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These binge-worthy shows had us bingeing tissues too. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Saddest Character Deaths on Netflix Original Series."
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most heartbreaking deaths in shows exclusive to Netflix in the U.S. Since there will be discussions of character deaths, there will naturally be plenty of spoilers ahead.
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#10: Henry “Pop” Hunter “Luke Cage” (2016-)
A former gangster and the eponymous owner of Pop’s Barber Shop, Pop acts as a mentor and father figure to many in Harlem, including his employee, Luke Cage. While trying to help out a young man who gets in over his head, Pop asks the local kingpin Cottonmouth to send some of his men to negotiate about getting the boy out of the situation. However, one of Cottonmouth’s henchmen takes it upon himself to shoot up the shop, killing Pop. Pop’s inspirational final words to Cage propel the super-powered protagonist into using his abilities to clean up the streets of Harlem—and they’re good words for anyone to live by.
#9: Edward Meechum “House of Cards” (2013-)
In the cutthroat political world of House of Cards, it can be hard to find decent characters, but Edward Meechum is arguably one of the show’s paragons. Trusting and loyal, he maintains a close relationship with the Underwood—intimate, in fact. Starting off as a bodyguard and ascending to the secret service thanks to some string-pulling by Frank, Meechum ends up giving his life to protect the unscrupulous politician when he’s shot at by a former journalist. Frank has caused the death of many in his quest for power, but Meechum’s loss is possibly the most tragic, as he gave his life for his, admittedly despicable, friend.
#8: Elektra Natchios “Daredevil” (2015-)
While the death of Matt Murdock’s father is also quite impactful and defining, this really hits home. A bloodthirsty assassin but also one of Matt’s old flames, Elektra Natchios is a textbook femme fatale. However, her struggle between her chosen profession and her love for Matt is a compelling one. The season 2 finale sees her and Daredevil on a rooftop, facing off against a group of ninjas from the villainous Hand organization. During the course of the fight, Elektra takes a stab meant for Matt. As she dies, she remarks on how she’s finally done something good. Her passing is devastating for Matt and the audience both. She gets better, though.
#7: Kokachin “Marco Polo” (2014-16)
An imposter princess and the former lover of Marco Polo, Kokachin suffers a brutal final season, which sees her raped in episode three to produce an heir for her husband, the Prince; an act that traumatizes her and leads her to have hallucinations. After giving birth to twins, she’s distraught at the circumstances of their conception and heartbroken that she cannot be with her true love, Marco. Ultimately, with the help of the Empress, the one who arranged her rape, she drowns herself out of grief; a heartwrenching end to a tragic life.
#6: Hope Shlottman “Jessica Jones” (2015-)
Deaths abound in this Marvel Netflix series, but we’d argue its saddest is that of Hope Shlottman. An ordinary girl ensnared by the sinister Kilgrave, Hope is brainwashed into killing her own parents, which was another excruciatingly sad moment. Throughout much of the show’s first season, Hope acts as a motivator for Jessica Jones, who has tied her own search for redemption together with her mission to prove Hope’s innocence. Sadly, saving Hope proves to be a futile mission, but in act of defiance and agency, Hope opts to take her own life, hoping that this will make it easier for Jessica to take out Kilgrave once and for all.
#5: The Quagmire Parents “A Series of Unfortunate Events” (2017-)
Throughout the duration of the first season of this Netflix adaptation of the Lemony Snicket novels, we were treated to glimpses of a pair of parents working tirelessly to escape captivity and rescue their orphaned children. Given that the show is about the Baudelaire children, we’re of course led to believe that they’re Mr. and Mrs. Baudelaire. However, the parents are eventually revealed to be the Quagmires, out to find their own “orphaned” triplets. While they are reunited with their children, they soon die in a fire, much as the Baudelaire’s did. Their deaths are tragic because, despite not being the parents we were expecting, we’d still come to care about them.
#4: Sarah Lynn “BoJack Horseman” (2014-)
The entertainment industry is full of child stars turned adult disasters, and Sarah Lynn is another tragic example. Growing up without a strong role model, she instead latched onto the show’s titular character that played her dad on TV. And as BoJack continually demonstrates, he’s a terrible person to model yourself after. The duo goes on a drug- and sex-fueled bender in her final episode and end up at a planetarium. As Sarah expresses her desire to become an architect, she unexpectedly dies of an overdose, leaving BoJack and the audience reeling with shock and sadness.
#3: Bob Newby “Stranger Things” (2016-)
Monsters and humans alike are responsible for several deaths in this 80s set sci-fi series, including the very sad and vicious death of Barb in season 1, but our pick had to go to Bob. Joyce’s adorkably nerdy new boyfriend, Bob goes out on a high note with this extreme show of courage, helping Joyce and the others escape Hawkins lab by using his computer knowledge to override the lockdown. A tense sequence sees him pursued by the small Demogorgons, or “demo-dogs,” but just when it seems he’s safe, he’s set upon by several of the creatures right in front of Joyce; leading to his horrific and tear-jerking death.
#2: Poussey Washington “Orange is the New Black” (2013-)
For a show about prison, death is actually relatively rare in this Netflix series, so when it does occur, it’s always effective. During a demonstration in the cafeteria, Poussey Washington is restrained while attempting to defuse a situation with a mentally unstable inmate. However, the guard restrains her improperly and is distracted by the inmate Poussey was trying to help, leading to Poussey’s suffocation. Poussey’s friend Taystee sobbing next to her body makes for an image that’s hard to forget. The moment is poignant and timely, evocative of the Black Lives Matter movement, while the death itself has had a lasting effect on the show.
#1: Hannah Baker “13 Reasons Why” (2017-)
The premise of this compelling show centers around the suicide of Hannah Baker, a teen girl who leaves behind a series of audio tapes that reveal the events and the people who she feels influenced her ultimate decision to take her life. Much of the show is told through flashbacks, but it isn’t until the final episode of the show’s first season that we see the event itself, and by that time, we’ve come to understand Hannah’s painful motivations. The scene itself is graphic and brutally depicted, which, combined with our complete picture of her character, makes it one of the most distressing in recent television history, let alone Netflix.