highlander the Series, Duncan rescues Tessa from the renegade watcher Pallin Wolf. Immediately after that, she's shot by a mugger and dies.
    • Even more awkward is the handling of Richie Ryan's death in the fifth season finale 'Archangel'. Richie had spent the past season or so Taking A Level In BadAss after a close call when a temporarily-insane Duncan nearly took his head. He is shown to triumph over a few Immortals, and is said to have slain a number of other enemy Immortals off-screen. And he tells Duncan that he's prepared just in case Duncan were to go crazy again. However, all this is forgotten in 'Archangel', where Duncan, being tricked into seeing images of his old enemies by a Zoroastrian demon not previously known to exist in the Highlander universe accidentally takes Richie's head when Richie (who KNOWS something's not right and something's causing Duncan to see things that aren't there) just walks in on the scene and gets his head cut off. This was considered the show's Jump the Shark moment by a number of fans.
  • Near the end of Series 4 of Skins, Freddie is suddenly beaten to death with a baseball bat by Effy's crazed psychiatrist, who was introduced in the same episode. Chris's death in the earlier series was actually believing and heartfelt, while Freddie's felt abrupt and mean-spirited. Not to mention that the series ends just after Cooke discovers his death, with no chance to see the others' reactions.
  • Eddie LeBec from Cheers, one of Carla's most recurring love interests then husband. Though never being a cast regular, he was permanently written off the show when he (offscreen, of course), was run over by a Zamboni trying to push a fellow cast member of the ice show he worked at out of the way. On the very same episode, it was revealed he had a mistress whom he also got pregnant and married (despite already being married to Carla obviously), leading an enraged Carla to reuse the name Tortelli. The producers of the show explained this turn of events at the time as test audiences not liking Carla being married, until almost two decades later, both Jay Thomas (who played Eddie) and one of the writers revealed this was actually the result of the former being fired due to making an insulting remark about Rhea Perlman (who played Carla) on live radio (while Rhea happened to be listening, no less).
  • Jesse Cardoza on CSI: Miami only lasted 25 episodes before being the lone casualty of the gas attack against the lab.
  • On Neighbours the three members of the Bishop family were the only casualties of a crashed plane, which they only boarded at the last minute. Their family and friends took about three days to get over the loss.
    • Also Connor, who was either killed by Paul Robinson's crazy son or went on a Long Bus Trip overseas.
    • Bridget Parker's death fills the 'awkward' part of this trope: She died as the result of a mysterious rampaging white horse running out in front of her car and causing it to crash. The horse is never seen, heard of or mentioned again. (Considering her family were in the car, you'd think they would have looked into that; possibly even sue the owner of the horse for negligence causing death?)
      • Speaking of horses, they killed off Libby Kennedy's husband Drew Kirk by having him fall off a horse shortly after her marriage. They also had Toadie's first wife Drew Bliss die in a car crash shortly after their marriage - Neighbours writers don't seen to like people living happily ever after...
  • Supernatural. Although they didn't actually die, this could easily apply to Lucifer and Michael themselves. After fully two seasons of Apocalyptic build-up, they both get dropped in a hole and left to rot. They never even got to throw a punch at each other, much less have their epic world-ending battle.
    • One episode features a whole bunch of immensely powerful pagan gods who are pretty savagely slaughtered by Lucifer. Most of them didn't even die onscreen. And while Gabriel's death was a little more dramatic, it was still pretty anti-climatic, all things considered. As with the finale, he didn't even get to throw a punch before Lucifer skewered him.
    • Avoided in the season 5 finale. Lucifer explodes Castiel with a click of his fingers and then breaks Bobby's neck, but they were resurrected. For a moment though, it looks like the show has just killed off two of its most popular characters in the blink of an eye.
    • Season 7 has seen this trope rather brutally applied to Castiel - after his big A God Am I moment in the Season 6 finale seemed to set him up as the Big Bad for Season 7, he spends one single episode going kill crazy, starts to worry about his own rapidly deteriorating mental state, releases all the extra power he absorbed, and just when you think he's going to be okay, he promptly gets possessed by the actual Big Bad who then informs Sam and Dean that Castiel is dead. And since this happened, his name has barely come up, despite the fact that he was pretty much the closest and most loyal friend the Winchesters had after Bobby. Of course, fans are adamantly clinging to the belief that he's not really gone and since he's died twice in the past and got better the possibility is there.
  • Lieutenant Bracegirdle in the Horatio Hornblower series. A fairly major character in Series 1, disappears for Series 2 but is reintroduced as an important character for the third series ... only to have the boat he was in get hit with an exploding shell and kill everyone on board.
  • Between seasons 1 and 2 on Fringe, Charlie is killed only to be replaced by a shapeshifting imposter.
  • In the finale of season 1 of Primeval, Claudia Brown is erased from history, replaced in season 2 by the identical Jenny Lewis.
    • Then you have the main character of the whole series, Nick Cutter, who is unceremoniously shot by his wife, whom he was trying to find for years. All because she believes that he will result in humankind's destruction. Then she tries to kill off all of humanity. Umm, ok.
    • This appears to be the case with Danny Quinn, who goes to the past and gets stuck there, after Nick's wife has a Raptor Dropped On Her. He does come back for a single episode later, only to disappear again.
    • Sarah Page is introduced in Season 3 and becomes a regular, even traveling to Medieval England to chat up the locals. In Season 4, it's briefly implied that she's dead. A webisode probably confirms this, although it's never explicitly stated or shown that she's dead. Regardless, she never shows up again.
  • The death of Marian on the BBC's Robin Hood not only led to so many complaints that the BBC had to resort to automated emails of apology, but also the show's imminent cancellation (despite in-show attempts to set up for a fourth season). In the climax of the second season Marian puts herself between an injured and helpless King Richard and Guy of Gisborne and, after he insists that he will take her by force rather than take her alternative of killing the Sheriff and having her by her consent, begins to shout "I love Robin Hood! I'm going to marry Robin Hood!" Guy, who has been going through significant Character Development for love of her, responds by impaling her on his sword. To make matters worse, to get Marian to this point, the writers first make her act wildly Out of Character by having her attempt to assassinate the sheriff, deprive her of a weapon to defend herself with, and conveniently remove Robin from the scene despite the fact he was right on her tail only a few seconds ago. And why did this happen? According to creators Foz Allen and Dominic Mingella: shock value. Yes, Maid freaking Marian herself was killed off for nothing more than cheap shock value.
    • You also have Carter, who only showed up in a few episodes but was still a favorite character. He is a master swordsman and archer, rivaling even Robin himself and has been fighting in the Holy Land for awhile. Then he gets stabbed by the Sheriff because he blindly ran into a building without looking first. He literally runs into the Sheriff's sword. He's not mentioned again.
  • Charlie's death on Two and A Half Men certainly qualifies as he was killed by a girlfriend pushing him into an on-coming train. It was done between seasons and off-camera.
  • Poor Lancelot of Merlin. At first the writers gave him a pretty great death: he willingly sacrifices himself by stepping into the spirit world in order to save Merlin's life and fulfil his vow to Guinevere to keep Arthur safe from harm. Arthur subsequently has a memorial service in which he is remembered as the best and noblest knight of Camelot. Unfortunately, the writers couldn't leave well enough alone, and Lancelot is resurrected by Morgana in order to stir up trouble between Arthur and Guinevere in the lead-up to their wedding. This Zombie!Lancelot is a slave to Morgana's will who exists only to do her bidding, and after Mind Raping Guinevere with an enchanted bracelet, he ensures that Arthur catches them making out, leading to the dissolution of their relationship and Gwen's exile from Camelot. He is then ordered by Morgana to kill himself, and does so in the grimy prison cell into which he's been thrown, to be remembered not as a hero but as a traitor, whose last act on earth was to destroy the life of the woman he adored, and who died not out of love for his friends, but because Morgana told him to. For a man who was characterized as the epitome of honour and self-sacrifice, it's probably the worst imaginable way they could have killed him off.
  • Dale on The Walking Dead was given a rather unceremonious exit after the actor requested to leave.


Myth and Legend

  • Jason of the Argonaunts survived a voyage to the end of the world; some time long after his travels are done, after the whole tragic mess with Medea, he dies when a piece of the Argo's prow breaks off and hits him on the head. Euripides was the first writer to mention how he died, making this Older Than Feudalism. He died alone, miserable, and unloved, killed by the prophetic prow provided by the patron goddess he betrayed.


Newspaper Comics

  • Stephan Pastis kills off characters all the time in Pearls Before Swine (and then inexplicably brings them back months later). The most humiliating might be Leonard, who was brought in as a new roommate to Rat and Pig, but whom Pastis quickly decided didn't fit in. So Leonard got his head stuck in the toilet and drowned.
    • Made particularly painful by the fact that the first three panels of said comic consisted of Pastis saying that he wanted to give Leonard a good, dignified death.


Professional Wrestling

  • WWE wrestler Muhammad Hassan may be the only wrestler to ever have his character killed off without the wrestler himself dying (at least before 2007 - see below), due to Executive Meddling on the part of the UPN network. After UPN demanded he be removed, his next Pay-Per-View match saw him thrown through a metal stage by The Undertaker. Our last sight of him is him laying in a pool of his own blood, surrounded by twisted wreckage.
    • Vince McMahon himself would later fall victim to this trope, as the 6-11-2007 episode of Monday Night Raw, which the chairman had dubbed "Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night", ended with a stricken, dejected Vince entering a limousine, which promptly exploded. (Perhaps, in a medium known for phony "firings" and "retirements", Vince felt he needed a more dramatic method of writing himself off of television).
      • Ironically, they were going to resolve the "who killed Vince McMahon" storyline on the RAW after the Vengeance: Night of Champions pay-per-view, if I recall correctly, but then Chris Benoit died in real life. The storyline was quietly dropped, with Vince admitting the whole thing was faked.
        • Some time after that, they dropped a stage on him to resolve the Million Dollar Mania storyline. Of course, he got better.
  • Ring of Honor did this with Dan Maff after he royally pissed off Homicide; they wrote him out due to a "car accident." The kicker: Maff was one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions with BJ Whitmer.
    • Oddly enough, this would happen to Whitmer as well. In the shadow of a long losing streak, he was unceremoniously kicked out of the Hangmen Three when Larry Sweeney bought them out. Even better, the angle was only aired in clip form on ROH's Take No Prisoners PPV.


Tabletop Games

  • Every time there's an Edition change in Forgotten Realms, they take the pruning shears to the various established characters and the deities. Some get awesome deaths. Azuth the god of mages, an ascended mortal that got his position by kicking the ass of the previous god of mages, pretty much gets eaten by Asmodeus to fuel his ascension to godhood.
    • For the 4th Edition, they literally drop a continent on several Realms to get rid of them.
    • Rumour has it that Mystra, greater deity of magic and A God Am I Canon Sue, got killed by getting hit on the back of the head, along with numerous other Canon Sue characters, though most of them departed in ways that imply they can be brought back *groan* .
    • Also pulled on a vast array of characters. See also Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.
  • The Squats of Warhammer 40,000 got a hive-fleet dropped on them. In hindsight, this may have been certainly was for the best...


Toys

  • The standard way for a Bionicle character to go, if they happen not to play a very very crucial role, probably to show off how Darker and Edgier the story has become. Reached the status of a Running Gag for the fandom.
    • The first notable example is Botar, a mysterious and thoroughly loyal servant of justice, also a jailer with the power to teleport, who already appeared in a scene or two—got his organs crushed just so that the main characters could escape, only to be replaced by another member of his species shortly thereafter.
    • Carapar, one of the main antagonists for a whole year-long arc, former warlord, who went on to become part of a rag-tag misfit group sent on a mission by the good guys—zapped to dust to show off the otherworldliness of an Eldritch Abomination they chanced upon, never to impact the plot.
    • Ancient's fate could well be the worst example of this in the franchise's run. Just read his entry over here.
    • Guardian, a Narrative Filigree kinda guy who for the first time got a spotlight, grouping together with the mainest of all characters—within seconds, the baddie crushed him purely For the Evulz.
    • Telluris had the largest, most expensive set of the year, and seemed like a totally likable, if totally insane, gray-morality Designated Villain, who for his second major appearance became the secondary hero of a story—only to idiotically get himself toasted by attacking an Eldritch Abomination he had just spent half a chapter running away from, when the story was almost over anyway. It never impacted the plot, and the only acknowledgment he received was from his former friend, who sarcastically remarked how pointless this scene was, then promptly forgot about him.


Video Games

  • The two creators of Fallout split up, with the remaining one saying that all of the non-human characters all died due to a gigantic explosion following Fallout 2, apparently sharing J. Michael Straczynski's overzealous frothing hatred for cute kids and robots.
    • Also, Chris Avellone and the Black Isle dropped a bridge on the Wannamigos in the Fallout Bible, having described their sterility, genetic clock and an onslaught of a travelling tribal.
  • When Eric Chahi created Another World, he had no intention of making a sequel, preferring to let the ambiguous ending (Buddy loading Lester's broken body into a pterodactyl and flying it to safety) stand alone. Interplay wasn't about to have any of that. So when Heart of the Alien was made, it became clear there was no feasible way of sending Lester back to his home world. Thus, Lester dies saving Buddy and the game ends with his cremation.
  • Axel's position in the Kingdom Hearts series as the Magnificent Bastard of Chain of Memories and best friend of Roxas in Kingdom Hearts II promised great things for him. However his role is greatly reduced after the Prolonged Prologue, and his death—he shows up out of nowhere, does a sudden Heel Face Turn Heroic Sacrifice and finishes with a Final Speech—comes off as quite anti-climactic. One gets the impression that the writers were facing a deadline to kill off Organization XIII, for not long after this you encounter a locked door and convenient portals leading to the rest of the surviving members. That's right, in the end the members of the Big Bad Organization are reduced to mere boss battles.
    • Nomura states in the Japanese Character Report book that Axel was originally supposed to die in the Prologue final battle. This probably accounts for his expanded role feeling reduced and tacked-on.
  • This trope is played for laughs somewhat in Drakengard's fifth ending, in which Caim and the dragon, having defeated the Ultimate Evil after following it through a rift in the space time continuum, are shot down by Japanese Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets. It's unbelievably anticlimactic to the point where after everything that has preceded it, you have to laugh.
  • A version of this is in the pseudo-ASCII game Dwarf Fortress, where one has the ability to construct drawbridges. If you lift the drawbridge and then send it back down over anything, it will be vaporized - and I mean anything, from small inanimate objects to dragons and colossi. (Lovingly referred to as the "dwarven atom smasher".)
    • Though in later versions, certain enemies, like demons, are actually immune to the drawbridge effect, causing the bridges to break.
    • Literally, if the player wants to get rid of a dwarf.
  • Nethack allows dropping a drawbridge on yourself.
  • Aldo Trapani, the protagonist of the EA adaptation of The Godfather, gets abruptly sniped dead in the opening level to allow for new player character Dominic to take his place.
  • In StarCraft, the Zerg cerebrates were stated to have died out in between Brood Wars and Starcraft II by Chris Metzen due to the death of the Overmind. But that was because most of the cerebrates had merged into that Overmind, including Daggoth.
    • Which is especially odd considering that the final battle at the end of Brood War wasn't even over Kerrigan (who is on Char with the rest of the Broods). The three strongest armies in the game converge on that platform to kill but one cerebrate: You.
  • Played for laughs and drama in obscure adventure game Shadow of Destiny, in which the entire goal of the game is to travel back in time and prevent your own murder; some deaths are dramatic, some are just plain funny. In the C ending in which the player does the bare minimum to win, Eike finally prevents his own murder, lies down on the road to contemplate his own existence, and, after a soulful monologue, gets run over by a drunk driver.
  • The backstory to Chrono Cross basically does this to practically the entire cast of its predecessor, Chrono Trigger.
    • This only really applies to Crono, Marle, and Lucca. The reason the rest of the cast wasn't present was shown in the ending of Chrono Trigger. The other characters all had returned to their original time periods and only those three characters were still in the present.
    • It also applies to Prometheus, aka Robo, whose circuits (which apparently carried his personality) were used to construct the Prometheus Lock that kept the Frozen Flame sealed away from FATE. The most ignominous part is that, once she has recovered her access to it, she could have deleted Prometheus at any time. She was just waiting for Serge & Co (who have ZERO connection to Prometheus and don't even know who or what he is) to arrive at her inner sanctum, so the player could watch as she unceremoniously destroyed him without fuss or fanfare.
  • The moral based horror puzzle video game Catherine kills off the main character like this in the action stages if the player is not careful.
    • Also happens during one of the endings where Vincent chases after C-Catherine because he loves her, but due to his lack of chaos (Chaos and Law is basicly the game's karma meter) he get's promptly ran over by a truck, with his friend doing an epic Jaw Drop in shock.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, a lot of characters make a Heroic Sacrifice to...allow other characters to enter the hero's limited party. This wouldn't be bad if EVERY SINGLE DEATH SCENE (with one exception) weren't being so blatant on "Hey, I'm getting rid of the character!" A particularly annoying instance is when Palom and Porom sacrifice their lives to save the party from a classic "wall-smashing" trap. It would be okay if there weren't two doors in the room. Both made of plain wood (and possibly any character of the party would be able to destroy a insignificant wooden door).
    • Except that for the most part none of those characters die. Hell, Palom and Porom's "death" wasn't even actually life threatening. They just cast a Break spell to turn themselves to stone. The game even makes a point of the fact that because they cast it on themselves no one else can undo it, but they can undo it themselves whenever they feel like it. Which they do at the end of the game, after the trap has been deactivated. By the end of the game the only character who is actually dead is Tellah.
    • Given the trap was arranged as a Taking You with Me by the Fiend of Water Cagnazzo, breaking the doors would probably not be a possibility.
    • Now, if you want a real example of this Trope in action in the Final Fantasy, take a look at Final Fantasy II which can and will drop bridges on characters in the fourth slot and whole cyclones on a number of towns, usually with as little warning as possible.
    • Similarly, another rather silly "Hey, let's force the player to try a new character"-moment is when Cid and Yang sacrifices themselves: Yang pushes the rest out of a room with 3 cannons that are about to blow up, and locks the door, rather than running with them and getting Rydia to seal the door. Cid is even lamer. He jumps off the Falcon, holding a high-explosive incendiary in his hand, despite the fact that he might as well have thrown the bomb. In the end, even Theodore/Golbez and FuSoYa sacrifice themselves, only to survive.
  • Cid in Final Fantasy VI dies from eating bad fish. Which you, the player character, fed him, you jerk. What makes this especially infuriating is that there is a way to ensure he doesn't die, but you're unlikely to figure it out without a guide the first time around. Granted, letting him die actually leads to a much more touching and emotional scene, but it's still a pretty random way to go out.[2]
    • Shadow's death is similarly done. If you don't wait long enough as the floating continent is destroyed, Shadow dies. This changes the ending.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, After coming Back from the Dead, Liquid Snake is not defeated and killed in a fistfight with Solid Snake but actually by having his arm surgically removed from Ocelot's body and getting replaced with a mechanical prosthetic before the game even started. Ocelot simply uses a combination of nanomachines and hypnotherapy to make himself think he was Liquid all along.
  • In Mortal Kombat 9, this happens to nearly everyone who dies. Granted, Word of God isn't even denying that they'll all be back but that doesn't make it any less annoying.
  • Echo in Red Faction II has a bridge dropped on him in the "Hangin' in the Hood" mission via the Face Heel Turned Quill's railgun.
    • And not to forget the original Red Faction, where the room Hendrix is in randomly explodes and he catches on fire is attacked, since the Big Bad lured him there to kill him.
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden appeared to have bridge-dropped Lamia while after just addressing how glad she was that she had friends...she was unceremoniously shot down and all signs show that she's Killed Off for Real. Then, several chapters later, it's revealed that the bridge didn't really completely splatter her, and Duminuss lifted that bridge up, ensuring her survival.
  • Brad Vickers in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis: Nemesis. Brain-impaled by the titular Big Bad.
    • Hell, everyone who wasn't a playable character had a bridge drop happen when Raccoon City gets nuked at the end.
    • Of course, pretty much all the named NPCs in this game (not counting zombies) were dead well before the end. Mikhail blows himself up in a Heroic Sacrifice, Dario is discovered and eaten by zombies, Nikolai is either bridge-dropped by Nemesis, escapes in the chopper, or you shoot him down.
    • Brad is also somewhat of a Back for the Dead.
  • Yoshimo in Baldur's Gate II. If he was in your party, he'd sell you out to the Big Bad - but he's unable to refuse due to a geas spell. The frustrating part was if you knew this was coming, and left him back at the inn (say, if you were trying to do it again with a different class and/or party), then to prevent you from being able to pick him up again later, he'd be stabbed in the back the second you walked in the door. Wallop.
    • In the Sahuagin City side quest, if you choose to help Prince Villynaty against King Ixilthetocal after reaching the prince, King Ixilthetocal has two of the people who suggested that you go talk to the prince executed for reasons unrelated to your decision.
  • In Winback, nearly all of Jean-Luc's teammates unceremoniously have bridges dropped on them over the course of the game. Jake's death was the biggest Player Punch , since he survives until near the end of the game, to get you attached to him, then Bang Bang he's dead.
  • Bridges are dropped all over in the last route of Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel. Caster, Assassin, Lancer, Berserker, Archer, Gilgamesh and Saber.
    • There's plenty of bridge dropping (and Long Bus Trips, in Sakura's case) in the other two routes, though- most notably Caster in Fate and Ilya/Berserker in UBW, who each get one scene to say "Hi, I'm a villain!" and then die in that scene or the next time we see them. HF does it slightly more due to it pulling in some completely new characters, but the real reason why HF's bridge dropping stands out more is that all of its characters had bridges dropped on them * after* the scenes that made fans care about them, whereas nobody cared about Caster yet when Gil insta-killed her ten minutes after her introduction in Fate.
  • Call of Duty 4: All the SAS members except Soap and Captain Price are unceremoniously executed at the end of the game. The latter of which has been confirmed to return in Modern Warfare 2.
    • Speaking of Modern Warfare 2, all of TF-141, again barring Soap and Price, are killed off by General Shepherd.
      • On fact, if you're a player character in a Modern Warfare title who isn't Soap or Price, you'd better call home and say your goodbyes while you can, because there's a rickety ridge overhead with your name on it.
      • Ramirez survives. Dunno about Mw1 characters.
      • They both do, but there's always Modern Warfare 3...
  • Soldier of Fortune II: Madeline Taylor. By a faceless Mook, to boot.
    • Hawk suffers a similar fate in the first game, albeit at the hands of the Big Bad.
  • Star Ocean the Second Story had one where Ronyx, a character in the last Star Ocean game who had survived many confrontations in the first game is killed off suddenly in the second by a laser beam meant as a demonstration of power by the Big Bads.
  • Silent Hill 3 killed off the main character from the very first Silent Hill game, Harry, by having his beloved daughter, your character, Heather, arrive at their house to find him dead. For those who played the first Silent Hill and may have had some sympathetic attachment to Harry, this was an extremely abrupt off-screen affair. A bit of time is spent mourning him, but not much. It's odd when you think that the things Harry knew could probably have prevented most of the game, if he'd been alive to tell Heather.
    • More like Stuffed in The Fridge, since it's done to fill Heather with hatred and give her a motive for revenge.
  • Some may consider Johnson's death near the end of Halo 3 this.
    • Also, Kat's death in Halo: Reach.
      • We knew all of Noble Team was going to die going in. But Kat's was probably the most emotionally effective because it was the sudden, out of nowhere kind of death that could have happened to anyone.
    • Pre-First Strike retcon, Johnson's death in Halo: Combat Evolved counts as well. The fact that it was so easy to retcon him back into a series shows just how little his original death was even touched on.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion retroactively did this to a fair number of major characters and factions from Morrowind. Off the top of my head: The Nerevarine, aka, the PC of Morrowind, vanished during an expedition to Akavir, Jiub gave his life to wipe out the Cliff Racers (and was named a Saint for it), Cauis Cosades apparently fell off the face of Tamriel, Vivec was kidnapped by Daedra, and House Redoran was almost completely wiped by Mehrunes Dagon's invasion.
    • It Got Worse. It's been revealed that Red Mountain erupted sometime after the events of Oblivion. Oh, and remember how Vivec was kidnapped? It turns out that his presence was the only thing keeping the Ministry of Truth in the air, and it crashed into Vvardenfall. Literally the entire island was destroyed. Yeah, things aren't going very well throughout the empire right now, but Morrowind definitely has it worse then anyone else.
  • Mass Effect 2 opens with the Normandy being completely destroyed, killing Shepard (although s/he gets over it), Navigator Pressly and at least 19 other crewmen.
    • The final level negates all Plot Armor (again). Special mention goes to what happens if you don't upgrade your ship at all. Three characters will die before you even get onto the ground. Potentially, your entire squad can die as well. All of the deaths featured are very sudden. This does prevent the finale from being bogged down in melodrama, but it is a little disjointing if your love interest happens to get gunned down in front of your eyes with little in the way of a reaction.
    • This pretty much happens with Shepard in the ending of Mass Effect 3, unless you get pretty much the maximum level of War Assets and then choose the "Destroy" ending.
    • Played with at an earlier point in the third game—assuming that Kasumi was one of your squad members in the second game, she pops up in an early sidequest where she seems to suffer a very abrupt and unsatisfying death. Seconds later however (and after the Spectre who was on her case has left), Shepard successfully calls her out of her hiding spot, knowing full well that she wouldn't let herself be killed so easily.
  • A quest in RuneScape brought us a variation on this: "Drop a Pillar on him". How? A quest called Salt in the Wound was released to end the Sea Slug quest series, and in it, you "fight" the big bad Mother Mallum, who's been built up as one of the biggest threats in the world of Runescape. How does she die? You topple over a pillar and crush her. Players were not pleased.
  • This happens to the main character in Riddle School 4 about 3 seconds after you start the game, but is ultimately Ret Conned in Riddle School 5.
  • Bill in Left 4 Dead 2's DLC chapter "The Passing". What makes this a particular odd choice is that the death in question was announced by Valve well ahead of time and given plenty of limelight... and then the actual event was limited to a single line on-screen: "A good man died today."
    • Bill is an unusual case; Valve had trouble getting him back to record dialog for later DLC chapters because he was busy with his day job (radio DJ). A later campaign, "The Sacrifice", shows the original L4D characters' last adventure, with one of them having to do a Heroic Sacrifice to protect the other three. In the game any character can make the sacrifice, but canonically Bill is the one who does it. And to Valve's credit, unlike many others on this list he at least went out like a hero and a Badass, facing three Tanks by himself in order to let the others get to safety.
  • Many people feel this is true for the death of Corporal Hart at the end of Time Splitters 2. After the splitters break into the control room, she's killed in one shot by one of the lightning bolts the splitters fire, an attack that, in gameplay, does no more damage than a mildly powerful bullet.
  • In The Longest Journey, after going through utter hell, seeing all her friends brutally murdered, and learning that she was nothing more than an Unwitting Pawn all along, April is randomely attacked, impaled and left to drown in a swamp in literally the last few seconds of the game.


Web Comics

  • In what was originally the final storyline of Fans (they've started making them again) begins as a quest to save the relationship of two recurring TV reporters, which ends when the two of them, as well as Lovable Traitor Desmond Jones attempt to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. They find out too late that they're actually being used to power an Artifact of Doom, which proceeds to wreak havoc, and then the three are never mentioned again. Granted, the main characters have other things to worry about in the short term, but come on, even Kana gets more of a send-off...
  • Roman Wunderlich once dropped a bridge on Snuka and his Old Master.
  • Angels 2200 did this to all of Corona Squadron, minus one, with debris from their own ship
    • In the same battle, Loser suffered the same fate.
  • Right before the final boss in RPG World, the comic cuts to a sideplot sequence, then back to an unrelated sequence in which the hero is eaten by a random monster. It ends with a closeup of two character gravestones, and the caption "Game Over Forever"
  • The Last Days of Foxhound, a Metal Gear Solid parody webcomic. It takes place immediately before the events of the first MGS game, and the last handful of comics show the lead-up to Shadow Moses. Comic #498 has Liquid Snake grinning like a kid in a candy store, exclaiming "It's happening. it's happening.... it's finally happening" just as Solid Snake is about to get his Tactical Espionage Action on. Comic #499: Dead Decoy Octopus disguised as Anderson, dead Baker, dead Psycho Mantis, dead Sniper Wolf, Vulcan Raven eaten by his ravens, broken Metal Gear on top of dead Grey Fox, dead Liquid Snake. It's not called "The Last Days of Foxhound" for nothing, after all. Of course, Liquid got better...

Liquid: That sucked.

  • The Other Warriors in 8-Bit Theater were cruelly killed off, likely to resolve their fate(s).
  • In Kevin and Kell, the fly headmaster of Caliban Academy is killed by a sheet of glass falling from a truck in his second appearance in the comic, enabling Fran Caudal to take on his position.
  • Valeska Kohler from Panthera goes out this way when Oosterhuis/Ari goes One-Winged Angel on the Panthera crew and simply tells her to "die".
  • Gaia from Draconia Chronicles. Unlike the two Tigresses who fell in chapter one, who went down fighting, Gaia's death was abrupt, meaningless (she was clearly a noncombatant) and pathetic. Her death doesn't even get any acknowledgement aside from a small passing remark from Queen Oscura.
  • Happens to Mom and Dad in Homestuck. They don't even get a death scene.
    • Doc Scratch's narration ensures that Rose gets this treatment. (Although she is later revived)

Doc Scratch: The duel ends. The Seer dies. The Slayer departs.

    • In the End of Act Five, this happens to most of the Exiles. Three are unceremoniously beheaded/stabbed, and just when everything seems to be leading up to WV's big battle with Jack Noir, the latter punches him through the stomach and he collapses to the floor.
    • This seems to be the fate of anyone from a doomed timeline apart from Davesprite.
    • Mom and Dad are back in act 6 thanks to the Reset Button (kinda), but we get another one with Jane Crocker and Jake English's dream self.
    • Nepeta. It actually looked like she would stand a chance against Sober!Gamzee, only for it to be revealed, months later, that he killed her offscreen. One of the single most popular characters in the series is casually discarded without any fanfare or meaning, not even the trademark DEAD effect. Even Equius had a more dignified end than this!


Web Original

  • In the Battle Royale based RP Survival of the Fittest, characters are often killed off in this manner, particularly inactive ones. A good example would be the death of Joe Cande, who passed out shortly before his handler became inactive; He was killed by a bullet that hit him in the neck when it ricocheted off of a weapon being held by someone else.
    • Subverted with the escape attempts in v3 and v4. Both examples made it look like a mass bridge-dropping at first, until further updates revealed that they weren't dead. In v3 it turned out that they had all removed their collars and were fighting to get off the island, and in v4 the escapees were revealed to have successfully left the island and were now in a hospital in Canada.
  • In the Lonelygirl15 story "Prom: It's To Die For", Gina Hart was shot by Edward Salinas, so that he could be promoted to Elder. Then, a week later in "Hangman's Noose", Salinas was killed off.
  • In Red vs. Blue, as of the miniseries Relocated, This would seem to be Sister's fate. Lopez casually mentions that he killed her. Grif, having once seen her spend three hours in freezing water and come out not only alive but pregnant, doesn't believe it.
  • In Bunny Kill, Snowball's partners have a tendency to get cheaply killed by the Big Bad. Then again, death doesn't seem to slow down the characters of this series much.
  • Aydin from Darwin's Soldiers is reported by a newspaper to have committed suicide in a Cornova, TX convenience store. The heroes find out about it from a local newspaper.
  • As of Episode 38 of the Yogscast Minecraft Series "Shadow of Israphel", Knight_Peculier has seemingly gone this way, having fallen into a pool of radioactive waste. One reckons the writers did this deliberately, as opposed to the accidental death of Um_Bongo (who has had an Unexplained Recovery for the survival maps and mod spotlights).


Western Animation

  • South Park: Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef and a member of the Church of Scientology, quit (with significant media attention) after the show had an episode making fun of said church. The show's creators responded in the first episode of the tenth season, in which Chef, speaking solely in clips from previous episodes, is revealed to have been brainwashed by the "Super Adventure Club," a pastiche of Scientology mostly focused on child molestation. The kids confront the club at their headquarters, where (to quote Newsweek): "Chef falls off a bridge into a ravine, bounces off jagged rocks, gets impaled, catches fire, gets devoured by mountain lions, then is shot multiple times by friends trying to save him." Then, to erase any thoughts of hope, craps on himself. Oh, and then the club turns him into Darth Vader. No, really. Though at least Parker and Stone wrote a legitimately heartfelt speech for Kyle, reiterating their underlying love of Chef (and, obviously, Hayes). This is this trope in its ultimate, purest form.
    • Let's not forget that Kyle's heartfelt speech could pretty much be boiled down to "Isaac Hayes was awesome, but the only way we can avoid hating his guts is to pretend he wasn't really a Scientologist."
    • Also happened to Ms. Choksondik, Veronica Crabtree (the old bus driver), Ted (the Mayor's mustachioed aide), and Pip. Ms. Crabtree's death was Lampshaded:

Sergeant Yates: I know she hadn't been in any recent episodes, but DAMMIT she deserved better than this!

Zuko: Did Jet just...die?
Sokka: You know, it was really unclear.

  • Winx Club: Not a death, but still anti-climactic. One S3 episode sees the Winx breaking a Brainwash spell on Sky to take him back from his original fiancée Diaspro (who had done this for revenge). Several episodes pass without either of them, before Sky finally shows up at the end of one episode to mention that Diaspro was banished. This was anti-climactic because the last shot of Diaspro looked more like she was thinking of getting back at the Winx for that. (And she actually did say, "This isn't over! Sky will be mine!" in the original.)
  • In Transformers The Movie, Optimus Prime, the great leader of the Autobots, dies from wounds suffered during a duel with Megatron, most notably being shot at point blank range by an energy pistol. They later brought him back as a zombie, a ghost, a lifeless body driven by a Japanese trucker, and it's now customary for Optimus to die over and over again, and bring him back through some mystical means, making this more of a Put on a Bus in recent memory.
    • At least Prime got a decent death scene. In the 2007 movie, Jazz is ripped in two by Megatron and summarily ignored until after the battle, when there's literally less than half a minute of Ratchet carrying over the two pieces of his corpse and Prime being sad before going on to soliloquize about the new friends they've made on Earth. A repaint of his toy model features the blurb that he was brought back to life by the remaining fragment of the Allspark, but Bay says he will not be appearing in the next movie.
    • Well, his was still better that the deaths of Ratchet, Brawn, Prowl, and Ironhide in the animated movie who were mowed down by Megatron and Starscream in less than ten seconds. And there are plenty more deaths that aren't even shown.
      • Most of the deaths in the movie are pretty ridiculous, honestly. Not least because they're killed by wounds they'd normally survive (at least one character dies from being shot in the shoulder!)
      • At least Ironhide gets plenty of lines, and gives us a chance to get to know him if we're not already familiar with him before he dies. Ratchet and Prowl, both featured characters in the cartoons, don't get any lines before they're brutally dispatched. And then there's Wheeljack, an important supporting character on the show (the Autobots' 'go-to' guy for inventions), who dies off-screen and is only shown in the movie as a lifeless burnt wreck.
    • Ultra Magnus in Headmasters, at the hands of Sixshot. Also, near the beginning of the season/series, Optimus sacrifices himself to stabilize Vector Sigma.
      • And then there's Galvatron, who survives being at the center of the destruction of Cybertron, only to apparently be Killed Off for Real by having an iceberg dropped on him (there wouldn't happen to be a bridge frozen somewhere inside that iceberg, would there?).
    • In order to facilitate the Merchandise-Driven nature of the show, this happen often. The deaths of Terrosaur and Scorponok (originally Waspinator as well, before the writers realized that his lovable if illfated nature made him a fan favorite) in Beast Wars are especially obvious: Megatron's Transmetal transformation made them slip up with the hover-carts they normally used and fell into the lava pit they normally go over, killing them instantly to never be spoken of again after Blackarachnia and Megatron's later conversation confirms their death.
      • Terrorsaur and Scorponok's death could also be seen as being Put on a Bus, since both are seen glowing while they sink into the lava—implying they too were going through Transmetalization. Had the story called for it, they could have returned and used their Transmetalization as an excuse for how they survived.
      • This was also done in the series finale, in which Megatron shoots Quickstrike and Inferno with the Nemesis' guns while attempting to kill the protohumans, who survive mysteriously unharmed. To add insult to injury, the very last scene shows the protohumans cooking and playing with the pieces of their corpses.
    • The Maximals weren't immune to this trope either. When Tigatron and Airazor were moved to Beta Couple status shortly after the arrival of Silverbolt and the beginnings of his crush on Blackarachnia, they were almost immediately Put on a Bus. This turned into a borderline Bus Crash with the appearance and death of their combined form, Tigerhawk.
      • The reason seemed to be that the creators needed to be rid of two Maximals and two Predacons at the start of Season 2 in order to bring in new characters since the budget dictated they could only have so many. Terrorsaur and Scorponok could be unceremoniously killed since, well, no one cared about them anyway. They seemed to try harder to avoid this being Tigatron and Airazor's fate so first they had them go off on a world tour in the second episode to inspect the damage from the alien attack (for no real reason but to keep them offscreen) and then half-way through the season they seemed to decide it was awkward that two Maximals were just wandering around indefinitely for no reason not helping with the war, so they had them kidnapped by the aliens to further stall killing them and didn't get back to them until the third-to-last episode of the series where, as mentioned, they're merged into Tigerhawk (for no apparent other reason than to have a cool looking toy) and killed off two episodes later in the finale.
    • In defense of Starscream's constant survival, it was stated in the Beast Wars show that Starscream's spark was mutated in such a way as to be indestructible. However, whether or not this matters in regards to his body is up for debate. plus it doesn't negate any other death defying character survivals.
      • In Transformers Animated, they just give him an Allspark fragment and make him immortal. Now they can kill him, whenever they want!
        • Not to mention Blurr's sudden death at the hands, erm, walls, of Longarm/Shockwave
        • And Ultra Magnus being beaten into a coma. Since the series is over and he didn't get better, this may be considered a bridge drop or Bus Crash.
  • G.I Joe did this to Serpentor in the "Operation Dragonfire" mini-series that launched the DiC-produced seasons after the original Sunbow-produced series was canceled. After Cobra Commander was turned into a snake during the events of G.I. Joe: The Movie, he returned to his human form to get his revenge. Serpentor, the one who turned him into a snake, is easily captured and turned into an iguana. Gnawgahyde, one of the Dreadnoks, says "I think I'll put him on the barbie". We never see Serpentor again after this...
  • Frisky Dingo is full of bridge drops, with the later part of season two having at least one per episode.
  • In the finale of Justice League Unlimited, the combination of Killer Frost and Darkseid's return drops a bridge on roughly two-thirds of the Legion of Doom, including established and well-characterized (if secondary) villains such as the Shade, Parasite, Copperhead, and Weather Wizard.
  1. who should have known it was Jammer who saved her life, seeing as how he worked with her for a long time and she knew his voice
  2. Only catch the fast-moving fish; leave the slow ones alone entirely.