Some years ago, I watched an episode of a series that featured a minor character who had a considerable influence on the storyline. His last line of dialogue was something along the lines of "I'll be fine." Another character, as she and her group walked away, told them "He's lying."
The implication, I always thought, was that the minor character had died, but there was enough room within the presentation that the character could be rewritten into the story if the situation called for it. I also thought (and still do) that the story would be better if the character stayed dead, but dark hair, long legs, and magic-of-science brain-healing gel packs have been done before.
I've seen a spate of character deaths among several TV series lately, and I wonder, if those series ever decide to resurrect their dead, what method will they end up using? It isn't the first time fictional characters and their narratives have been used to serve another purpose (Showgirls! Punches! Buy bonds!), or that on-screen goodbyes substitute for off-screen you-wish.
Maybe this isn't a case of ticking off boxes on a list of compiled character developments and plot points, but just because it might not be the case in one instance doesn't mean the capacity for it is erased. If this is what's touted as pushing creative boundaries, it sounds too much like another old clone.