Storybrooke's sheriff is no more, it seems.

Sheriff Graham, played by Irish hottie Jamie Dornan on the ABC show Once Upon a Time, had his heart squeezed to death - literally -- by the Evil Queen slash Madame Mayor Regina Mills.

Producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis told in an interview that the character death made the stakes more real.

It's life and death, one said. You need to feel like the world of Fairytale Land and the world of Storybrooke both have their own dangers and these dangers are real.

In Sunday night's episode, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, the sheriff of Storybrooke is revealed to be the huntsman chosen by the Evil Queen to kill Snow White. In the fairy tale storyline, the princess tries to make a run for it but gives up. When the sheriff finds her, she's scribbling a letter to the Queen, telling her she forgives her, hoping her own death will keep the kingdom safe from her wrath, etc. You know, basically writing a screw you kind of note but with a touch of kindness that is sure to tick off she of the Gothic wardrobe and extra eyeliner.

And it does.

It also impresses the huntsman, who lets her go and pays for it. The Queen informs him that he'll be her pet, hers to do with as she pleases. And with that, she sticks her hand into his chest, pulls out his (glowing) heart, and puts it away for safekeeping. She then orders her guards to take the strapping, leather-clad guy to her bedchamber, which explains why they've been canoodling in the present-day storyline.

In Storybrooke, the sheriff ends up remembering everything, thanks to some weird dreams, the appearance of a wolf, and a kiss with Snow White's daughter that makes him realize he feels nothing for the mayor -- and a whole lot for Emma. Little Henry informs him that this connection is due to the fact that he saved Emma's mother. He also explains the whole tearing-out-his-heart thing the Queen did, hence the reason the sheriff can't feel much in terms of emotion.

She ripped it out, Henry tells him of the Queen. It's kind of her thing.

Still somewhat confused by the revelation, the sheriff stumbles off to a cemetery. It turns out that a tomb -- which purportedly holds the coffin of the mayor's late father - is actually a secret cavern where the Queen holds her heart collection. A run-in with the mayor stalls any progress, and she later returns to the tomb, takes the sheriff's stored heart out of its box, and squeezes it to dust, killing him while he's having a moment with Emma.

All in all, it was depressing to see the sheriff go. He was appealing on many levels, even though his role for the most part was relegated to that of a helpless pretty boy. Sheriff Graham did, after all, give Henry some credit. He's the only one making any sense, he told Emma. As for Dornan, he was quite irresistible in his form-fitting sheriff's costume. He will be missed, unless his character somehow comes back.

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