Most of the time when a character dies on TV, it’s because the series’ writers have decided it’s the right time for the character’s story to end, especially in our era of highly serialized dramas. But sometimes, a character dies not because the producers thought it best, but because it was the best solution they could come up with for an actor who desperately wanted off the show. Rather than send that character off to some new job or locale, the writers kill them off. Some shows choose to handle the death in between seasons, to give fans a chance to hear the news and get used to a reboot. Other shows opt for more flair. Sudden death, it turns out, is a popular way to solve the problem of a departing actor—whether that’s in a gunfight, a car accident, or a sudden, irreversible illness.
Here are 16 examples of stars making sudden departures from their TV shows in highly dramatic fashion. Needless to say, spoilers ahead.