2. Ruby Shelby
In an episode that overwhelmed audiences with raw emotion, the tear-jerking death of Tommy’s young daughter Ruby is arguably the most purely shocking death in terms of emotional weight.
Tommy returns home frantically after Ruby speaks Romani words alluding to the involvement of the devil; she is soon stricken down by tuberculosis. Tommy believes this is the result of a curse placed by a gypsy woman from his past who blames Tommy for her young daughter’s death.
Tommy leaves his daughter promising to find a cure, leading to a crazed search for the woman which culminates in an absolutely maniacal rant in a graveyard. When he is done ripping up the gravestone of the deceased girl and dementedly ranting about paying her mother any sum of money she desires to lift the curse, the audience is absolutely aghast at Tommy’s unbridled descent into madness.
In a desolating turn of events Tommy returns to the hospital, convinced he now has the solution to the problem if he can find the dead girl’s mother, only to discover his precious daughter has died while he was away.
Natasha O’Keefe’s heartbreaking cries and the futile nature of Tommy’s failure to bid his little girl goodbye, tug on even the most tightly wound heartstrings. In a show where the Shelby name affords one the luxuries of a king, it is a sobering moment where Tommy stares down the unrelenting reality that all the money and reputation in the world cannot cheat death.