20 of the Darkest TV Series Finales of All Time

Every appreciator of television both fear and anticipate the inevitable conclusion of their favorite series. Regardless of if said series is the biggest show in the world or a niche production, fans typically grow an attachment to the characters, the plots, and the fictional world. Thus, leaving a universe behind can be a bittersweet, yet liberating experience. Taking the messages of the show as well as appreciating the overarching character arcs, a show’s conclusion can be an emotional experience however the themes continue to follow fans for the rest of their lives.

However, a great show does not equate to a happy show. Many series have survived cancelation and concluded with a tragic ending. A majority of these finales line perfectly with the morose ethos of the show, taking its protagonists through the best of times before plunging them through the worst, that is if they manage to survive until the final second of the series.

Writers and show runners throughout their tenure have never failed to deliver groundbreaking episodes that tie up the majority of their character’s storylines before ending with a bang. Symbolism and dialogue throughout the series served as methods for foreshadowing the eventual fallout from the actions and attitudes carried out by characters throughout the series. While there may be an innate hope for a series to conclude with its world intact, many fans recognize that their protagonists are flawed individuals who have made a series of choices that could have benefited them but ultimately led to their downfall. In other cases, a tragedy offers solace to surviving characters and the fans, realizing that admirable protagonists are no longer in pain and the series of developments offer characters a chance at redemption and their respective community at large, a chance at restoration.

“Felina” (Breaking Bad)

Breaking Bad

Fans followed the life-threatening exploits of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in the beloved series Breaking Bad. After a bleak cancer diagnosis amidst financial insecurity prompts White (Bryan Cranston) to venture into the illegal drug trade, he, alongside his former student Pinkman (Aaron Paul) find themselves evading the DEA, cartels, and sketchy yet powerful individuals. Throughout five seasons, the AMC drama covered a variety of topics such as substance abuse, morality, corrupt healthcare systems, and family, each quickly unearthing a permeating darkness that would soon define the series.

The series finale, “Felina” finds Walt coming to terms with his demise. On the run from a nationwide manhunt while his lung cancer reaches its final stage, Walt decides to make amends and settle past grievances both compassionately and violently. In one conversation with his estranged wife Skylar (Anna Gun), he discloses that he went forward with producing and selling meth as a form of self-gratification rather than out of a desire to provide for his family. As audiences watch Walt’s lips curl into a grin before his final breath, one can not help but consider the validity of his confession.

Throughout the series, Walt has committed horrific acts to, establishing and maintaining his “Heisenberg” persona to evade guilt and responsibility. However, his hubris stems from his deep frustration with the world and subsequent despair. White’s cancer diagnosis serves as the last straw, the one barrier between barely living above a moral grayness and his eventual descent into darkness. What truly makes “Felina” such a harrowing finale is that it prompts audiences to consider that any one event could be someone’s breaking point, and once they’re beyond saving, it can be nearly impossible to bring them back. A melange of privilege and desperation sent White to his doom, if systems supposedly designed to protect people fail to, what is there to prevent anyone from descending into wickedness.

“Made In America” (The Sopranos)

Carmela dances with Furio in The Sopranos

The Sopranos has been immortalized into media, and it would not have been possible without its stellar series finale, “Made In America”. After going into hiding, the patriarch of the Soprano family (James Gandolfini) colludes with FBI Agents in hopes of learning the location of Phil (Frank Vincent), a leader of the Lupertazzi crime family who sought to assassinate him. In hopes of finally handling Phil, Tony embarks on a trip to hopes of attaining a temporary state of peace. Whether it be the aforementioned agents or rival Butchie (Gregory Antonacci), there seems to be a concentrated effort on Tony’s behalf to return to a state of security, and in his case, normalcy.

However, the final minutes of the finale suggest that Tony’s carved out a lane that leads to his unique version of normalcy rather than the idealized version he may have aspired to achieve. After learning about his children’s plans and goals for the future as well as a seemingly typical yet sentimental dinner where the family shares one last moment together before embarking on the rest of their personal lives. While waiting for Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), Tony continuously takes a peek at the door Then, the diner door opens and Tony famously looks up before the screen instantly cuts to black.

In spite of the discourse that this scene birthed, most fans walked away from the series with one sad thought in mind. Tony’s past is not behind him. Regardless of whether he lived or died, Tony would have to spend the rest of his life worrying about his safety given the everyday dynamics of the mafia environment. Throughout the series, fans have come to grapple with Tony’s many pitfalls but also his willingness to grow, and to be left with such a bleak thought is such a masterful decision on behalf of David Chase.

“-30-” (The Wire)

Michael B. Jordan as Wallace in HBO's The Wire

The Wire was always a tragic yet necessary display of what law and order really looks like in the United States. Honing in on the Baltimore Police Department, the series included a roster of impeccable talent ranging from Idris Elba, Dominic West, Lance Reddick, and John Doman, and followed the consequences of corruption in American policing. Throughout the series, audiences joined characters Jimmy McNulty (West), Kima Greggs (Sonya Sohn), and Cedric Daniels (Lance Reddick) on high-risk investigations into the city’s drug trade, tense days at the department, and interactions both tender and terrifying with the greater community of Baltimore. Regarded as one of the strongest television series in history, creator David Simon sought to construct a narrative that was “cynical of institutions” but approached concepts, beliefs, and themes with a humanist lens.

“-30-“, the series finale, accomplishes that perfectly, culminating with the corruption of series favorites and the subsequent erasure of those misdeeds In hopes of increasing funding for the homicide department, McNulty decides to stage crimes and tamper with evidence in order to create an idea that a serial killer has been wreaking havoc on Baltimore citizens. While his plot is ultimately uncovered, the powers that be decided to sweep it under the rug because of the implications it has on everyone from the mayor (Aidan Gillen) to the chief of police. The pervasive corruption that has been introduced the premiere episode has permeated throughout the series and in the finale, leaves the audiences with a poor taste in their mouths and much to consider about the world they inhabit.

Sentimental moments like Bubble’s (Andre Royo) heartfelt reunion with his family, Jimmy’s sober farewell to his job, and the iconic montage before the episode concludes offer some light in the otherwise dark world of The Wire, and consequently the read world, mirroring the several institutions designed to profit off of people’s misery and harm.

“The Blessed Dark (Penny Dreadful)

Showtime Networks

Derived from the name of 19th century British fiction, Penny Dreadful premiered in 2014 on Showtime. Chronicling the experiences of American gunman Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), who in 1891, ventures to London and soon creates a worthwhile connection with the mysterious Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton). Enlisting Chandler in hopes to save his daughter, the trio soon learn that paranormal entities and activities are at play and are suddenly thrusted in a race against time.

The show garnered interest for its interesting incorporation of famous characters from Victorian Gothic fiction, Abrahamic narratives, and Irish literature, with a prolific set of actors ranging including Patti LuPone (American Horror Story), the beloved Billie Piper (Doctor Who, I Hate Suzie), and triple-threat Olly Alexander (It’s A Sin).

The final season opens with Ethan returning home, Vanessa suffering from severe depression, the death of Alfred Tennyson, and last but definitely not least, the arrival of Count Dracula, the final antagonist of the series. With the protagonists living separate lives in different parts of the world, the third season follows each of them on their respective journey before their final union. “The Blessed Dark” serves as the series finale and follows the final confrontation between Count Dracula and Ethan, Vanessa, and their allies. Dracula discloses to Vanessa that a prophecy has designated Ethan as his sole threat, and thus the latter must be vanquished by any means necessary. However, the darkness ushered into London can only be defeated with a sacrifice.

Throughout the three season arc, the series followed Vanessa and her personal battle with her faith and in some ways, her decision to sacrifice herself does offer her closure. At the climax of the finale, she seems at peace with her demise, aware that is for the greater good as well as a personal achievement in regard to her revitalized faith.

“Eldorado” (Boardwalk Empire)

Boardwalk Empire - Anthony Laciura as Eddie

Based on the several stories to come out of Prohibition-era America, Boardwalk Empire shines a light on the various dealings of a corrupt Atlantic City treasurer (Steve Buscemi) and the fallout from said collusion. Over the course of five seasons, Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Buscemi) has conducted under-the-table-deals with mobsters while also attempting to maintain a compassionate demeanor when conversing with friends and family. After his time as treasurer comes to an abrupt conclusion, he delves deeper into the darkness, carving a violent, bootlegging kingdom of his own.

The final season experiments with time, taking viewers into Nucky’s past and presenting moments such as the first time he met his mentor, the Commodore (Dabney Coleman). While fans could have predicted the devastating consequences of his actions, that did not make the series finale, entitled “Eldorado”, any more tragic to view.

In hopes of retiring from bootlegging, Nucky decides that it is best to handle the remaining relationships he has yet to fracture while tying up loose ends. The intention of the flashbacks and the leaps forward in time strongly illustrate how Nucky’s hubris and violent reign can not be erased or minimized regardless of his wants and wishes. He managed to be a bootlegging tycoon, the city treasure, and in 1931, the deputy sherif of Atlantic City, however such flexibility in a world with rules both recited daily and unspoken produce detrimental results that can not be evaded. In his final night in the city, he is confronted by Joe, who reveals himself to be Tommy Darmody (Travis Tope), the son of the late-Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt). Unleashing three bullets of fury, Nucky is fatally struck, meeting the same demise he inflicted on his once-close confidant Jimmy.

“START” (The Americans)

The Americans season finale
Amblin Television

In all but six seasons, The Americans invited audiences into the secret lives of two Soviet KGB agents living undercover as American citizens. Starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as two KGB agents tasked with obtaining intel on the United States, the series chronicles the tensions between the two countries during the Reagan administration as well as the couple’s conflicts. Living in the heart of America since the 1960s, Elizabeth (Russell) and Phillip Jennings (Rhys) are introduced in during the 80s as a married couple that have raised their two children Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati), both of whom who are unaware of their parents’ true identity. Their secrets grow more difficult to shield once they learn of their neighbor Stan (Noah Emmerich) and his affiliation with the FBI.

The series finale “START” finds Elizabeth and Phillip’s actual identities compromised. Admitting to their lives as Soviet agents to an inquisitive Stan, they prepare for the inevitable. However, Stan offers a compromise that lets them leave the country in one piece but without their family intact. While Paige, who was well aware of their secret since the latter half of the third season, was expected to flee with them, she instead chooses to remain the States to watch over Henry with the assistance of Stan. On their travels back to Moscow, Phillip and Elizabeth reminisce on their lives and the several choices they have made both together and apart.

The somber series finale provides poignant points about the effects of the Cold War on the lives of many, both innocent and otherwise. Furthermore, the show at large serves as an intriguing analysis into the complexities of marriages. While Elizabeth and Phillip are together, their shared secrecy in the past and their decision to effectively abandon their children makes for a great narrative but for a saddening resolution to their issues.

“Veep” (Veep)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep
  • Warner Bros. Television Distribution

The ever-so-entertaining Veep introduces audiences to an alternate America where one Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the Vice-President of the United States, meticulously plots for the position of the most powerful person in the world. During her seven season tenure, Dreyfus alongside Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, and Reid Scott provided audiences with lines both amusing and poignant. Many have questioned whether the satire was ahead of its time, and while that critical perspective may be true, perhaps the glaring issues with the American government were that obvious and rather than looking towards the future, Veep joins a list of shows that successfully prophesied the future by criticizing the present day developments.

Related: Veep: How the Show Has Evolved from Satire to Documentary

The final season finds Selina planning to announce her presidential campaign and the final seven episodes see Selina use the skills and resources she refined in past seasons to the best of her ability, even if it comes at the costs of individuals in marginalized communities, including Catherine (Sarah Sutherland), her lesbian daughter. The series finale, aptly titled “Veep”, leaves Selina with her dreams come true. After winning the election, an isolated Selina stares back at the group of inexperienced subordinates that heed her every call. The episode details that manner in which she ostracizes her inner circle. From robbing Kemi Talbot (Toks Olagundoye) of her promised vice-presidential pick, throwing Gary (Tony Hale) under the bus, and sacrificing same-sex marriage for the support of the biggest donor, effectively severing ties with Catherine. To top it all off, the episode leaps twenty-four years into the further and finds the news quickly covering Selina’s funeral and her middling legacy as a one-term president before news of Tom Hanks’ passing drowns out her coverage. The final seconds beg to question the significance of power, a forever fleeting yet monumental experience that could very well result in neither immense reproach nor adoration, but an unremarkable reign defined by a draining dedication to preserving corrupt systems.

“Family Meeting” (The Shield)

Captain David Aceveda the shield
Sony Pictures

Similarly to The Wire, The Michael Chiklis-led crime drama followed the misdeeds of corrupt police officers. Based in Los Angeles, The Shield was conceived as a division of the LAPD responsible for investigating and decreasing the amount of gang-related violence in the fiction Farmington district, colloquially referred to as “The Farm”. Throughout the series, audiences are let into their personal lives as well as their darkest secrets. The pilot famously concluded with a treacherous betrayal at the hands of Mackey (Chiklis) and accomplice Shane Vendrell (Walton Giggins), a decision that permanently haunts the two men for the remainder of the series.

The finale of the series, “Family Meeting” chronicles the crumbling consequences of Mackey’s series of schemes. After spending the most of the season instigating intra racial gang wars, throwing his fellow officers under the bus, and attempting to secure a position for ICE, the episode begins with Vic and Ronnie (David Rees Snell) conversing about the future of their lives and their safety. Manipulating the conversation in his favor, Vic lies and tells Ronnie that he is in the clear, on behalf of ICE agent Olivia Murray (Laurie Holden). However, the schemes and subsequent downfall of Vic does not compare to the gut-wrenching resolution of Shane’s storyline.

With his life and the lives of his family in jeopardy, Shane sees no way out other than a gruesome murder-suicide masked as a “family meeting”. The vision of Shane committing suicide and the discovery of his family is jarring enough, but also highlights the intricate web woven by corruption. It is nearly impossible to wholeheartedly devote oneself to years of corruption, murder, among other misdeeds and expect to make it to one’s ideal destination.

“A Hard Way To Go” (Ozark)

Del threatens Marty in Ozark

Fans of Ozark held the series in high regard due to its criticisms of greed, intriguing plots, and the introduction of characters many had come to love. The Netflix series, premiering in 2017, starred Laura Linney, Jason Bateman, and Sofia Hublitz in a series that focused on a failed money laundering scheme that sees financial advisor Marty Byrde (Bateman) and his family flee from the Chicago suburbs to a quaint Missouri community where criminals in the local area and regional mafias are waiting for them.

The finale, “A Hard Way to Go”, perfectly encapsulates the seediness of the Byrde family, who serve as the series protagonists but are far from heroic. Taking out the local Langmore and Snell families one by one, the series finale only left Ruth (Julia Garner) unscathed by the havoc unleashed by the seasons-long conflict. However, in retribution for Ruth’s role in the murder of her son Javi (Alfonso Herrera), Camila (Veronica Falcón) shoots Ruth dead and with the latter gone, the Ozarks have effectively been gutted of the locals that resided there in favor of the greedy newcomers who sought to preserve their own wealth while producing more.

“Graduation” (13 Reasons Why)

yashow_thirteen reasons why

13 Reasons Why debuted to controversy for its handling of serious topics, however the Netflix series ran for four seasons before concluding in 2020. Spawned by the suicide of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), Clay Jensen (Dylan Minette) receives a package of thirteen tapes, each narrated by Hannah, who gives context about the various events that led to her taking her own life. Throughout the series, audiences the ripple effect of Hannah’s passing and the attempts made by Clay as well as Alex (Miles Heizer), (Tony (Christian Navarro), and Jessica (Alisha Boe).

The fourth season follow’s Clay’s mental health issues following the deaths of several classmates as well as the framing of Monty (Timothy Granderos). Much like previous seasons, season four does not hold back from the gruesome realities faced by the Liberty City teens. From the despair and anguish written all over Clay’s face to the violent death of Monty, it seemed as though the final season was dark enough. However, the revelation of Justin’s (Brandon Foley) passing in the series finale “Graduation” proved to be a heart-shattering development given his stellar redemption arc throughout the series. That coupled with the majority of the character reflecting on the lives lost and harmed throughout their high school experiences leaves audience with a sense of relief that beloved characters seem to be improving mentally and physically but many can not help but acknowledge the pain and loss that defined the series.

“Milk” (Sharp Objects)

Sharp Objects

Based on the Gillian Flynn-penned novel of the same name, Sharp Objects landed on HBO more than a decade after the mystery novel hit the bookshelves. Starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, and Chris Messina, the miniseries focuses on disgraced reporter Camille Preaker (Adams), her investigation into the murders of Ann Nash (Kaegan Baron) and Natalie Keene (Jessica Treska), and her personal journey towards recovery. Recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital, Camille returns to her hometown, Wind Gap, Missouri and soon becomes the driving force behind the mission to solve the murders.

The series finale, “Milk” finds Camille and Richard (Chris Messina) in the midst of a chilling discovery or two. Not only do the pair realize that Camille’s mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson), has been poisoning her daughters with rat poison. Apprehended by the authorities, Adora’s Munchausen syndrome by proxy further implicates her of the murder of the two teenage girls. Nevertheless, that is only half of the disturbing truths that come unearthed in the final moments of the series.

Later in the episode, it is revealed that Camille’s half sister, the popular Amma (Eliza Scanlen) is in fact the murderer. With the context of the source material,Amma was envious of her mother’s “care” being extended to both Natalie and Ann, as well as a pervasive powerlessness in her life. Thus, Amma believed that murder was the only solution to her pain and thus, with the assistance of her friends Kelsey and Jodes as well as her manipative tendencies to jump between innocence and malice murdered Ann, Natalie, and likely her new friend Mae (Iyana Halley) as well.

“The Fallout” (Arrested Development)

Arrested Development

Jason Bateman makes a second appearance as the Fox sitcom Arrested Development, cherished for its depiction of a toxic family following the loss of their immense wealth, has also been highlighted as a series with a particularly dark conclusion. Alongside Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, and Alia Shawkat star as members of the extended Bluth Dynasty, each with their own idiosyncrasies and predicaments they have to overcome.

The series finale, “The Fallout,” finds the family at the center of a controversial murder and subsequent body dumping that has caught the attention of the authorities. The huge reveal is one devastating blow to everything fans have come to learn about the family, as it is disclosed that Buster (Tony Hale), largely seen as the most innocuous member of the family, is in fact responsible for Lucille’s (Liza Minnelli) murder. Moreover, the final moments with the Bluth family hjighlight how little, if any strides in improvement were made.

Whether it be Michael (Bateman) and George Michael’s (Michael Cera) bitter resentment towards one another or Maeby’s anti-authority attitudes continuing to be motivated by nothing other than a petty vendetta she holds towards the older women in her life, the series finale holds a mirror up to the characters and highlights the lack of personal growth, and thus remnants of a fractured family that could have been mended if a little effort was channeled into healing.

“With Open Eyes” (Succession)

succession season 3
HBO/Warner Bros Discovery

Fans have spent four riveting seasons theorizing about the conclusion of Succession. While any fans had their personal favorite among Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Connor (Alan Ruck) alongside dark horses like Tom (Matthew MacFadyen) and Greg (Nicholas Braun), every viewer knew in the back of their head that the finale would be devastating for the Roy children. Whoever “won” and assumed leadership of Waystar Royco would have done so with a price, a seemingly Pyrrhic victory motivated by their mutual resentment towards their father and boss Logan Roy (Brian Cox). With a front row seat to the discord caused by the Roy family, the final season took what made the series a literary masterpiece and presented audiences just how drastic the consequences of their actions were.

The finale “With Open Eyes” treated audiences to almost 90 minutes of chaos with hints of sweet recollections of the past and a heartwarming moment between Kendall, Shiv, and Roman that fans felt they have earned. After the nerve-wracking election night, the final episode picks up after with Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) preparing for his final blow in his stake for Waystar Royco. The siblings convene in their mother Caroline’s home in Barbados, a last moment of pure peace and joy before the siblings effectively lose the company to Tom (Matthew MacFayden) and Matsson.

Related: Succession Finale Recap and Review: The Tragic Cycle Is Complete

The Roy siblings, in particular, have quite the grip on the audiences, managing to upset them by practically stealing the election in one episode while winning them over during a funeral in another episode. However, this episode firmly laid out the consequences of the sibling’s selfishness, malice, and pure greed. Out of a supposed necessity to spite Logan, even after his passing, the company and the race to leadership have practically consumed the siblings, sans Connor (Alan Ruck), who seemingly gave up on his vendetta in favor of a pleasant life with his wife Willa (Justine Lupe). It is not until Shiv makes the final call that the siblings are somewhat liberated from the cycle of abuse and corruption that swallowed them whole just episodes prior.

While fans left the series with a level of hope for the characters, now that they are free from the company and the pain it represents, it does not translate the same way to the characters, especially to a heartbroken Kendall who spends the final moments of the show silently staring into the ocean.

“Mirror Image” (Quantum Leap)

Scott Bakula Thinks a Quantum Leap Reboot Is Possible_ Sam's Still Out There

Premiering in 1989, Quantum Leap was a science-fiction series that focused on the travels of one Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), a physicist that inadvertently discovers and manipulates time. Embarking on a time travel adventure spanning five seasons, Sam “leaps” into the past, an ability that not only constitutes time travel but also allows Sam to effectively possess a person in the respective time period.

The series follows Sam, alongside his friend Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell), and his time spent “correcting” the past. What originally begins as a few excursions through time quickly develops into a life-long mission to help prevent catastrophes, with Sam feeling like he is being directed to these events by an invisible yet omnipresent force.

“Mirror Image” served as the series finale and aired in the spring of 1993. Returning to his hometown at the time of his birth, Sam comes across other characters from his past, including a man (W. Morgan Sheppard) that reminds him of Gooshie (Dennis Wolfberg) and a bartender that he believes may be God. Once he is told that he can return home as he pleases, Sam contends with his decision before making the ultimate sacrifice and revisiting Al’s life. While Al enjoys a life with a full family, Sam never returns home, and instead dedicates his life to leaping.

“The Iron Throne” (Game of Thrones)

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones infamously ended on a poor note, one that seemingly shrouded its legacy as a prolific series that brought fantasy to the forefront. Based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” franchise, the series followed the fight between five royal houses, and external factions for the throne of Westeros. Whether fans found themselves drawn to the crafty House Tyrell, the exiled House Targaryen, or the “honorable” Starks, they ultimately fell in love with the world of Ice and Fire itself.

“The Iron Throne” finally chronicles Daenerys’ epic and bloody takeover of King’s Landing and subsequent coronation. Appalled by the violent takeover, Jon makes a controversial decision that left a sour taste in the mouths of audiences who saw the final moments of the episode as a culmination of their various discrepancies with the direction of the show.

After killing Daenerys due to he, poorly written, transgression and returning to the Night Watch, Jon leaves Tyrion to make the decision regarding the fate of Westeros. Bran (Isaac Heampstead Wright ) is named king of the Six Kingdoms, granting the North its independence under the rule of Sansa (Sophier Turner). In the wake of the surrounding devastation, a new hope is born with Bran leading the kingdom, but given his power as the Raven, it leads many to consider whether he knew about the events that would unfold and simply played the game like many of his adversaries, each who carried out their own horrific acts against other houses and their subjects.

“It’s Time” (Weeds)

Mary-Louise Parker in Weeds

Showtime’s dark comedy Weeds graced audiences in 2005 and welcomed them to a world of misfortune and marijuana. Starring Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, and Justin Kirk, Weeds focuses on Nancy Botwin (Parker), a woman who recently lost her husband to a devastating heart attack and turns to dealing drugs in order to maintain her affluent lifestyle and tend to her children. With a small but lucrative consumer base, Nancy decides to expand her business but soon comes to face the reality of her decisions, going up against DEA agents and drug-lords alike.

The final season picks up from the season seven finale where the dinner among Nancy and her loved ones are interrupted with a gunshot. Struck in the head with a bullet, Nancy is rushed to the hospital spends the rest of the season contending with her previous actions as well as foraying into the more ideal pharmacuetical industry. “It’s Time”, the final episode of the series, jumps forward in time and audiences are greeted with a world where marijuana is legal and Nancy is now wealthier than when viewers met her. However, her success came at the expense of her children, the majority of whom, want nothing to do with her. As Nancy and her remaining partners sit outside her Connecticut home and reflect on the several life-threatening moments that got them to their current day success, it is worth noting that she never really rectifies the harm she inflicted onto her children.

“Exeunt Omnes” (Oz)

Reddick in Oz

Oz was always a series shrouded in darkness. Taken place in a prison with terrifying characters imprisoned and even more terrifying guards, the HBO series delivered a harrowing examination of prison life. Serving as a nickname for the Oswald State Correctional Facility. Oz follows the efforts of one Tim McManus (Terry Kinney) and his hopes to introduce rehabilitation as an alternative to the gruesome carceral system.

The segregated prison includes characters like the manipulative and malicious Chris Keller (Christopher Meloni), the liberal idealist Kareem Saïd (Eamonn Walker), and narrator Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau) and highlights the crimes they have committed, violent or otherwise, and the lengths in which they try to survive, and in some cases, climb to the top of the ranks among the other prisoners. However, McManus’ Emerald City project hopes to look at them as beyond their worst moments and help them understand the errors of their ways and a path to future improvement.

“Exeunt Omnes” marks an exodus of sorts. Beginning with McManus being fired, the prisoners experience a range of resolutions. Characters like Ryan and Father Mukada enjoy difficult yet loving reunion with their loved ones however, villains like Vern and Keller met their bloody demise. Nothing, however, compares to the eradication of the Aryans. Orchestrated by Keller, a package arrives at the prison that not only unleashes a fatal anthrax storm on the remainder of the Aryans, and led to the eventual shutdown of the prison. The finale cements Oz as one of the few shows that balances shocking sequences with serious and strong story writing.

“Thank You” (True Blood)

True Blood-1

One of the most recognizable supernatural dramas, True Blood invited viewers to the small, seemingly quaint town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. In a world where vampirism is no longer shrouded in secrecy, the series focuses on the life of Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), introduced as a normal young woman, and her experiences with vampires, werewolves and a slew of other species with varying aspirations and moral standings. With the arrival of Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) coinciding with a series of murders, the residents’ reactions vary from skeptical to bigoted. The controversy only intensifies following the arrival of Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) and his clan of mischievous vampires.

The series finale however, finds the True Blood universe expanded to its limits, incorporating a massive community of species and abilities. The episode, “Thank You”, sees a bittersweet revisit of the past, after both Sookie and Pam vanquish the villainous Yakanomo group. In anticipation of Bill’s inevitable passing, Sookie and the audience get a last glimpse at dearly departed characters like Tara (Rutina Wesley) and learn of Bill’s wish to be killed with Sookie’s fae powers, an act that would promise her the normalcy she sought after for so long. While she and her brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) achieve a sense of peace, they do so with the loss of several beloved friends and family in mind.

“End” (The Good Wife)

The Good Wife cast

The Good Wife, known for its suspenseful premise and the seedy characters that left audiences enamored for more, followed Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and her return as a litigator after spending more than a decade as a stay-at-home-mother. After her husband (Chris Noth) is imprisoned, Alicia attempts to balance her role as a mother with her desire to be an honorable litigator. However, her relationship with former friend Will Gardener (Josh Charles) as well as the various complications with her own marriage given their respective ambitions in law and politics.

The series finale is a culmination of the inescapable corruption that defines law firms like Lockhart & Gardner and devours characters like Alicia. “End” begins in the midst of Peter’s trial, launched by AUSA. With the jury requesting audio of a transcript provided to them, it is Alicia who discovers one. In the distance, many of Peter’s allies, led by his campaign strategist Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) shift their focus into supporting Alicia, but to no avail. The crimes and plots committed catch up to both Peter and Alicia and while the former gets a one-year probation deal and a resignation, the latter is reduced to running a small private practice from her apartment. Alicia’s humiliating defeat highlights the lengths in which she has strived to be a “good wife” both in the sense of her alignment with Peter and her public image. Her continued scheming seemingly promised her a life of prestige but is quickly pulled from her in under 45 minutes.

“wow” (Barry)

Bill Hader in Barry

HBO’s beloved black comedy Barry follows the titular antihero’s (Bill Hader) and his life in Los Angeles after accepting an offer to handle a designated target. Introduced as a former U.S. Marine officer and a hitman, Barry soon mingles with Hollywood actors such as Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg) and prompts him to question the trajectory of his life and the reasoning behind his decisions both past and present. Seamlessly slipping from amusing moments to some of the darkest moments on television, Barry has received universal acclaim from its dedicated fans and critics across the globe.

“wow”, airing earlier this year, was the culmination of Barry’s arrest and subsequent escape from prison. Opening with the realization that Hank (Anthony Carrigan) has Sally (Sarah Goldberg) and their son John (Zachary Golinger) in captivity. Attempting to lure him out, Hank attempts to collude with Barry’s close friend Fuches (Stephen Root), who quickly realizes the urgency of the situation. However, Barry meets his demise, not at the hands of Hank, but acting coach turned enemy Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) who enacts his vengeance due to Barry’s murder of his girlfriend Janice (Paula Newsome). While Barry is buried with fully military honor, his life is made into a revisionist biopic that frames him as a hero manipulated by an evil Gene. The film does paint Barry in a great light, but one can not help but wonder if the biopic may or may not serve as a form of propaganda.

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