'The Walking Dead': The 13 Most Shocking Deaths So Far

11:00 AM 10/16/2016

by Josh Wigler

From Sophia through Negan's great unknown victim, these deaths were the biggest blindsides.

TWD - S06 - E611 - Andrew Lincoln - Still - H - 2016
Gene Page/AMC

Nobody's safe.

That message is signaled loud and clear all throughout The Walking Dead, from the show's very first victim: a little zombie girl, put down by series protagonist Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) with a single bullet. If that harrowing start wasn't enough of a tone-setter, the various series regulars and recurring characters who died along the way certainly reinforced the mood.


From astonishing displays of violence to equally stunning decisions to remove major characters from the board, here are the 13 most shocking character deaths on Walking Dead thus far, in chronological order.

  • Sophia (Madison Lintz)

    The death of Carol's innocent daughter in season two served as a major turning point for Rick Grimes and the series at large. Despite the frustration fans felt during the first half of the season, the eventual reveal of a zombified Sophia in Hershel's barn was a heartbreaking turn, the show's most emotional death to that point.

  • Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn)

    As the original voice of wisdom in Rick's group, Dale's evisceration at the hands of a walker, and subsequent shot to the head from Daryl Dixon, was a major shock for show-only viewers and comic book readers alike. In the comics, Dale survives for several issues, much longer than he lives on the show.

  • Shane (Jon Bernthal)

    Dale's opposite in so many ways, Shane is the first main character to die in the comics, surviving much longer on the show — but only as far as the penultimate episode of season two. His death at Rick's hands marks a shift in the show's main character, adopting much of Shane's kill-or-be-killed mentality from that point moving forward.

  • Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies)

    The death of Rick's wife was a huge turning point in the comics, and it came much earlier than expected on the show. Her brutal demise during childbirth, and subsequent shot to the head from her own son Carl, won't be forgotten anytime soon.

  • Andrea (Laurie Holden)

    Like Lori, Andrea died a lot sooner than comic book fans anticipated… especially considering Andrea is still alive and well in Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comics, more than 100 issues into the run. Indeed, she's essentially married to Rick in the comics, a stark contrast to her surprising death at the end of season three.

  • Hershel (Scott Wilson)

    The zombie apocalypse's most vocal proponent of Spaghetti Tuesdays died in brutal fashion at the midpoint of season four, decapitated by the Governor in front of his loved ones. As one of Rick's closest counsels, Hershel's demise left the group without a moral center.

  • The Governor (David Morrissey)

    As the biggest villain of the series to date, losing Woodbury's one-eyed dictator halfway into season four was a bold move for the show. And it wasn't an easy feat, either. It took three separate people to put the Governor down for good: Rick, Michonne and the Governor's own girlfriend Lily.

  • Lizzie and Mika (Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy)

    Walking Dead fans will never forget "The Grove," the heartbreaking season four episode that saw Carol cross a point of no return: shooting little Lizzie to death, hours after the young girl killed her own sister in cold blood. It's quite possibly the bleakest moment in an astoundingly bleak series.

  • Noah (Tyler James Williams)

    No character death can ever top Noah's as far as sheer nastiness goes. He's ripped to pieces right in front of Glenn, his face torn open for all the world to see. It's so disgusting, that many fans are still trying not to lose their lunch at the memory.

  • Nicholas (Michael Traynor)

    Remember Dumpster-Gate? It's hard to forget. Nicholas' death wasn't such a shock because of his demise; he was inevitability doomed from the moment viewers laid eyes on him. But it's notable because it launched the controversy surrounding Glenn's fake-out "death," one of the most maligned twists in Walking Dead history.

  • Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge)

    Rick's new girlfriend and her two sons were violently killed during the zombie assault on Alexandria, a brutal end for some of the show's more innocent characters. Also killed in the attack? Carl's eye. Ouch.

  • Denise (Merritt Weaver)

    Speaking of Carl's eye, pour one out for Denise's eye as well. She was shot through the head with an arrow near the end of season six, an iconic death from the comics — except that death belongs to someone who is still very much alive on the show, at least for now.

  • Negan's Victim

    Is it Glenn? Is it Eugene? Is it Abraham? Is it Rosita? The list of possible candidates goes on and on, and until we see the season seven premiere, we won't know who to mourn. Even without the full gory detail and knowledge of the victim's identity, his/her death is already one of the hottest button topics in Walking Dead history, due to the polarizing nature of the season six cliffhanger. Whoever meets the business end of Negan's barbed-wire baseball bat, know that you will be missed.