Fans of any television show will watch week in, week out as the lives of the favorite characters play out. Some scenes make us smile, others make us understandably upset, and others, well others, absolutely destroy and crush our hearts. This is precisely why we decided to look back at TV’s most controversial, heartbreaking events that have left atomic bomb sized holes in our hearts.
I know, we’re starting this list off with a total tearjerker. In the season 10 opener of Bones, the lovable therapist, Dr. Lance Sweets, was tragically killed. His death makes everything so much harder as he was about to have a baby with his longtime love Daisy, but instead he fell victim to Booth’s FBI conspiracy game. Our hearts are seriously broken here.
There were many rumors that the show’s leading lady Connie Britton, who plays Rayna, was set to leave the show, so when season five, episode nine, titled “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” we all knew we were in for a world of hurt. Rayna was involved in a horrific car accident and initially it played out like she would be fine. Then she has another surgery and things weren’t right anymore, and then it’s crystal clear that she’s going to die, surrounding by her loved ones Deacon, Maddie, and Daphne – they all sing a beautiful song as Rayna draws her last breath.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Trust me, there were quite the number of moments from ‘Buffy’ that could have ended up on this list, but this moment was special, not just for Buffy as a slayer, but also as a sister and a friend. Buffy’s final words before she sacrifices her life for her sisters and for all of humankind is so damn raw and heartfelt, that you can’t help but well up with tears as you blubber away like a baby.
How I Met Your Mother
Online counseling for one, please? When Lily shows up and tells Marshall that his dad died. And he says, “I’m not ready for this.” Neither were we, buddy, neither were we!
This entire episode makes my entire heart ache. Cory Monteith, who portrayed Finn Hudson, passed away in real life and the show dedicated an entire episode to him. From start to end, I was bawling.
Scrubs is the type of show you can watch all day long, episode after episode. But when we had to watch tough guy Dr. Cox come to terms with his friend’s death, we just weren’t ready for that.
UGH. Why, Shonda Rhimes? Why?! 12 scenes later and fans have yet to forgive you for killing off the wonderful Denny Duquette. Who mere hours before survived a heart transplant and proposed to the lovely Dr. Izzie Stevens. Watching Izzie clutch at her fiance’s dead body, crying her poor heart out, is enough to make you seriously want to pull your hair out.
Boy Meets World
At the very end, when Mr. Feeny admits his complete adoration for the whole gang and dismisses his class for the last time. Let the water works begin.
One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill certainly knew how to break hearts and break them into a million, no, billion teeny tiny pieces. Although we all felt super bad for Jimmy when he (very stupidly) brought a gun to school and started shooting, everyone was completely broken watching Dan kill his own brother in cold blood.
While Fitz didn’t die, he was shot and all that blood, while hearing Olivia scream, “YOU DO NOT DIE”, while picking up his United States flag pin and seeing flashbacks of all their time together; no one was ready for that. No one.
8 Simple Rules
Usually a sitcom such as this wouldn’t even come close to making this list but the John Ritter died in real life, the entire cast was a complete mess. They all mourned his death on screen and off.
Superman slash Clark Kent comes home and finds his father, Jonathan Kent, dying of a heart attack in the middle of their farm road. Mere seconds later, Jonathan’s wife, Martha, arrives to see her husband dying and as she holds him, drying in her arms, everyone else is bawling right there with them.
Ugh, this moment, everything about this moment. Kristina tells her family she has cancer and they all break down in disbelief and agony.
This moment was seriously heartbreaking. Watching Sara Lance get her life back together, finally, only for her to be shot with arrows and fall to her death. Right in front of her sister no less. Fans everywhere were reeling right along with Laurel as she wept for her sister.
Jesse keeps calling Jane’s phone after her death, just so he can hear her voice. And when her phone finally gets disconnected, your heart is just as broken as his is.
This pulls at the heartstrings of all dog lovers, hell, all animal lovers. Fry’s dog waits for him outside the pizza place every single day (!) for 12 whole years until he dies. I’m a serious mess just writing this!
The Big C
Cathy’s son finds the storage locker that is filled to the brim with his future birthday gifts, all because she’s dying of cancer. All his mother wants to be there for him, and he breaks down in agony.
When the lovable serial killer Dexter finds his wife dead body in the bathroom and their son is sitting in the pool of her blood. Absolutely heart shattering.
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Will’s father leaves him for yet a second time. He turns and asks Uncle Phil, “How come he don’t want me?” Will breaks down in tears and is embraced by Uncle Phil. This heart wrenching scene was not scripted though, Will Smith was abandoned by his father in real life and the emotion from having to do this scene, spilled over on camera.
This scene was the first of its kind back then, no really, it was. Colonel Henry Blake was finally heading home but his plane was shot down and it just wasn’t fair whatsoever.
Band of Brothers
When they find the concentration camp and start handing out food to everyone but Liebgott is ordered to tell everyone to stop eating or else they will only get sick after having not eaten for months. He collapses on the truck floor and cries with excruciating agony.
Brothers and Sisters
Come on. When you’ve got Rob Lowe on the show, how dare you kill him off?!
Orange Is The New Black
Ugh. Watching Poussey’s accidental death at the hands of the guard Bailey was just too heart wrenching on any level. Especially for the show’s storyline.
The Office is a true classic and for those of you who haven’t seen the show, we can’t be friends. Jim and Pam needed to end up together, come on Pam, get your head out of your a**. Ahem, sorry. Anyways, watching Jim confess his love for Pam and she turns him down (GASP!) and then the next scene shows the two of them and they kiss but she still turns him down. Come on!
Seems odd to have Friends end up on this list but when we watched Phoebe say goodbye to the triplets, our hearts broke a little right along with her.
Mike and Susan didn’t have the most “normal” relationship but they were working on it! And just as they were in a good place, Mike gets shot while in the doorway of their house and Susan is very understandably sobbing her poor heart out.
The carousal never stops turning, get used to it. EVERY SINGLE THING THAT HAPPENED IN THIS EPISODE. First of all, Derek was missing and presumed dead. Second, Arizona’s leg was all messed up. Three, Cristina couldn’t find her shoe. Four, LEXIE DIED. Five, Meredith couldn’t stop crying as she sat next to her sister’s dead body. Six, MARK LATER DIED. After he confessed his undying love for Lexie and she did the same and they were finally going to have their happily ever after but good ol’ Shona Rhimes was like, nope, not today.
Pretty Little Liars
When the gang and Emily show up at Maya’s house only to find out that she was murdered. And we have to watch as Maya’s body is being wheeled past Emily, her girlfriend, and she obviously breaks down into a million pieces.
How in the world the producers thought it was a good idea to kill off Abigail Mills is beyond me but they did it anyway. And don’t think that just because she saved the world, fans would forgive you, not a chance.
Oh look, Julie Plec, is basically the new Shonda Rhimes. NOT COOL. The incredible Cami was the kind of character everyone could relate to. She had endured her amount of hardships and finally fessed up her love for Klaus. Then. She was killed off. I can’t even talk about it anymore, it’s just too much.
Sons of Anarchy
When Jax commits suicide on the exact same highway that his father died on. Did we mention that was the series FINALE?!
Flash forward to the series finale and Jen’s a mom! Yay! Wrong. Jen actually dies of an undiagnosed heart condition and leaves behind a breathtakingly emotional, sad, yet powerful video to her daughter before she dies.
And the hits just keep on coming. Coop dies in a ridiculous car accident and you watch as the love of her life, holds her dead body in his arms. Fans all over needed some serious online counseling after this episode.
The Vampire Diaries
~Forever Broken.~ It’s Jo and Alaric’s wedding day! And Jo is pregnant with twins, Damon and Elena are finally going to live happily ever after and…oh, wait. Kai shows up, killing his sister Jo, her unborn twins, and he also puts a hex on Elena so we have to watch as she freaking “dies” too.
As a lifelong fan of Grey’s Anatomy, I am still completely broken over the tragic, heart wrenching, unthinkable death of the one and only, McDreamy. He came back to Meredith and his kids after trying to cure Alzheimer’s while working for the President of the United States. The man’s a rock star. And then he’s killed in a freaking car accident as incompetent doctors from a horrible hospital (that is not Grey-Sloan obviously) make mistake after mistake. And we have to watch Meredith pull the plug on her soul mate! Not cool, Shonda, not freaking cool.
When Haley is killed by the Boston Reaper and she makes Hotch promise to show their son all the love in the world. Everything about this scene makes me want to scream in grief.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer II
When there was something that even the slayer couldn’t slay…cancer. Watching Buffy come home and see her mother dead on the couch is completely heart breaking and then watching how everyone else reacts to the news is enough to make straight for a week.
In the episode, “The Inner Light,” our hearts are forever broken. Picard is zapped and goes unconscious. For the entire two minutes that he is unconscious, he lives a whole alternate life in his mind. He gets a wife, has a family, grows old, and overall, is a happy man. However, when he wakes up, he realizes that it wasn’t real at all but a dream.
The Vampire Diaries II
Considering that The Vampire Diaries just aired its final season ever (we still can’t believe that’s true!), we of course couldn’t leave the one and only Elena Gilbert behind. Season six was when the horrible (we have worse words for him but let’s keep it PG) Kai casts a sleeping spell on Elena, thus linking her life to Bonnie’s. The spell means that as long as Bonnie lives, Elena sleeps. Watching everyone bid their farewells to Elena is truly devastating and will never be forgotten.
Back on Thanksgiving of 1983, Big Bird learns that his dear friend Mr. Hooper was never coming back. This episode was chosen to air on Thanksgiving because the producers a time when kids were most likely to be with a family member, if they needed to talk to one.
Doctor Who, Amy and Rory all travel in time to meet the one and only Vincent Van Gogh, but he is extremely depressed, and he admits that he doesn’t believe he will ever amount to anything. So the trio take Van Gogh to present day, to an exhibit no less. They all walk up to a curator there and ask him, “…where do you think Van Gogh rates in the history of art?” The man’s reply brings Van Gogh to tears.
Barry Allen is the fastest man alive. In fact, he’s so fast that he can travel back in time, so he does. At the end of season one, we watch Barry travel back in time to save his mother, Nora, who was murdered in front of his eyes when he was just a boy. However, his future self warns him that if he is to prevent Nora from dying, it would drastically change the course of history and he would never be who he is. That’s when we watch Barry endure his mother’s death for a second heartbreaking time.
Once Upon A Time
During the course of this enchanted show, we watch as the characters’ stories play out, especially that of the love story of Emma and the villain-turned-hero, Captain Hook. Then in the fifth season, Emma turns into the Dark One, and she also inadvertently turns Hook into a dark one, to save his life. In order for Emma to eliminate the darkness and thus protect her loved ones, she had to run a sword through Hook. Thus killing the person they love for the greater good and breaking all of hearts in one fatal swoop.
Jane The Virgin
When Jane and Michael got married, it was happy days for all fans of the show! But not long after they wed, Michael suddenly dies due to complications sustained from a gunshot wound, of which he initially survived at the end of season two. His death shocked everyone as we were all led to believe that he would come out of surgery alive.
Homeland was the kind of show that had everyone reeling week in and week out. So imagine our surprise when Carrie tells Brody that she’s pregnant with his child (yay!), and then he’s convicted of treason and is sentenced to death. Against his clear wishes, Carrie attends his execution and witnesses as he’s hung in a public square and she’s calling out his name. UGH.
The Good Wife
When Will Gardner, the kind, admirable, gentle friend and senior partner was killed, almost everyone was up in arms with rage and grief. Especially in the circumstances surrounding his death, Will was tragically gunned down in court while he was representing a deranged client. Now the producers had little choice to do so as the actor playing him (Josh Charles) chose to leave the show.
The Walking Dead
When season seven was set to premier, everyone had started to prepare themselves for the death of a major character as it had been announced well in advance, but no one, NO ONE, was prepared for what followed. We watched as not just one, but ~two~ main characters were brutally murdered by Negan. Abraham and Glenn were bludgeoned to death (!) in front of their loved ones. Yeah. No amount of time is going to heal these wounds.
Breaking Bad II
Many fans believed that Walter would eventually die from lung cancer but that’s not how it went down at all. Instead we watched as he successfully took down the bad guys, and got wounded in the dizzying spray of bullets. He then tragically, albeit peacefully died in his lab, after he took a look around nostalgically. Just ugh.
In the first season, Jamie was captured by his nemesis, the British soldier Jack Randall, who repeatedly tortured and abused Jamie in prison. Now this was exceedingly devastating to watch as the scene was depicted as graphically as it had been portrayed in the novel.
Game of Thrones
Quite literally every single thing that happened during the “Red Wedding” episode, just everything. Especially when Robb says “Mother” and looks toward Catelyn and you think, “Come on! NO!”
This Is Us
If you haven’t been watching the NBC hit This Is Us then consider your heart in good hands however, you don’t know what torment you’re missing. So if you’re not all caught up, that is to say, then be prepared for a major spoiler. In the episode “Memphis”, father and son go on a road trip to Tennessee city, this is where William grew up. But this trip marks the last few days of William’s life and we have to watch him dying in the hospital, looking upon his son’s face as he takes his last breath. Then we have to watch a devastated and heart broken Randall drive back home from alone and grieving. UGH.
How can we ever boil down all the times that Supernatural played with our hearts as if we just an instrument?! Welp, here’s a moment we’ll never forget. That time sweet Sam was stabbed…right in front of Dean’s eyes. Yup. That moment.
If you really want to discuss marriage counseling, getting marooned on an island will offer plenty of time to do so. That’s exactly how Sun and Jin’s relationship flourished while trapped on a hellish island. All throughout the show, fans could always rely on Sun and Jin’s love. So when we watched their agreement to drown together unfold, we were all severely devastated.
How about some #JusticeForBarb? Seriously. Diehard fans of the Netflix series wept endless tears for Nancy’s underappreciated BFF as she was brutally slain in the Upside Down.
Game of Thrones III
A show so brutal that it makes our list a whopping three times. In the season five finale, “Mother’s Mercy”, Jon gets summoned to hear the sad news of his missing uncle Benjen, but instead, he’s stabbed to death by Thorne and his group of mutineers. Say what now? We’re still not over it.
Friday Night Lights
“The Son” episode shows us Matt Saracen dealing with the death of his father, whom he always disliked and felt abandoned by, was a work of art. Hearing Matt say, “I just want to tell him to his face that I hate him, but he doesn’t even have a face,” is breathtaking.
The West Wing
No one understood our favorite fake President quite like the witty Dolores Landingham. The day she passed away on the show was insanely depressing, the irony wasn’t lost on any of us. You see, Dolores had just purchased her very own car and was understandably proud of herself. Later that night, she died in a car accident.
Lexa taught us a lot about life, especially how it’s much more than just surviving. But watching her die right after she consummated her relationship with Clarke was not cool, people.
At the start of the show, Charlie was a totally self-involved former rockstar and recovering addict. His journey on the island however transformed him into a healthier, well-adjusted, and kinder person. And at the end, we watched as he sacrificed himself so that others could survive.
The Normal Heart
No doubt about it, watching as Felix’s body wasted away from AIDS is truly heartbreaking, especially as it is the final scene in the hospital where Ned and Felix declare their undying love for each another before Felix passes away.
This Is Us II
Pretty sure we already mentioned how heartbreaking a show This Is Us truly is and we weren’t wrong. We may not know how the incredible Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) died as of yet, but we do know that his death is a profound on all of his children. That funeral scene made us bawl like babies.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Yup, watching the adorable J.T. Yorke get stabbed by a student from a rival high school was devastating. On top of that, watching as the entire Degrassi crew came together to mourn is equally as devastating.
American Horror Story
I think it’s safe to say that Violet’s death wasn’t the most upsetting part of the episode, it was that she didn’t even realize she had died from swallowing so many pills. That was until Tate took her to see her own corpse.
Beverly Hills, 90210
Yup, Beverly Hills, 90210 makes the list because Scott was David’s only friend, and also because the show really knew how to cause the tears to spill. Especially with this episode aimed to educate suicidal teens.
How To Get Away With Murder
Everyone had a feeling that someone would die in How To Get Away With Murder after the season three premiere but it wasn’t until the mid-season finale that the death was unveiled. But no one was ready to watch the loyal and kind Wes die in a house fire, especially because he never had a chance to find out his girlfriend was pregnant.
The Lance sisters have honestly been on a massive roller coaster ride throughout all the seasons of Arrow but Laurel Lance was the one character everyone adored. We watched as she loved and lost Oliver, she loved and lost Tommy, suffered an alcohol addiction which she overcame, she loved and lost her sister TWICE, she became a lawyer (and a damn good one), and she turned into the Black Canary. Laurel was haunted by real, emotional events and she only emerged stronger in the end. Watching her character die in the show was insanely devastating, like the kind of sadness that swoops you up in the depths of your soul and acts like it’ll never leave. (Yeah, her death hit everyone pretty hard).
Annnnnd, we’re to moment two of Supernatural, although I’m sure we could have about at least 20. Remember the time John told Dean that he was so incredibly proud of him? Yeah, that was touching. Then he died promptly after. Not so touching. ~Forever broken.~
Spooks is the brilliant British drama series that has literally broken my heart oh, a good, 100 times. Each scene, each episode, just every moment is so realistic that it breaks your heart every time. Basically, don’t get attached to anyone. However looking back at the show and all the deaths that happened, Adam’s was just too hard to digest. He already lost his wife, who was also a spy, so his death meant that their son was to be raised by Gram and Gramps, and that’s just too much to bare.
Yikes, this was a moment that had all of us holding our breath. Basically, Betty is taking some clothes out of the dryer and happens to find a key to Don’s desk in one of his pockets. As she is unable to resist temptation, she uses the key and finds a box. Inside the box are his dog tags from Korea and also a deed for a house written to someone she doesn’t know: Dick Whitman. She confronts him, asking, “Is that you — Dick?” Her next words cut like a knife, “I can’t trust you. I don’t know who you are.”
If you haven’t seen the British crime drama Broadchurch then you need to stop reading right now because we’re about to reveal the most shocking and heartbreaking moment of season 1. In the case of who strangled 11-year old Danny Latimer, everyone in the small town is a suspect. And in the season finale, it’s finally revealed whodoneit, Joe. Joe is the husband of Detective Ellie, the show’s leading lady. Her reaction of learning what her husband did shocks everyone to their core and no one is ever the same after.
This scene tore everyone’s hearts out and left no room for healing whatsoever. Watching Allison getting speared to death was bad enough but then seeing her get cradled by her one true love is devastating beyond measure.
Game of Thrones II
The hit show Game of Thrones knows the art of controversy, but there was one scene that left fans screaming for a boycott. Sansa Stark, who is played by Sophie Turner, was sexually assaulted on her wedding night by her…new husband Ramsay Bolton. Who also forced Sansa’s childhood friend, Theon Greyjoy, to watch from the corner. I’m pretty sure almost everyone need online counseling after watching this scene.