08/07/2014 08:45 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

21 Of The Most Shocking Onscreen Deaths From The Past 15 Years

Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for some favorite films and television shows.

Movies and television shows love to play with our emotions, surprising us with major twists and turns. Yet the most unforgettable scenes happen when characters meet their maker out of nowhere, usually in a grotesque, devastating manner that leaves us with mouths agape and tears running down our faces.

From Samuel L. Jackson's unforgettable death-by-shark moment in "Deep Blue Sea" (which just turned 15 last month) to this year's major "House of Cards" shocker, we keep getting caught off guard. Here are the most shocking onscreen deaths of the last 15 years, ranked from "Hm, That's Mildly Surprising" to "OMG. WTF. Just. Happened.":

21. Clay - "Sons of Anarchy"

It's a pretty big deal when one of the major characters in a television series is suddenly killed by the main character. No one was expecting Clay to die when he did, especially with a shot to the throat and multiple shots to the chest.

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20. Dumbledore - "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince"

Everyone read the "Harry Potter" books and thus everyone knew the demise of our favorite headmaster was coming. Yet watching Michael Gambon's Dumbledore fall to his death was a harrowing moment for any fan -- especially those unfamiliar with J.K. Rowling's prose.

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19. Terry - "Final Destination"

Oh the irony when one avoids the grips of death for so long and then gives a speech about relinquishing such fears, only to then be hit by a bus. Terry's death was one of those unforgettable moments that left us reeling past the credits.

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18. Boone - "Lost"

One of the most beloved characters of "Lost" left the island far sooner than anyone expected. His death was drawn out across an entire episode, yet everyone was holding on to some hope that Jack's medical efforts would save him.

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17. Gandalf - "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"

Once again, book readers weren't surprised by this death, and many knew that Gandalf the Grey's demise would only bring about Gandalf the White. Still, this was a heartbreaking scene that shook everyone in the movie theater.

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16. Bill Murray - "Zombieland"

It should be no surprise when people die in a zombie movie, but Bill Murray? Come on. If anything, it's just a testament to how great an actor Murray really is when he pretends to be one of the walking dead.

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15. Shosanna - "Inglourious Basterds"

A lot of people die in "Inglourious Basterds," and such a thing is expected of any Quentin Tarantino movie, but the death of his female protagonist was definitely the most surprising. Melanie Laurent's Shosanna may not have survived, but she did bring the downfall of Hitler.

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14. Julian Taylor - "Children of Men"

It's a rare occasion when the supposed lead female character -- played, mind you, by a well-known actress -- is killed within the first half of the movie. Director Alfonso Cuaron doesn't just kill Moore's Julian, however, he reveals it with a fantastic, heart-racing, single-take shot, one of the most memorable ever.

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13. Teri Bauer - "24"

After everything Teri goes through -- from searching for her daughter Kim to being kidnapped and forced to have sex with her captor, lest he rape Kim -- one assumed the writers of "24" would end things somewhat happily. But nope, Teri gets shot and our hearts and minds exploded at the shock.

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12. Ofelia - "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006)

It's pretty unexpected when a film's lead character, and especially one that's a sweet little girl, is shot dead in the final moments of the movie. At first it almost didn't seem real, and you probably had yourself hoping it was maybe just a dream.

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11. Jimmy Darmody - "Boardwalk Empire"

The second lead character of "Boardwalk Empire" was gunned down by Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson at the end of Season 2. We know those Jersey gangsters are ruthless, but that was harsh.

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10. Chad Feldheimer - "Burn After Reading"

Wait, did George Clooney shoot Brad Pitt's head off? Yes, yes he did. *Rewind*

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9. Omar - "The Wire"

The sudden death of one of the most untouchable guys in Baltimore is something that must be included on this list. We followed Omar for five seasons, but one day his luck suddenly ran out.

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8. Nicholas Brody - "Homeland"

Wait a second, you're seriously going to kill off the main character of your series, Showtime? We definitely did not see that one coming, and still aren't sure what to expect of "Homeland" next season sans Brody.

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7. Rob, Catelyn & Talisa - "Game of Thrones"

We don't even care if you read the books and knew this was coming -- the Red Wedding, expected or not, was absolutely, utterly and unforgettably devastating. You screamed, you howled, you asked the old gods and the new, "WHY?!" and you are still shocked to your core. Thanks, George R.R. Martin, thanks a lot.

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6. Will Gardner - "The Good Wife"

We know you're still deep in mourning and we're sorry for bringing this up: Will Gardner's sudden departure shook the television world more than maybe any series this year and left fans angry and depressed.

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5. Matthew Crawley - "Downton Abbey"

Is there a worse (and more emotionally manipulative) time to suddenly kill off one of your main characters than right after his baby is born and during the final moments of a season finale? No, probably not, and none of us saw it coming.

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4. Zoe Barnes - "House of Cards"

No big deal, it's just the first episode of the second season and our second main character, Zoe Barnes, is getting closer and closer to discovering the dirty truth when: oops, she's pushed in front of a train. If you weren't jumping around and freaking out like a lost child in a grocery store when this happened, you're simply not human.

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3. William "Billy" Costigan, Jr. - "The Departed"

You don't just kill Leonardo DiCaprio out of nowhere without any warning -- it's not an acceptable move by any standards! But then again, it's Martin Scorsese so we'll try to let it slide. (Still though, we're not over it.)

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2. Russell Franklin - "Deep Blue Sea"

There are few things more engrossing than a raised-voice Samuel L. Jackson monologue, which completely sucks you in, and is thus a perfect moment to suddenly kill him for one of the most shocking deaths orchestrated in recent movie history.

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1. Hank - "Breaking Bad"

We apologize in advance for making you re-live his horrible execution via GIF. Hank Schrader's death was one of the most shocking moments of the entire "Breaking Bad" series and one that we all hoped would never happen, and, quite frankly, one that still leaves us in a state of disbelief.

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Correction: The circumstances of Teri Bauer's sexual assault on "24" have been clarified.



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