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Top 20 Most Satisfying Revenge Kills in TV History

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Because nothing says, “Yay 20 million subscribers!” like … 20 brutal deaths? Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 revenge kills in TV shows. For this list, we’re looking at small screen kills that saw bad guys face sweet, sweet vengeance, ranked according to the buildup, impact, and satisfaction of the death scenes in question. Naturally, there’ll be plenty of spoilers ahead, so be warned.

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Because nothing says, “Yay 20 million subscribers!” like … 20 brutal deaths? Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 revenge kills in TV shows.

For this list, we’re looking at small screen kills that saw bad guys face sweet, sweet vengeance, ranked according to the buildup, impact, and satisfaction of the death scenes in question. Naturally, there’ll be plenty of spoilers ahead, so be warned.

#20: Akane Kills the Shogun “Westworld” (2016-)

This Western sci-fi series features a slew of deaths, although not all of them stick since the robot characters can just be repaired and rebooted. Things become a whole lot deadlier however when the angry androids revolt, unleashing mayhem throughout Westworld and the other parks. In Shogun World, the malfunctioning shogun captures a young geisha named Sakura, prompting an elder geisha, Akane - who may or may not be her “mother” - to attempt a rescue. But the shogun sees through her plan and demands that the two geisha dance for him . . . then murders Sakura before they can even start. In revenge, Akane uses the dance to get close to the shogun, then brutally kills him by sawing off the top of his head.

#19: Aunt Polly Kills Major Campbell “Peaky Blinders” (2013-)

Major Campbell is one of the most ardent foes of this show’s eponymous gang, and one of the most despicable. After the gang earns his ire in the first season, Campbell is willing to sink to any depths to destroy them; even blackmailing the gang’s matriarch Aunt Polly into having sex with him in exchange for her son’s release from jail. Fittingly, upon the conclusion of the Blinders’ deal with Campbell, it’s Polly, rather than gang leader Tommy, who gets to take down Campbell - cornering him in a phone booth and shooting him point-blank.

#18: Mr. Gold Kills Tamara “Once Upon a Time” (2011-18)

The manipulative Mr. Gold makes plenty of questionable decisions throughout “Once Upon a Time” but he’s often motivated by love for those dear to him. When his son’s fiancée Tamara seemingly murders her husband-to-be, Gold is heartbroken; to make matters worse, Tamara then kidnaps Gold’s grandson Henry. Chasing after them, Gold soon comes across a wounded Tamara - giving him the perfect opportunity for revenge. Although Gold first heals her injuries, and Tamara begs him for forgiveness, he ultimately exacts his vengeance by tearing out her heart and turning it to dust.

#17: Dean Winchester Kills Azazel “Supernatural” (2005-)

Over the course of their lengthy career as hunters of the supernatural, the Winchester brothers have faced a wide variety of villains. But arguably their most personal foe is the yellow-eyed demon Azazel, who killed their mother when they were children, and had a hand in their father’s death as well. At the end of season two, with the help of their father’s ghost, Dean manages to use the mystical revolver known as the Colt to shoot down Azazel. In doing so, he gets revenge for the deaths of their parents, as well as plenty of other victims as well. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as killing a smug, over-confident demon who robbed you of your parents. Right?

#16: Phil Coulson Kills Grant Ward “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (2013-)

Though some fans were holding out for Ward’s redemption, there’s no arguing that he’d done some terrible things. A spy for HYDRA, he betrayed his team; even dropping Fitz and Simmons out of a plane. The crime that gets him killed however is the murder of Phil Coulson’s new ladylove Rosalind. Coulson becomes a man on a mission and pursues Ward with such fervor that he actually skydives through a portal to an alien planet where Ward has travelled to. Once there, Coulson fights with Ward and ends up crushing the traitor’s chest with his robot hand. For fans, it was a truly shocking end, and one that inspired a lot of debate.

#15: Jessica Jones Kills Kilgrave “Jessica Jones” (2015-)

Super powered P. I. Jessica Jones spends her first season facing off against the deranged Kilgrave - a man who can control other people’s minds through verbal commands. The only one immune is Jessica, who broke free from his control after months as his sex slave. Although she has opportunities to kill him, she tries in vain to bring him to justice in a - mostly - legal way. However, a final showdown with several hostages, including her adopted sister Trish, forces her hand. Pretending to be controlled as she was previously, Jessica lulls Kilgrave into a false sense of security, before finally snapping the villain’s neck. Although not done solely for vengeance, Jessica still had her revenge on her tormentor.

#14: Eric Northman Kills Talbot “True Blood” (2008-14)

Sometimes revenge takes a while to achieve, but this is easily the longest on our list, at around 1,000 years! Eric Northman was a Viking whose entire family was killed by werewolves, at the direction of vampire Russell Edgington. After becoming a vampire himself, Eric at last manages to find his family’s killer in the present day. Ingratiating himself with Russell and his husband Talbot, Eric sleeps with Talbot and stakes him through the back during the act. Thus, Eric brutally avenges his family by taking away Russell’s. He’d eventually finish what he started by killing Russell too a few seasons down the line.

#13: Octavia Kills Pike “The 100” (2014-)

In the post-apocalyptic world of “The 100,” there’s no shortage of grudges and revenge killings - though given the state of things on future Earth, they make up just a small fraction of the total bloodshed. A ruthless leader of the Sky People, Charles Pike ordered the killing of 300 Grounders, as well as Lincoln, Octavia’s love interest, whom he executed personally with a shot to the head. Though circumstances force Octavia to work with Pike shortly thereafter, as soon as their battle is won, she takes the opportunity to avenge Lincoln’s death by impaling Pike. Considering Pike’s ruthless ways, this was payback that many fans had been dying to see.

#12: Mike Ehrmantraut Kills Fensky & Hoffman “Better Call Saul” (2015-)

Stalwart fixer Mike Ehrmantraut used to be a cop, but even then he wasn’t on the right side of the law. His whole precinct was dirty, except for his son Matty. After corrupt cops approached Matty, Mike urged him to accept a bribe, but the cops killed Matty anyway just for hesitating. It took Mike a while to figure out whodunnit, but when he did, he didn’t mince words. Pretending to be drunk, he tells Fensky and Hoffman that he knows what they did. When the cops lay out their plan to kill him, Mike turns the tables, and guns them down instead.

#11: Ragnar Blood Eagles Jarl Borg “Vikings” (2013-)

While he’s away raiding in England, “Vikings” series protagonist Ragnar Lothbrok returns home to find his wife and children driven from their homes by his former ally Jarl Borg. In retaliation, Ragnar burns Borg’s men alive, and decides to execute Borg with the legendary torture method, the blood eagle. We’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say it’s hella grisly. Although Ragnar’s sons mete out the same punishment to his eventual killer, we had to give it to the original blood eagle, because of the scene’s haunting music and atmosphere, as well as the fact that, despite his treachery, Borg somehow manages to endure it all without screaming: like a true Viking.

#10: Michonne & Lilly Chambler Kill the Governor “The Walking Dead” (2010-)

An unhinged, dictatorial mass murderer, the Governor terrorizes many people during his reign, including Michonne. During his final assault on the prison our heroes call home, Michonne manages to get her revenge by stabbing him with her sword, saving Rick’s life in the process. However, she doesn’t kill him, instead leaving him to die. Then Lilly, the Governor’s love interest, delivers the finishing shot, killing the man who had led them all to ruin, and who had reacted so callously to her daughter’s death. During his stint on the show, the Governor was one of the most hated characters on TV, and fans had hungrily awaited his demise.

#9: Benjamin Linus Kills Jacob at the Man in Black’s Suggestion “Lost” (2004-10)

A Machiavellian figure at the best of times, Benjamin Linus commits many unconscionable acts throughout “Lost.” When he finally comes face to face with Jacob, whom Ben believes he’s done all these horrible things for, Ben is enraged that Jacob doesn’t seem to care. And so, he stabs him. However the master manipulator behind it all is actually Jacob’s brother, the Man in the Black, in the guise of John Locke. The immortal shapeshifter has been playing a long game to engineer Jacob’s death to get revenge and finally free himself from the Island. It’s a convoluted revenge killing, but one that fits perfectly into this complex series.

#8: Hector Salamanca & Walter White Kill Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring “Breaking Bad” (2008-13)

Few rivalries on TV quite can compete with that of Walter White and his boss/nemesis Gustavo Fring. The finale of Breaking Bad’s fourth season sees Walter backed into a corner with nowhere to turn but to an old enemy: Hector Salamanca. Although the pair despise each other, Hector hates Gus even more than Walter does, given that Gus has helped orchestrate the deaths of Hector’s family and fellow cartel members - including Don Eladio, another revenge kill that deserves a mention. Hector gets his own back though when he lures Gus to his nursing home and activates a bomb made by Walt - killing himself and Gus in an explosive, iconic scene.

#7: Willow Destroys Warren “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1996-2003)

One of the most terrifying revenge kills on this supernatural show happens at the hands of one of its heroines. When violent genius Warren Mears attacks Buffy, a stray bullet accidentally strikes Tara, the girlfriend of Buffy’s friend Willow. Unfortunately for Warren, Willow is a witch who’s been struggling with an addiction to dark magic, and Tara’s death has her literally seeing red. Willow embarks on a rampage of revenge, finally capturing Warren and torturing him with the bullet that killed Tara, before flaying him alive and incinerating him.

#6: Sansa Stark Feeds Ramsay to His Hounds “Game of Thrones” (2011-19)

Few characters in “Game of Thrones” are as reviled as the gleefully sadistic bastard, Ramsay Bolton. Delighting in torture, rape, and murder, Ramsay’s final hour sees him engage in a “Battle of the Bastards” with Jon Snow. However, it’s Ramsay’s wife and rape victim, Jon’s sister Sansa, who gets the real vengeance - although Jon does get to beat the smug swine to a bloody pulp. Once he’s behind bars, Sansa sets Ramsay’s own starving hounds on him - as he’d done in the past to his own victims - and the vicious creep finally reaps what he’s sown.

#5: Frank Castle Kills William Rawlins “The Punisher” (2017-)

Frank Castle, better known as the Punisher, is basically revenge incarnate. His whole reason for becoming a violent, criminal killing vigilante is the murder of his wife and children at the hands of criminals. Although it was tempting to include his various kills of the men directly responsible for their deaths, like Carson Wolf or the Blacksmith, ultimately we gave it to Frank’s brutal killing of the mastermind behind it all, William Rawlins, a.k.a. Agent Orange. After Rawlins tortures Frank and pumps him full of adrenaline, Frank’s former friend Billy sets him free, leading Frank to beat the ever-loving crap out of Rawlins, stab him, and finish by gouging out his eyes!

#4: Tony Soprano Kills Ralph Cifaretto “The Sopranos” (1999-2007)

As a show about mobsters, “The Sopranos” is no stranger to revenge kills. However, this particular revenge kill has an unusual motive – a horse. Shortly after Ralphie Cifaretto’s son ends up in a coma, Pie-O-My, the horse he shares with Tony Soprano, and which Tony loves, dies in a fire. Tony delivers the news to Ralphie, but Ralphie does not appear nearly as upset as Tony expects, talking instead about his son’s condition. Tony accuses Ralphie of setting the fire to collect the insurance they had on the horse, and during their ensuing confrontation he beats Ralphie to death. The scene’s intensity and the ambiguity of Ralphie’s guilt make it very memorable indeed.

#3: Jack Bauer Kills Nina Myers “24” (2001-10)

Throughout this series, Agent Jack Bauer faces down a plethora of terrorists and other threats to the U.S., but one of the villains that arguably hurts him the most is Nina Myers. A colleague with whom he was having an affair while estranged from his wife, Nina turns out to be a double agent. As if that weren’t enough, she kills Jack’s wife. Over the first few seasons, Nina remains a perpetual thorn in Jack’s side. While captured and under interrogation, Nina escapes and is confronted by Jack and his daughter. After deducing that Nina has no more useful information, Jack kills her, finally avenging his wife.

#2: Dexter Kills Arthur Mitchell “Dexter” (2006-13)

Though he would later get to help a friend, Lumen, get revenge later on, Dexter’s own revenge killing was an unknowing one. In most cases, Dexter Morgan murders serial killers as soon as he possibly can. However, Dexter befriends the Trinity Killer, real name Arthur Mitchell, to learn more about him, and even saves his life! Eventually though, Arthur Mitchell ends up on Dexter’s table just like the others. This kill is so effective because Dexter is ignorant of the knowledge that would have made him want to exact revenge – Arthur killed Dexter’s wife, Rita. It’s only after returning home from killing Arthur that Dexter discovers her body.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Spartacus Kills Lentulus Batiatus
“Spartacus” (2010-13)

James McGraw / Flint Kills Lord Peter Ashe
“Black Sails” (2014-17)

Sawyer Kills Anthony Cooper
“Lost” (2004-10)

Aiden Kills Trask
“Revenge” (2011-15)

Madison Kills the Frat Boys
“American Horror Story” (2011-)

#1: Avenging the Red Wedding “Game of Thrones” (2009-)

This series is packed with revenge kills, from Tyrion killing his father, to Cersei poisoning Ellaria’s daughter, to Jon hanging his own murderers! But we had to go with this one. The infamous Red Wedding was a shocking, traumatic event for both the characters and the audience. When Walder Frey betrays and butchers Robb Stark, his pregnant wife Talisa, and mother Caitlyn, Arya Stark swears revenge. After training with a group of face-changing assassins, the first thing she does upon returning home is kill Walder Frey’s sons and feed them to him before slitting his throat. She then takes his appearance and poisons the rest of the Freys. It may have taken years, but Arya’s deed finally proved that revenge can be a dish served any old how, as long as it’s with a smile.


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