Note on spoilers: The nature of the post, obviously, will reveal spoilers. If you have not seen the bolded shows and plan to do so, skip past the blurbs. There are no GIFs or images included so as to avoid accidental spoilers, but links to GIFs and write-ups on the episodes in question have been added, where applicable.
10. Shameless — The Oh My God! moment in Shameless was a small but well kept secret that revealed — in a post-credits tag — that a character (Steve) who we were all convinced had died (in fact, Showtime’s producers had said as much) had actually managed to survive and will be making his way back to the series next season. There was no bloodshed involved, and nobody died, but to passionate fans of the series, it was a huge jaw-dropping bombshell. In fact, it was so surprising that not even the cast knew about it.
9. Fargo — The opening episode alone had a good three or four great Oh My God moments, there was a moment when fish fell from the sky, and there was another moment when Molly Solverson was shot by her own future husband, Gus Grimly, but I think the biggest Oh My God! moment of the season came in seeing Don Chumph (Glenn Howerton) gunned down by police who mistook him for a man trying to shoot the them, thanks to a carefully orchestrated trap set by Lorne Malvo. It was involuntary suicide by cop, and it was glorious. (On the other hand, the coolest moment of the series was discovering the buried suitcase from the Coen Brothers movie played a significant role in the fate of one of the television series’ characters).
8. The Walking Dead — There were a few satisfyingly good “Oh My God!” moments on The Walking Dead this season — Bob Stookey’s tainted meat revelation, Abraham punching out Eugene, and the baseball bat sequence in the fifth season premiere — but no moment hit the Oh My God! meter harder than Beth’s death. Even if you suspected — as many of us did — that Beth was going to die in the midseason finale, that bullet shot to the head came out of nowhere.
7. Homeland — There were a couple of lousy moments in an otherwise redemptive season of Homeland, but I think the biggest OH MY GOD! moment was not the bombing of the caravan (which was also very good), but Carrie’s decision to lead Saul right back into the hands of his kidnappers. We thought Saul would escape to safety, and Carrie had promised to let him die before he was captured again, but hell if she didn’t completely screw Saul over in order to ultimately save his life.
6. Hannibal — People who have read the books or seen all of the Hannibal Lecter movies may have expected it, but those of us who went in oblivious were shocked to find that Hannibal had essentially drugged Mason Verger (Michael Pitt) and induced him into slicing off his own face and feeding it to a dog. PEOPLE, he ate his own nose. HIS NOSE.
5. Mad Men –Ginsberg freaked out, thought the computers were turning everyone gay, cut off his nipple, and gave it to Peggy in a gift box. The end. You’re welcome!
4. Leftovers — It was a hard-to-watch moment of brutal violence that cost the HBO show a few viewers, but the stoning of Gladys in the fifth episode upped the stakes dramatically (beyond, you know, the fact that 2 percent of Earth’s population had died). Those that managed to stick around after that moment, however, were rewarded with a strong second half of the Damon Lindelof series. The Oh My God! scene, however, was so breathtakingly brutal that I couldn’t even bring myself to post GIFs in the recap.
3. House of Cards — When Frank shoved Zoe out off of a subway ramp to her death in the opening episode of the second season, it was completely, out-of-the blue, jaw-droppingly shocking because nobody expected a major character — and one who been out promoting the series heavily — to be killed in the first episode of the season. In fact, the moment was so wonderfully surprising that the show never managed to top itself again in that second season.
2. Game of Thrones — Book readers saw it coming, but the rest of us — who had our hearts set on the Red Viper being Tyrion’s champion — were completely floored by the eye-gouging, head-exploding death of Oberyn Martell. It appeared as though he had the Trial by Combat in his hands. Then one quick flip and BOOM: Head explosion.
1. Good Wife — There was no source material to clue anyone in, there were no foreshadowing hints, and there were no public behind-the-scenes leaks that might have spoiled what may have been one of the most surprising deaths in recent memory. Killing off cast members is so out of character for the series, and here was The Good Wife killing off its male lead and the show’s main love interest. Fans of the show were left speechless and devastated, even Parks and Recreation‘s Retta, who Josh Charles had to call and console following the episode.