- By far the biggest was J.T.'s Death.
- A close second is "My Body is a Cage," seeing all that Adam went through and how difficult it is for a transgender person.
- Another contender is "Time Stands Still" and the aftermath of the shooting. Seeing different people's reactions to the shooting is heartbreaking, and it's set to Melissa McClelland's Rooftop. By the time it shows the vigil for Jimmy and then gets to the final shot of Emma and Toby, it's pretty difficult to remain dry-eyed.
- After Alli loses her virginity, and they show her sitting alone in her ridiculously girly kiddy bedroom, being kissed goodnight by her mom, and making it all too clear that she was not ready for this.
- Jane Says.
- Emma's real father.
- When Sean's about to be shipped off to Afghanistan, he breaks down in front of Snake and admits that he's scared of what could happen to him while in combat.
- Liberty giving up her baby.
- Clare being sexually harassed by Asher.
- Rick being bullied.
- KC leaving at the end of "Rusty Cage".
- Campbell's suicide in the episode "Bittersweet Symphony." Credit must be given to all the cast members for portraying such a wide range of realistic reactions to the suicide, with particular praise for Demetrius Joyette showing Dallas' guilt.
- Sean breaking down in front of his parents because he killed Rick.
- Craig's abuse storyline in "When Doves Cry," and then its conclusion in "Tears Are Not Enough".
- Maya finally breaking down after Campbell's suicide towards the end of "Zombie".
Maya: He broke up with me by killing himself! I HATE HIM! I HATE HIM! I feel like I'm never gonna be happy again! And everyday, it just gets worse and worse— I can't miss him anymore! I can't, I don't want to! [beat] He never even said goodbye...
- Darcy realizing she was raped and the fallout from it, especially in "Live to Tell"
- In "Chasing Pavements," Fiona coming to terms with her feelings for Holly J and knowing that they will never be requited. The shot of her crying in bed while Holly J sleeps next to is incredibly sad.
- KC and Jenna deciding to give up their son for adoption in "Extraordinary Machine".
- The build-up to this moment throughout "Lose Yourself" is pretty heartbreaking too. Jenna verbalizes time and again how much she's struggling to be a good mother for Tyson, and how much the isolation and depression and exhaustion are weighing on her. KC is against the idea of adoption because he is afraid that giving up their son will make him a failure, like his own father was for him, but it's clear he isn't committed to the idea of being a father either.
- Bianca in both "Drop It Like It's Hot" and "Dead and Gone." In the former, we see the incredibly difficult position she's trapped in; sell drugs and basically do whatever Vince tells her, or break their deal and watch him harm Drew. We also see that Vince is physically abusive to her.
- In the latter, the scene where Bianca shows Drew her bruises and begs him to stay out of the situation in order to keep him safe. It's heartbreaking to see the burden she's carrying to protect Drew. Then the scene where she is standing outside the gang's hideout, ready to shoot Vince. She tearfully admits that she would rather go to jail than continue to be Vince's slave, telling Drew that she has no other way out.
- Fiona breaking down in "Take a Bow," with her fears of being alone and lingering feelings for Charlie driving her to relapse and start drinking again.
- Imogen finding her dog... after he's been accidentally run over by her dad's car.
- Drew's reaction to finding out about Adam's death. He says Adam's name and collapses into his mom's arms sobbing.
- Dallas's reaction is just as bad. He gives a kind of traumatized stare and just backs away. Especially sad when you realize that this is the second time a friend of his has died, meaning he is probably remembering Cam's death all over again.
- Becky, Drew, and Clare all have extremely heartbreaking moments in the next episode. Drew is completely torn up about his death, blaming himself for Adam's death and falling apart completely in front of Bianca at one point. Clare's cancer goes into remission, but she feels guilty about going to Adam's memorial because she got to live and he didn't. Becky tries to throw a bonfire in honor of Adam, but believes that all of his friends absolutely hate her and tries so hard to make it perfect. Of course, a large amount of people show up, leading to the most devastating speech that she gives while in tears.
Becky:So many people came. Just not the one I wanted... I'm so lost without you. Bye Adam Torres... I love you.
- "Unbelievable" is basically a two-part, nonstop tearjerker. Nearly every moment Zoe's onscreen during this episode is devastating. Then we have the scenes when Becky finds out that her brother Luke was one of the players who raped Zoe, and then decides the right thing to do is turn him into the authorities at the end despite knowing that it will likely destroy her family.
- This exchange from part 2 of "Bittersweet Symphony" between Jake and Eli, as they discuss Eli discovering Cam's body in the greenhouse:
Jake: Is my garden gonna be haunted now?
Eli: Nah... Just me...
- Doubles as Nightmare Fuel, ESPECIALLY in the episodes that follow...
- Darcy's reaction to finding out she was raped. She breaks down in front of Manny, and cuts her wrists in the school showers in an attempted suicide. Manny finds her, but it takes her a very long time to truly recover.
- Miles' battle with addiction in Next Class season 1. It's heartbreaking watching him choose to self-medicate and self-destruct because of his inability to cope with his father being back in the picture. It's even worse seeing how he tries and fails several times to communicate to his mother just how much having his father around unravels Miles, to the point of taking unprescribed pills and other unknown drugs just to numb himself. His eventual breakdown at the hospital where he admits he needs help is both tragic and beautiful. (All the credit in the world must be given to Eric Osborne for his nuanced and layered acting, with many in agreement that he gives the stand-out performance of the season.)
- The beginning of Hunter's stay in the psychiatric care facility. Obviously he needs help, but he reacts to it like his family is locking him in prison and tries to escape multiple times, and it takes a few episodes for him to trust them again—not to mention be able to trust his own thoughts.
- That freaking ending to #OMFG from Degrassi: Next Class. After the girls win the volleyball match and everything seems to be going well, it turns out half the cast ended up in a bus crash. The image they show of the crashed bus alone can send a viewer into tears, but what really hits the nail is when Shay tries calling Tiny, holding back tears and his voicemail picks up. The mere fact half of the characters we got to know and love or hate are probably dead, most with an arc in the show. Plus knowing this show next season could very well have all the characters on the bus die, half or a couple. Either way this was an incredible cliffhanger.
- The impact of the bus crash is also a major Tear Jerker. Multiple characters are affected: Miles is worried about Tristan, Zoe about Grace, Shay and Lola about Tiny, Frankie about Jonah, and so many major characters are in danger.
- Zoë's closeted self loathing and Self-Harm storyline in the same season. Especially this line, after Grace urges her to come out and not resort to self harm.
Zoë: Why? So some stupid girl can break my heart again?
- Maya's depression and isolation from her friends in season three, culminating in Maya attempting suicide.
- Esme's backstory is surprisingly tragic; when she was ten she found her mom overdosed and couldn't save her, which resulted in her father blaming Esme for her mother's death.
- Esme in general, really. While she is a force of chaos and self-destruction, it's hard not to feel some sympathy for her. She clearly has some lingering trauma from the above mentioned, and definitely seems to suffer from a psychological disorder of some sort. (While it's not said on-screen, many fans believe she shows traits of borderline personality disorder or manic depression, if not a terrible combination of both.) Next Class season 4 really shows how unhinged she's become, especially in the wake of discovering Maya's unconscious body. Her actions this season include manipulating Frankie into a three-way relationship with her and Zig, faking an allergy attack for attention, calling in a bomb threat to prom, accidentally pushing Zig down a hill in a fit of panic and breaking his leg, buying a motorcycle for him to get him back... While none of her actions are truly excusable or sympathetic, it is hard to watch her spiral downward. It all comes to a head in the season finale when she completely breaks down crying in Zig's arms as other characters look on in sorrow.
- The worst part is that despite it being clear that she's all but flat-out screaming for help, nobody wants to do anything but label her a shallow psychopath, which mirrors real life quite tragically, as many people with mental ailments are marked by society as "bad people who need to be put away". It's especially bad when you realize that even a lot of fans choose to see Esme as a terrible character despite knowing of her mental disorder!
- Oddly enough, Maya is not much different from her in such a regard. She went through a depression episode during which she also felt lost and alone. However, Esme had been broken for much longer time (again, the above tragedy happened when she was only 10), and while everyone (thanks to and including Esme) flocked to Maya's side when she went over the edge, nobody cared when Esme did it too (at least, until the season finale proper, and even then it was by 2 staffers and the guy who deserted her), which only made it worse!
- Everyone's reactions to Maya's suicide attempt. Grace and Zig especially, as they brushed her off when she needed help and blame themselves for it. Ultimately it's Esme, of all people, who tries to keep them calm, saying that they can never know what someone is really thinking or what they might do.
- Zoe's reaction on graduation day when her stepfather delivers a box of the documents she needs for college (birth certificate, etc.), which is her mother's way of decisively saying she doesn't want Zoe in her life anymore. She clearly is broken by this, trying to smile and assure Rasha she's fine. However when she tries to give her valedictorian speech, she breaks down in tears and runs off stage when she gets to the part thanking families for their support.
- This exchange between Lola and Saad
Saad: A lot of people are dying in the world. It feels wrong to pick and choose who gets help.Lola: Sounds like a bad buffer line when you put it like that.Saad: My village was bombed. My house. Our farm, my school...gone. My friends...gone. It happens all over the world. I can't wear one shirt and not the other.Lola: I had no idea.Saad: Because it happened in Syria. Not in Paris. Not in Belgium. Not in America
Tearjerker / Degrassi
Since Degrassi is a drama, Tearjerkers are a given.