31 TV Scenes That Are Absolutely Heartbreaking, But Don't Involve A Character Dying

Over the years, we've asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about some of the most heartbreaking TV moments of all time, and they've delivered time and time again. Now, while a lot of those scenes often include a tragic death, there's something even more emotional when a scene makes you cry and there's no death involved. So, here are some of the saddest TV moments that don't involve a character's tragic end:

Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead, as well as mentions of assault and depression.

1.First on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when Will broke down to Uncle Phil over his dad leaving again.

Will asking Uncle Phil, "How come he don't want me, man?"

"I only just saw this Fresh Prince episode, and it just dropped me."



2.On Fleabag, when the Priest told Fleabag to move on after she said, "I love you."

The Priest saying, "It'll pass" to Fleabag

"Honestly, Season 2 of Fleabag is an absolute masterpiece, and I cannot recommend it enough."


Amazon Prime Video

3.On Euphoria, when Rue started screaming at her mom after she realized her stash of drugs was gone.

Rue crying to her mom and telling her she wants to get clean but she can't do it

"Zendaya's performance was heartbreaking. It literally won her an Emmy. Rue's addiction almost killed her, and she hurt everyone she loved."



4.On The Good Place, when Chidi was about to have his memory wiped and he said goodbye to Eleanor.

Eleanor saying she wishes they had more time together and Chidi saying they'll get through it and be able to be together forever

“The montage with Chidi and Eleanor where we see all the times they fell in love throughout the reboots. That shit HURTS."



5.On Stranger Things, when Max escaped Vecna while "Running Up That Hill" played.

Max escaping from Vecna

"The 'Running Up That Hill' scene. It made me cry every time I saw it."



6.On The Summer I Turned Pretty, when Belly, Jeremiah, and Steven learned that Susannah's cancer returned, and that Conrad had known all summer.

Characters crying that Susannah won't get better

Suggested by: jenniferabidor

Prime Video

7.On Grey's Anatomy, when all of the women at Grey Sloan lined the hall to usher a sexual assault survivor into surgery.

the staff lining the halls as a woman gets ushered in on a stretcher

"In the grand scheme of Grey's this is still a kind of recent episode, but it already makes me bawl every time I think about it."



8.On Parenthood, when Alex broke up with Haddie, and then he had to say this heartbreaking goodbye to Kristina.

Alex telling Kristina he'll miss her and her saying the family loves him

"When Alex realizes that he needs to break it off with Haddie, but in doing so, he will miss Kristina because she treated him like a son, something he never had experienced before. It destroys me every time."



9.And on Parenthood, when Max was upset that all of the kids on his field trip made fun of him and one of them peed in his canteen.

Max telling Kristina and Adam, "Why do all the other kids hate me? Is it because I'm weird. If I'm smart and hilarious, then why do they hate me?"

"That scene is heartbreaking. Just remembering it makes me wanna cry."



10.On Maid, when Regina dropped off Alex and Maddy at the domestic violence shelter.

Alex sobbing while carrying Maddy

"Alex was holding Maddy while bawling her eyes out because she couldn’t take Sean's abuse anymore. It breaks my heart whenever I watch it. Alex deserved so much better."



11.On The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, when Bucky told Sam that he was worried Steve was wrong about him.

Bucky telling Sam, "And if he was wrong about you, then he was wrong about me"

Suggested by: clumsyfoo94

Marvel / Disney+

12.On Black-ish, when Bow and Dre decided to take some time apart.

Dre asking how they got there and Bow saying she doesn't know

"The whole episode of Black-ish where Bow and Dre decided to split up was absolutely heartbreaking."



13.On Never Have I Ever, when Devi told her mom she didn't want to go away to a boarding school for senior year because it meant they wouldn't be together.

Devi saying she needs more time with her mom

"Never Have I Ever is a show that can have me laughing hysterically one minute, then absolutely weeping the next. This moment in Season 3 between Devi and Nalini broke my heart in a million pieces and made me weep. I love this relationship so much."



14.On Boy Meets World, when Mr. Feeny said goodbye to his class one last time.

Mr. Feeny saying, "I love you all. Class dismissed"

Suggested by: kathleenanne13579


15.On One Tree Hill, when Brooke begged Julian to save Jamie before he saved her as their car filled up with water following a car crash.

Brooke telling Julian to save Jamie first

"She makes him get Jamie first and says, 'He's just a boy...' That whole episode is a sobfest, but there's something about that moment that breaks me!"


The CW

16.On This Is Us, when Kevin sat on his high school football field, and relived his childhood and what led to him hitting rock bottom and feeling completely alone.

Kevin Pearson on an empty football field thinking about what happened as a high schooler

"I truly cannot believe Justin Hartley wasn’t nominated for an Emmy for this scene. His performance was raw, heartbreaking, and even nostalgic, all at the same time. During this particular moment, his character was secretly addicted to painkillers and alcohol. He felt so lonely, and he was basically begging for help, but no one could see his pain and trauma because they were too blinded by his celebrity. The acting, writing, and editing are simply incredible in this scene."



17.On One Day at a Time, when Elena told Alex what she really wanted to say at their dad's wedding, and how much it still hurt that their dad didn't accept her right away after she came out.

Elena explaining, "The bigger person shouldn't have to be the kid"

"Pretty much any time Elena is talking about her dad on One Day at a Time, but this one gets me. All of Elena's lines really hit home for me so that made them very emotional, and Isabella Gómez’s delivery of these lines is just perfect."



18.On Wynonna Earp, when Jolene was torturing Waverly by convincing her that nobody loved her.

Jolene saying that her and Waverly are equals because no one loves either of them

"It’s such an accurate depiction of what depression feels like, and when Waverly reminds herself that simply existing with your loved ones is enough, I lose it every time. As someone who has struggled with depression for a long time, it’s easily one of the most important scenes I’ve ever seen on television."



19.On Only Murders in the Building, when we watched Bunny's final day before she was murdered, and it included the sad moment when she just wanted to hang out with Charles, Oliver, and Mabel, but they didn't get the hint.

Bunny talking to the three of them and then them closing the door on her and saying have a good day

"They had this whole episode following Bunny (who was murdered) around. How she was going to retire from running the apartment building and her plans. Bunny could hear the trio laughing and having fun through her vent, so she went over with champagne hoping to join them and they took the champagne, had an awkward conversation, thanked her, and slammed the door in her face. She stood there for a minute and then started crying, and OMG, I felt that pain. Then she walked back to her apartment to watch a show with her bird, and she ended up getting murdered. So not only did she have this awful last day on earth, but if the trio had JUST LET HER IN, she would maybe still be alive."



20.On The Flight Attendant, when Cassie revealed that she had broken her sobriety a few times, and she went to the beach and sobbed.

Cassie crying on the beach

"This scene is some of Kaley Cuoco's finest acting on the show, I think. It's such a rock bottom moment for Cassie, and Kaley performs it in such a heartbreaking way. It's hard not to shed a tear or two."



21.On Angel, when Angel got to spend a day as a human with Buffy, but then they had to reset the day like it never happened.

Buffy asking how she's supposed to go on knowing what they shared and

"The emotions are so strong and real in that minute when they're hugging and saying goodbye that it gets me every time. Also, you can hear that David Boreanaz accidentally calls Sarah Michelle Gellar 'Sarah' instead of Buffy here because they were so caught up in that moment as well."


Warner Bros

22.On Outer Banks, when JJ broke down to Kie and Pope after he said he couldn't take his father's abuse anymore.

JJ crying saying he can't take the abuse anymore and was going to kill his dad but he just wants to do the right thing

Suggested by: laurengarafano


23.On Our Flag Means Death, when Ed waited for Stede to show up on the dock so they could run away together, but Stede never arrived.

Ed waiting on the dock alone

"He waits until the sun rises and you can see the sadness and disappointment growing in his expression the longer he waits before he finally gets in the boat and rows away. I don't know why, but that scene really got me."



24.On Criminal Minds, when Emily listened to a message from Garcia saying everyone was coming to help her.

Emily listening to Garcia's message

"God, this ripped my heart out."



25.On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., when Bobbi and Hunter said goodbye to the team.

Bobbi and Hunter saying goodbye with a last drink

"This episode always makes me tear up. They deserved to get to stay on the team, and it’s just so sad but also sweet that the whole team came to say goodbye to them."


ABC / Marvel

26.On Pachinko, when Sunja's mom begged the rice merchant for some Korean-grown rice so that Sunja could have it before leaving for Japan.

Yangjin talking to the rice merchant

"So much of Pachinko, but for me, especially the scene when Sunja’s mom, Yangjin, begs the rice merchant for some Korean-grown white rice so that her daughter could experience a final taste of her homeland before leaving for Japan, with both of them knowing that her daughter would likely never return home nor see her mother again."


Apple TV+

27.On Superstore, when ICE arrived at Cloud 9 and took Mateo.

the staff watching as Mateo is taken away

"The final scene of all the employees standing outside, watching Mateo be driven away in the van, breaks my heart. I bawled and I don't even consider Mateo my favorite character!"



28.On Kevin Can F**k Himself, when Allison revealed to Patty how much Kevin had taken away from her over the years.

Allison saying that the world revolves around Kevin and he took everything that was just hers away

"This scene shows the audience why Allison has come to the point of killing her husband, Kevin. Annie Murphy was so good in this moment too."



29.On Dickinson, when Sue begged Emily to want her back and the scene took place at the orchard from the very first episode.

Sue telling Emily that she's tired of waiting around for her and she wants her to want her back

Suggested by: kaylaharrington

Apple TV+

30.On Supernatural, when Dean told Sam about his time in hell and how he was forced to torture people.

Dean crying and saying he lost count of the souls he had to torture

"The pain I feel every time I hear Dean tell that story never gets easy, and seeing Jensen Ackles put all that pain into his performance kills me every time."


The CW

31.And finally, on Gilmore Girls, when Emily told Richard he wasn't allowed to die first.

Emily telling Richard that he's not allowed to die before her

"This scene always got to me before, but watching it now after Edward Herrmann's death is utterly devastating. I absolutely lose all composure."


Warner Bros

We can't fit everything into one post, so tell us which other TV moments are so heartbreaking, but don't involve a character dying, in the comments below!

Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.