5. Sons of Anarchy
Sons of Anarchy has never shied away from killing off characters, and it seemed impossible that the series could out-shock us after Ryan Hurst’s character Opie’s horrible demise. As it turns out, it was very possible, first when Ron Perlman’s Clay was essentially executed by Jax, after the club voted unanimously. Clay’s death was used as part of a set-up to make it looked like Clay and the Irish killed each other in a shoot-out. The exit of such a major character, added to the sight of Clay being shot in the neck was a jarring moment in a series known for some incredibly jarring moments. But nothing comes close to what transpired in the season finale.

All season and even through part of the final episode of Season 6, it was looking like Maggie Siff’s Tara was willing to betray the club and her husband if it meant taking her sons and escaping club life. And then Jax stepped up and agreed to turn himself in, essentially letting Tara off the hook for everything in the process. The two actually sort of reconciled, which seemed too good to be true. And it was. Because nobody told Gemma that Jax’s arrest was his own choice and not Tara’s, and — believing she was protecting her son — she went to Tara’s house, waited for her to get home and then brutally murdered her, first by pushing her face into a sink full of dish water and then stabbing her through the back of the head and neck with a carving fork. It’s one of the most unsettling and violent scenes TV’s seen in a while. To have it transpire between two lead characters makes it all the more upsetting, as it means not only having to accept that Tara is gone, but that Gemma killed her. (By Kelly West)

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