Shonda Rhimes is the queen of TV right now. Not only did she rule the screen on ABC, but Netflix was smart enough to poach her when they had the chance. Her vision has led to more diverse TV and changed the course of history. Before Kerry Washington starred as Olivia Pope on Scandal, women of color as leads on TV were few and far between. According to Vox, Washington was the first black female lead on TV since 1974.
But Rhimes' vision also gave us intricate plot twists, secrets, and a compassionate view of many issues people are afraid to talk about on TV. Granted, these plot twists included the deaths and exits of characters we fell in love with over the years. Sure, we know some actors left to pursue great things. Exhibit A: Sandra Oh. Other actors left one series and became a fixture on other shows. Exhibit B: Scott Foley.
We recognize that great TV requires many sacrifices, but the exit certain characters may have weakened a few plot twists here and there. In the meantime, some people have stuck around longer than they should. That doesn't mean we don't still love some of these characters. Some of them should go because their characters are stuck in a rut. If someone isn't going to continue developing, then something has to change. We also recognize that a plot twist could bring someone back or change how we perceive a character.
Here are 15 Character Exits That Hurt Shondaland Shows (And 10 That Need To Go).
25 Hurt: Arizona Robbins, Grey's Anatomy
Arizona Robbins arrived at Grey's Anatomy like a welcome breeze on a hot summer day. Yes, we just made ourselves cringe at that sentence. Her sunny disposition and love for Callie was a welcome addition to the cast. Yes, she had her flaws and went through a dark period, but you would've been a tad depressed if you had lost some extremities as well.
Robbins and Torres went through serious ups and downs, but we also got to see Robbins become a great neonatal surgeon. Fans still miss the joy she brought to the series.
24 Hurt: Henry Burton, Grey's Anatomy
We first met Henry Burton when he went to Seattle Grace as a patient during season 7. Though we mostly see some patients for a few episodes, he had an arc that lasted until his passing on season 8.
He had no health insurance and Altman proposed to him because she felt it was her Hippocratic duty to prevent his death. Burton actually fell in love with her despite her protestations, and just when we started to think he and Altman could become a thing, he was taken from us.
23 Hurt: Rebecca Sutter, HTGAWM
Wes Gibbin's neighbor in Philly took crap from absolutely no one and had her own sense of style. She and Wes didn't see eye to eye at first because she loved loud music and distracted him from his studies. Eventually, the two formed a relationship.
Things went sour because anyone who gets involved with someone on the Keating 5 is bound to get sucked into their drama. The Keating 5 believed she killed Lila Stangard, but Annalise and Wes believed she didn't. Rebecca Sutter made a great foil to Wes' otherwise uptight personality.
22 Hurt: Simon Drake, HTGAWM
Simon Drake was a character many of us loved to hate. That's what made him so important. He understood who Annalise was, and he disliked her preference for the Keating 5.
Yes, he went too far in posting flyers with Professor Keating's face everywhere. Even though we all love Annalise and want her to succeed despite being an anti-hero, the show needed at least one person who didn't follow her lead. Even though it would have been nice to have someone whiff out the Keating 5, his departure showed us how far Michaela would go to protect herself.
21 Hurt: Stephanie Edwards, Grey's Anatomy
Dr. Stephanie Edwards was strong, beautiful, and talented. She wasn't afraid to be grumpy, and we later grew to have compassion for her when we learned about her motivations to become a doctor.
Edwards wasn't afraid to put Jo in her place, implying that Jo can't handle a little competition. We saw Edwards deal with some tough circumstances, such as telling Jackson and April the bad news about their baby and trying to remove Dr. Herman's brain tumor. At least Edwards is now traveling, but TV lost a great role model when she left the show.
20 Hurt: Wes Gibbins, HTGAWM
Alfred Enoch's portrayal of Wes Gibbins showed us that male characters don't need to be overly-macho to show grit. If it seemed like all the cards were stacked against Wes from the beginning it's because they were.
From being called "the puppy" to learning about how Annalise met his biological mother, Wes was always underestimated. Wes allowed us to see Annalise's maternal side, and he became a trusted confidant for her. Yes, we knew Laurel's father wasn't going to like him, but his exit puts the onus on Oliver to be the last puppy on the show.
19 Hurt: Pete, Private Practice
When we first met Pete Wilder on Private Practice, he was specializing in alternative medicine. He was a bit of a serial monogamist after having been in an unhappy marriage that ended abruptly.
He later wooed Addison and Violet and became a devoted father to his son, Lucas. We saw Pete care for his patients and his character grew up a lot during the show's arc. Though we were rooting for Violet, he turned out to be the rock of their relationship. His death was sudden and left us feeling sad for everyone at Oceanside Wellness.
18 Hurt: George O'Malley, Grey's Anatomy
George O'Malley was the character we always underestimated. Introduced as a shy guy that had no luck with the ladies, he eventually married Callie Torres and had a few trysts with Izzie and Meredith.
Despite his shy exterior, he was the one who helped Bailey deliver her baby when she didn't feel ready. He became a hero to the rest of the interns thanks to the famous "elevator scene" ("Bring The Pain," Season 2). We can respect that he died a hero but would've liked him to have more chances to assert himself a bit more.
17 Hurt: Alissa, Scandal
Alissa was David Rosen's assistant. She was loyal and funny, but her character also showed viewers that young women can have healthy relationships with their superiors.
Though Rosen was good-natured, Alissa wasn't afraid to throw in a funny reference here and there. She seemed genuinely interested in her work for the US Attorney's office. Her character just kind of disappeared after Season 2. Alissa could've easily helped David sift through some of the later conspiracies he had to face in later seasons. The thing is, Scandal didn't let us know why she left. We want to know!
16 Hurt: Lexie Grey, Grey's Anatomy
Lexie Grey was loving, compassionate, and a great sister to Meredith Grey. Sure, they had a rocky start. Some fans didn't always like how Meredith treated her little sister.
But if anyone could win Meredith's love and trust, it was Lexi. You don't mess with Lexipedia, especially when her photographic memory could save your life. She was one of the many casualties of the plane accident on Season 8. Chyler Leigh reportedly wanted off the show so she could have more time to spend with her family. Though we miss Lexie and how well she complimented Meredith, at least her exit gave us Alex Danvers.
15 Hurt: James Novak, Scandal
James Novak was great to watch because he didn't have the same baggage as everyone else on Scandal. Yes, being married to Cyrus Beene meant consistently being the eye of the storm, but this wasn't his fault.
James had a unique sense of style, and he was an accomplished journalist in his own right. He was also a dedicated father to Ella. Still, he wasn't about to throw away a chance to report for BNC either. Sadly, we saw Jake take his life just as James was about to uncover some important information. RIP.
14 Hurt: Christina Yang, Grey's Anatomy
Sandra Oh has moved on to some amazing things, even making history along the way. Christina Yang could be brash and selfish, but she also showed women everywhere that being tough doesn't mean you have to give up on having a heart.
Christina always gave love a chance and we saw her get hurt many times over. This never made her lose her resolve. Grey's Anatomy just isn't the same without her grounding influence on the rest of the cast. Maybe Shondaland will have mercy on us and grace us with her presence for a bit before the show ends.
13 Hurt: Stephen Finch, Scandal
Stephen Finch was Olivia's charming associate, and one of her close friends. Given how important he was during Scandal's first season, many were surprised that he didn't come back for Season 2. Plus, he had an uncanny ability to gross Abby out—and it was always hilarious.
A few minutes saving Olivia during Season 4 were nice, but it would've been good to have Stephen around as the show became darker. Stephen would've either served as a moral compass for Olivia as she became an anti-hero, or he would've gone over a cliff for her like a real gladiator.
12 Hurt: William "Dell" Parker, Private Practice
Dell was yet another groundbreaking character in Shondaland. He was a young midwife and he totally loved Naomi. As Private Practice continued, we also learned more about his heartbreaking past and how he overcame it.
Did we also mention he was also a dedicated father to his daughter Betsey? Sadly, Dell remained haunted by past demons, ultimately leading to a whirlwind marriage to his ex. He was great to have around because his life was so different from everyone else. His story was didn't depend so much on Grey's Anatomy, and this gave PP more of its own identity.
11 Hurt: Callie Torres, Grey's Anatomy
Callie Torres was beautiful, fierce, and smart. She performed some impressive surgeries and didn't allow the harsh nature of the OR to get in the way of her happiness.
With a heart of gold, Dr. Torres loved deeply and was a wonderful friend to her fellow attendings. Watching her marriage to Arizona dissolve was sad for many fans who felt they were the perfect couple. (Penny who?) Getting rid of Callie meant the show had less easy-going characters around. Torres' last appearance was via text in season 14, but at least we get some Sara Ramirez on CBS.
10 Needs to go: Maggie Pierce, Grey's Anatomy
When Maggie Pierce arrived, she was proof that Ellis Grey and Richard Webber really did love each other. We felt for her because it was almost as if the show set her up to fail at getting to be a sister.
Fans have raised many good points about why she should go. It seems the show created a character with a lot of promise and never truly capitalized on her achievements. Instead, fans are stuck having to hear about her credentials. Plus, the show mostly focuses on her failed romances. We think she deserves better, and that's why she should go.
9 Needs to go: Dr. Ben Warren, Grey's Anatomy
To Shondaland's credit, it's not that Dr. Warren should totally go away. It's just that he's currently a part of Grey's Anatomy and Station 19.
The show has actually done a good job of using the character to drive many stories. He was one of the Mercy West doctors, got into a successful relationship with Dr. Bailey, and went from surgical intern to successful anesthesiologist. The hospital's explosion inspired him to become a firefighter. Now that he's begun a new chapter, being a part of two shows as the same character seems like a bit much.
8 Needs to go: Jacqueline Roa, HTGAWM
Jacqueline Roa is Isaac Roa's ex-wife on HTGAWM. She comes into Annalise's life with what seemed like good intentions, but we later see that she's not as well-intentioned as we thought.
Maybe Jacqueline was jealous that Annalise and Isaac were becoming close. Sure, dating one's therapist isn't appropriate, but he seemed like he would've been great for Annalise. We could see why neither character wanted to cross the line. Still, the point of Jacqueline seemed to be to get in the way of what could have been. Annalise and Isaac already had enough baggage to keep them apart and didn't need someone to get between them.
7 Needs to go: The new interns, Grey's Anatomy
We understand why Grey's Anatomy needs more interns. Continuity is important and Grey-Sloan is a teaching hospital. All 6 characters were added during season 14, but unfortunately, their stories got lost in the drama of already-existing plotlines.
Plus, the interns came in just when Teddy Altman came back—much to our delight. Fans don't exactly have the bandwidth for so many new stories. One character is already known for being a fling for Jo, but other than that, we don't have a chance to see how they fit in so late in the game.
6 Needs to go: Pruitt Herrera, Station 19
We get it: Captain Pruitt Herrera wants to protect his legacy. However, his character only seems to get in the way of everyone else's development. Sadly, Herrera had to step down after sustaining an injury while he was working. Many can understand his frustration with staying at home while he was supposed to be healing. The station is way more exciting, and he's worried about how they'll go on without him.
At the moment, Pruitt is often seen trying to recover from something. We feel for him, but staying on the show requires a more complex story arc, and right now viewers only spend time feeling sorry for him.
5 Needs to go: Tina Krissman, For The People
Does anyone remember how much we all loved to hate Ellis Grey on Grey's Anatomy and Eli Rowan/Eli Pope on Scandal? One of Shonda Rhimes' greatest accomplishments is that she can create evil characters like this while also making them pivotal to a show.
Tina Krissman seems to be this type of character. She didn't accept someone's form because it was five minutes late. She's had her job for 27 years. Though we've seen a window into why she is the way she is, we need more of this to make sure this love-to-hate character is needed on the show.
4 Needs to go: Carina DeLuca, Grey's Anatomy
Carina DeLuca is beautiful and driven. Seeing her gives us a better view of who Andrew DeLuca is as well, but her storyline got a bit lost thanks to previous plot points. She seems to have awful relationships, but that's probably because it would be difficult to give her a substantial one since we have other characters to pay attention to.
Even though Andrew was a supporting character, giving him a sister doesn't really add much to the show. This doesn't mean everything about the character is bad, it just means that Grey's Anatomy has too much going on to absorb another substantial character and she's doomed to the sidelines.
3 Needs to go: Andrew DeLuca, Grey's Anatomy
Andrew DeLuca is the hot guy with all the bad luck. First, no one likes him after he did what he could to help after a tunnel collapse because he's just a nice guy. Nope. Instead, others spread rumors that he posed as an attending on purpose.
Then, he couldn't get the girl. After he accepted that Jo loves Karev, he was at the wrong place at the wrong time (Jo and Karev's apartment). Andrew got stuck in a meaningless relationship with a character whose name we'll barely remember. Yep, it's time to let him go.
2 Needs to go: Bonnie Winterbottom, HTGAWM
Like Annalise, Bonnie Winterbottom has survived some extremely traumatizing circumstances. In seasons 1 and 2 we began to understand the complex relationship between the two women, but their relationship became very weird very fast.
Bonnie confessed her love to Annalise and even represented her in court. This allowed Annalise to get out of jail and win a well-publicized case during a crossover with Scandal. However, the relationship between Bonnie and Annalise can be so toxic sometimes, it just hurts to watch. Maybe the show could get them to patch things off and give Bonnie a dignified swan song.
1 Needs to go: Owen Hunt, Grey's Anatomy
When we first met Owen, he told a genuine story of PTSD the public needed to see. Fans of Trainspotting also got the chance to see Kevin McKidd play a serious character. Then Owen got together with Christina and we quickly got to see some of the darkness he deals with. It seems that Grey's Anatomy doesn't really play up his virtues.
Instead, the show focuses on how Dr. Hunt fears commitment. He's messed up in major ways in all of his relationships and hasn't shown the growth other male characters display. We just don't want him to break any more hearts!
What do you think about these characters from these Shondaland shows? Let us know in the comments!