Television writers can be a cruel breed, sometimes they seem to delight in shocking their viewers and sending them on an emotional downward spiral. This is no better demonstrated than when they kill off a major character in the most devastating and unexpected fashion. Fans of the ‘The Good Wife’ know what we're talking about, but it's not the first time TV viewers have been left in shock.

Josh Charles The Good Wife Will GardnerOn Sunday fans of  'The Good Wife' said goodbye to Will Gardner.

Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

The relationship between Will and Alicia had always been a central plot point of 'The Good Wife’ and some fans were hoping these two might end up together, eventually. Ok so Alicia had just done the dirty on him a few months earlier by leaving Lockhart/Gardner, but in our heart of hearts we thought these two could work it out. Then there was the ‘A Few Words' episode were Alicia was reminiscing about her past with Will and the pair seemed a little more friendly than we'd seen them recently when they were in that diner. But it turns out any hope of them getting friendly again was all a rouse by the writers, because in the next episode Will gets killed off! Will ends up on the wrong end of a bullet after his client Jeffery Grant goes on a shooting rampage in the courtroom, leaving us all asking, what the hell just happened? Then when Kalinda and Diane go to the hospital our worst fears were confirmed, when they find Will’s lifeless body, minus one shoe. Who knows how Alicia will react or what will happen to Lockhart/Garner now but all we can say is congrats 'Good Wife', you pulled a shocker.

Joyce Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

In season 2 Joss Whedon let us know that on this show no one was safe, when Jenny Calendar met her death at the hands of Angel in 'Buffy' shock death number 1. Fast forward to season 5 and Joss unleashed another shocking death on us and this one was even more heartbreaking. Buffy’s mum Joyce had been feeling unwell for some time and eventually she was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which she had surgery on. Meanwhile the big bad Glory was proving to be the one enemy Buffy couldn’t fight, that was until Joyce’s death. The shock of Joyce dying from natural causes and Buffy’s subsequent reaction in the following episode ‘The Body’ left fans heartbroken and reaching for their tissues, especially thanks to Anya’s tear jerking speech. Joss Whedon, you are an emotional evil genius.

Dan Stvens Downton AbbeyDan Stevens in 'Downton Abbey' gave us a Christmas shocker

Matthew Crawley (Downton Abbey)

In 2012’s 'Downton Abbey' Christmas special everything seemed to be going just fine as everyone enjoyed a nice little trip to Scotland. Of course Lady Mary was pregnant and if we had learnt anything from the season 3 death of Lady Sybil we should have been prepared for disaster, but we weren’t. As we watched Lady Mary give birth to the Crawley’s first child and Matthew make it back in time, everything seemed just fine, well maybe a little too fine. Moments later disaster struck as Matthew Crawley was happily driving home in his car as a proud new father when the unthinkable happened, he crashed. As the show ended with the sight of a lifeless Matthew Crawley we were all left crying into our Christmas dinners. Thanks Downton.

Next page: shocking deaths in Homeland and Grey's Anatomy