As “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Lost,” and countless other shows have proven, sometimes a character, often beloved, needs to die to advance the plot. And nothing furthers the story like death, unless you’re “The Killing.” On the following pages are ten characters who need to meet their maker, not because they’re bad characters (I repeat: these are NOT necessarily characters I want dead because I hate them), but because they’ve either served their purpose and need to go away or because their passing would bring on a whole new set of stories their show hasn’t been able to accomplish.
To death! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.
Vincent Chase, “Entourage”
I’ve voiced my complaints about “Entourage’s” douchiness before, but all (well, most) of those could be redeemed if in the show’s final episode, its star, Vincent Chase, was killed, preferably by choking to death buried in a pile of cocaine. Wishful thinking, I know, but of its many faults, the most bothersome thing about “Entourage” is its lack of real-life consequences. Vincent and his gang of awful cronies can do whatever they want, whenever they want, without any repercussions. If the star of Aquaman were to die in the closing minutes of “Entourage”’s final episode, the entire show would feel less like 2,880 minutes of bros being bros, and more like a tragedy about what happens when fame goes to your head.
[Ed. note: I’d like to see Vince get killed immediately, as the other characters might actually become somewhat interesting if they had to strike out on their own.]
Dexter Morgan, “Dexter”
Dexter Morgan is one of only two good-to-great characters on the show bearing his name. The other: his sister, Debra. Let’s say the producers of “Dexter” decide to go off the air after season seven. In the final episode of the show’s upcoming sixth season, Deb should FINALLY catch Dexter in the act (and see him), but he runs away and skips town out of Miami. It’d be great if the final 12 episodes abandoned all the awful, awful humans at Miami Metro, and spent the entire season in a “Fugitive”-like chase between Deb and Dexter. In the last episode, she finds him, leaving her with a dilemma: she can’t throw him in jail, because that’s a lackluster ending (cough “Seinfeld” cough), and she can’t pretend nothing’s happened, because she’s a good cop. What’s left? Either we find out she too has been a good serial killer all these years, or she puts an end to Dexter’s butchering ways. (I know that Deb knows about her brother’s hobby in Jeff Lindsay’s books, but the show has gone off-text before.)
Betty Draper, “Mad Men”
There are many good potential death options for “Mad Men,” with everyone from Roger Sterling to Greg Harris (anyone but Don and Trudy, really) on the chopping block. But I think the strongest choice would be Betty — not because she’s a bad character, which she isn’t, or because she’s a bad actress, which she’s not (January Jones is icy, but so is Betty). It’s because her passing (car crash!) would further the story of one of the show’s best characters, Sally Draper. My friend has a theory that the reason Sally has been acting so weird of late is because she was molested by Grandpa Gene (as opposed to Baby Gene). If Sally, who’s already in a rough place in life, were to lose her mom, it’d be fascinating to see what the writers did with her—would she run away? Live with Don? Find the original Bobby?