The Walking Dead Killed Off Emily Kinney's Beth When “Coda” First Aired on This Day

The Walking Dead aired its swan song for Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) when "Coda" premiered on this day in 2014. In the midseason finale of the fifth season, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) attempts a peaceful exchange with badge-wearing police officer Dawn (Christine Woods) when his group of survivors tracks the missing Beth to Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital. It's there that Dawn runs a corrupt system patrolled by members of the city's police department, who subjugate wards Beth and Noah (Tyler James Williams) before taking in Carol (Melissa McBride) as a patient.

When Rick's crew trades a pair of Dawn's hostage officers in exchange for Beth and Carol, she makes the deal but refuses to let Noah leave. Beth unsheathes a pair of scissors and stabs Dawn, who accidentally shoots Beth in the head. A distraught Daryl (Norman Reedus) kills Dawn with a head shot in retaliation before carrying Beth's body out to her grieving older sister Maggie (Lauren Cohan).

Kinney, who joined The Walking Dead during its second season in 2011 as the youngest daughter of farmer Hershel (Scott Wilson), returned once more in the midseason premiere, "What Happened and What's Going On," where Beth appears as a hallucination to a zombie-bitten Tyreese (Chad Coleman).

After Beth's death, Kinney told The Hollywood Reporter she was "sad and shocked" to learn her character would become another casualty in the especially-bloody fifth season. Kinney said at the time she would have wanted to see Beth and Maggie deal with the death of their father, killed back at the prison, and grow her friendship with Daryl.

"There were so many sparks of other things that hadn't been explored. But what's cool about the show is that it is unexpected and doesn't make a lot of sense always," she said. "If you remember Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), he had the story where he was saying he didn't know why he was the one to survive. There's something about that that's true in real life. Sometimes there isn't rhyme or reason [to things]; why does that person die and not that person?"

Kinney continued, "I think there was a lot left artistically for me. But no actor wants to play the same character forever. There was great writing and a lot that was just getting started. I was excited to explore those sparks. It ended in a flash. That's the way life is."

Earlier this year, Kinney said she is "totally open" to revisiting The Walking Dead but that she's "also happy to keep moving."

"I mean, I did get shot in the head (laughs)," Kinney said on Let's Stay Together when asked if she might consider a return. "But I mean, I loved the show, I loved working on it. It makes me so happy to be a part of it, I'm very proud of being a part of that show. So it's not out of [the question] … if there was some way, sure."


Kinney's music could be heard during The Walking Dead season 10, appearing as an Easter egg when characters listen to a record secretly performed by Whisperer Beta (Ryan Hurst).

The Walking Dead returns with new episodes on February 28, 2021, on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.