(SPOILER ALERT: The following post contains major plot twists from "Grey's Anatomy" and other television shows).


The shocking TV death. In recent years, it has become almost standard operating procedure in prime time -- a way to goose the ratings, generate social media buzz and shake up a show.

Thursday night, Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) became the latest victim of this gimmicky trend when he perished after being broadsided by a semi-truck.

Here's a quick look at 10 other stunning TV deaths in recent years:

10. Lane Price ("Mad Men"): "Mad Men" is the kind of show that avoids major shockers so we never expected to discover that the depressed ad executive hung himself on his office door, leaving his colleagues to find his corpse.

9. Zoe Barnes ("House of Cards"): The ambitious journalist (Kate Mara) was a little too ambitious for evil politician (and ex-lover) Frank Underwood. To silence her forever, he pushed poor Zoe in front of a metro train.

8. Hank Schrader ("Breaking Bad"): The DEA agent (Dean Morris) finally caught on to Walter White's drug-dealing ways. But it was all for naught as he met his demise -- by gunshot to the head -- in the New Mexico desert. He went down with dignity, though, refusing to beg for his life.

7. Rita Morgan ("Dexter"): Death, of course, was a way of life on this dark show about a serial killer. But the trauma was immensely magnified when Dexter (Michael C. Hall) came home to find his wife's (Julie Benz) lifeless body in a bathtub and their son Harrison crying on the floor, covered in mom's blood.

6. Matthew Crawley ("Downton Abbey"): This one seemed needlessly cruel. After visiting Lady Mary and their newborn son in the hospital, a happy Matthew (Dan Brown) drove home with visions of a joyful future in his head. Unfortunately, his convertible was driven off the road by an oncoming truck.

5. Lori Grimes ("The Walking Dead"): The zombie apocalypse has claimed numerous lives, but few deaths were as heart wrenching as this one. After delivering a baby via emergency c-section, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) starts to bleed out. Knowing that she'd be a mommy zombie, her own son shot her in the head.

4. Ned Stark ("Game of Thrones"): Anything can happen to anyone at any time. That's the stunning message "Thrones" sent to viewers when kindly Eddard (Sean Bean) -- who at that point, was the saga's lead character -- was beheaded in Season 1 as daughter Sansa looked on.

3. Will Gardner ("The Good Wife"): Fans were blindsided when the show's male lead (Josh Charles) was gunned down in court by his own deranged client. But the real surprise is that producers were able to keep the plot twist secret for months.

2. Tara Knowles ("Sons of Anarchy"): Mother-in-laws can be evil. In what was one of the most horrific death scenes ever depicted in prime time, Tara (Maggie Siff) was stabbed repeatedly in the back of the head with a kitchen carving fork wielded by Gemma (Katey Sagal).

1. The Red Wedding ("Game of Thrones"): As it turned out, it wasn't a nice day for a red wedding. The brutal massacre that left Robb (Richard Madden) and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), and the pregnant Talisa dead made jaws drop and hearts break. And the Internet went crazy.

Contact Chuck Barney at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.ChuckBarney, or Twitter.com/chuckbarney


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