Gasp! 8 TV Characters Who Died in a Season Premiere

Grey's Anatomy, The Walking Dead, The Rookie
Spoiler Alert

Sex and the City sequel series And Just Like That… on HBO Max ended an epic love story with the demise of a major character in the show’s initial episode, and it’s far from the first time the Grim Reaper has made an appearance in a season premiere.

Sometimes a TV show will kill off a presumably major character in its series premiere for shock value—think Oz, Watchmen, Big Sky, and Mayor of Kingstown—but we’re focusing on long-established characters who met their maker in a season opener. (Oddly enough, they’re all men!)

Here are those unlucky characters’ demises, starting with the most recent. (If you haven’t watched already-aired episodes of And Just Like That…, The Rookie, Blindspot, Chicago Fire, The Walking Dead, Grey’s Anatomy, and Alias, consider this your official spoiler warning.)

And Just Like That… Mr. Big

Mr. Big, ‘And Just Like That…’

Mr. Big (Chris Noth), the man we thought was Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) endgame love interest, died of a post-workout heart attack as the premiere of And Just Like That… continued the Sex and the City storyline. (And Peloton had to assure viewers that its exercise bike was not to blame.)

The Rookie Jackson West

Jackson West, ‘The Rookie’

The Rookie’s Season 4 premiere resolved the show’s Season 3 cliffhanger with the tragic revelation that Jackson (Titus Makin Jr.), one of the officers kidnapped by “La Fiera,” had been fatally shot in the back as he fought back against his captors.

Blindspot Edgar Reade

Edgar Reade, ‘Blindspot’

When a drone strike took out their Icelandic hideout in Blindspot’s fifth-season premiere, Reade (Rob Brown) shielded Zapata (Audrey Esparza) with his body. In the ensuing rescue efforts, however, the FBI agent was crushed by falling rubble.

Chicago Fire Brian

Brian “Otis” Zvonecek, ‘Chicago Fire’

Truck 81 lost a team member in Chicago Fire’s Season 8 premiere, when Otis (Yuri Sardarov) died in a hospital bed—with best friend Cruz (Joe Minoso) by his side—after sustaining injuries in a mattress factory fire.

The Walking Dead Glenn Abraham

Glenn Rhee and Abraham Ford, ‘The Walking Dead’

The Walking Dead viewers saw Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) clobber someone at the end of Season 6, and the show’s seventh-season premiere revealed that victim to be Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). Even worse, Negan then took his barbed-wire baseball bat to Glenn (Steven Yeun), killing the TWD fan fave in grisly fashion.

Grey's Anatomy Mark Sloan

Mark Sloan, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

McSteamy (Eric Dane) seemed to make it out of Grey’s Anatomy’s Season 8-ending plane crash relatively unscathed, but the survivors later discovered that he was suffering a cardiac tamponade. Then, in the Season 9 premiere, the character succumbed to his injuries.

Alias Michael Vaughn

Honorable mention: Michael Vaughn, ‘Alias’

Vaughn (Michael Vartan) was gunned down by adversaries in Alias’ Season 5 premiere—not long after proposing to Sydney (Jennifer Garner), telling her his name wasn’t actually Michael Vaughn, and getting T-boned by an SUV.

But there’s a twist! Torward the end of that final season, viewers learn that Sydney and her dad, Jack (Victor Garber), had faked Vaughn’s death to protect him.