Spoiler alert: This story contains information that some viewers may not want to know if they haven’t finished watching the shows included.
Whether a television show character is written out due to expiring studio contracts, a real-life tragedy, or just to shake things up, a character’s death can really hit fans where it hurts. The closing of a story arc, for some, may feel like losing a friend.
Here is a look back at some of 2013's fictional departed, and the ways in which they left.
"Glee": Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith)
The sad death of actor Cory Monteith by accidental overdose necessitated the death of his character, Finn Hudson, on "Glee." As cast members and those involved with the show mourned their friend in real life, the show's creators came up with a way to mourn the death of the character Finn, as well, providing closure for fans and respecting the memory of the actor that brought Finn to "Glee"-ful life. The tribute episode didn't reveal Finn's cause of death to viewers, but memorialized his life in song. Those songs included a Rachel Berry (Lea Michele, Monteith's real-life girlfriend) rendition of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love," in addition to a version of The Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You," a duet of James Taylor's "Fire & Rain," and an acoustic version of Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender."
"Downton Abbey": Matthew Reginald Crawley (Dan Stevens)
Downton Abbey fans were brought to tears many times this year. In a season of many swift character departures, Matthew's was perhaps the most surprising. Finally together with Lady Mary, and just after meeting their newborn son George, the proud new father was speeding and driving recklessly. Matthew swerved in order to miss an oncoming truck, and flipped his car on top of himself. He suffered a head injury, and blood is seen trickling down his lifeless face.
"Breaking Bad": Walter White (Bryan Cranston)
While the series has seen more than its fair share of deaths, the last season was packed with tragedy as the tale of Heisenberg was brought to a close. Making meth, viewers learned, is not all it's cracked up to be. Appropriately ending the series is the death of protagonist Walter White, who began the series with a cancer diagnosis and mere months to live. After tying up loose ends to see that his family will be taken care of when he's gone, Walter, having taken a bullet, wanders through Jesse's meth lab one last time with a smile on his face. Falling to the floor, Badfinger's "Baby Blue" serves as the soundtrack for his exit.
"House of Cards": Representative Peter Russo (Corey Stoll)
The congressman from South Philadelphia and former candidate for governor of Pennsylvania made a few uncouth mistakes. In grappling with his wrongdoing and substance abuse, rookie Russo decided to come clean to his constituents. He made the mistake of coming clean to House Majority Whip Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) first. Underwood would have been implicated if Russo told the truth, so he staged Russo's suicide. Underwood left Russo passed out drunk in a running car with the garage door closed. Underwood successfully conveyed shock and sadness upon hearing of the former gubernatorial candidate's death.
"Dexter": Deb Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter)
It's a given that a show about a blood spatter pattern analyst for the Miami Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer hunting down criminals who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system will involve some untimely endings. But in the series finale, fans were met with a death they weren't expecting. Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) unplugged sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) from life support, showcasing a rare moment of humanity. He then throws her corpse into the same ocean that he's tossed countless bodies in before. Fans who had anticipated Dexter's death at the end of the blood-drenched series were left hanging with this twist.
"Family Guy": Brian Griffin (Seth MacFarlane)
An integral member of the Griffin family since the show's start in 1999, dog Brian was run over by a car, killed, and replaced with a new puppy on the Nov. 24 episode. After fan outrage to the tune of a change.org petition signed by 128,507 supporters, the death of the wise-cracking canine saw a happy reversal.
Just in time for Christmas, on the Dec. 15 holiday episode, baby Stewie saves his hard-drinking pooch by going back in time to prevent the accident with a time machine, aided by loyal new dog Vinnie.
Creator Seth MacFarlane tweeted after the episode aired: “And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash.”
These are just a few of many notable television deaths of 2013.