TV Characters Who Were Supposed to Die

They went on to become pivotal, scene-stealing, and even award-winning and spinoff-worthy cast members of their series, but these TV characters weren't originally scheduled to have long lives on their respective shows. Here, 11 great characters who cheated death in TV land.

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Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), "Breaking Bad"

We're very afraid of what may happen to Jesse in the final eight episodes of "Breaking Bad," but we should all be grateful that Walt White's meth-making partner made it past the first season of the AMC drama, because he wasn't supposed to originally. Two-time Emmy winner Paul says series creator Vince Gilligan told him he had intended for Jesse to die in the show's ninth episode, but the 2007-08 Hollywood writers' strike gave Gilligan a chance to reconsider the decision.

Gilligan thought he was sharing a bit of good news with the actor — his character had proven too compelling and valuable to off — but Paul says it actually made him paranoid about his job for a couple of years… a fact that ornery co-star Bryan Cranston used to his advantage to play occasional pranks on Paul.

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Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), "Homeland"

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Lewis was supposed to die in the series' first season finale. The main reason he didn't: romance. "The center of Season 2 will be the same as the center of Season 1, and that is the Carrie-Brody relationship," showrunner Alex Gansa said while previewing Season 2. "The reason why we decided not to kill Brody off in the [Season 1] finale is because that relationship hasn’t run its course yet. That’s what we always come back to… whenever we can intersect those two characters, that’s when we feel most alive as writers, that’s when the series really soars."

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Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), "Lost"

Not only was the "Party of Five" star not supposed to survive the "Lost" pilot, he wasn't supposed to play the part of surgeon Jack at all: "Mr. Mom" star Michael Keaton was offered and turned down the role when series creator J.J. Abrams had written Jack to die halfway through the series premiere. Not only did Jack live for five seasons, he became one of the series' leaders, and part of that series finale we're not sure we'll ever fully understand or accept.

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Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies), "ER"

Nurse Carol tried to commit suicide — because of her floundering romance with George Clooney's playboy doc Doug Ross — by swallowing a bunch of pills in the "ER" series premiere. But the character, and the actress, scored so highly with test audiences that the plot was rewritten to have Hathaway live. Not only did she eventually get her man — she and Ross got married after they both left the Chicago ER and moved to Seattle — but Margulies won an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Emmy for her Season 1 performance.

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Spike (James Marsters), "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Marsters has shared the story of how vampire Spike lived: "The character was supposed to die in three to five episodes. We did three and I didn't die," he says. "We did two more, and I didn't die. In the script for the fifth episode, I got conked on the head with an organ, and said, 'Well, that's it — I'm dead.' Then they sent me another script, and I was back. It was a pleasant surprise that I didn't die, because I was fully expecting to. All I really wanted was a good body count and a good death, but lo and behold, I got a career."

Not only did three to five episodes turn into nearly 100 "Buffy" eps, but the actor also went on to reprise his character in the "Buffy" spinoff, "Angel."


Rest at source.