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Downer Ending / Live-Action TV

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  • The first season of 24 when Jack rushes to his wife only to find her dead. While certainly depressing, it arguably set the tone for all subsequent seasons of the show.
    • If a season ends with any apparent brightness in it it's going to be bittersweet at best. This goes Up to Eleven in the final season: pretty much any character in it who's still alive gets completely screwed over in some fashion by the series finale.
    • Day 9 is unquestionably the biggest Downer Ending of the entire series: Audrey is dead, Heller soon won't even remember his daughter or how she died, a distraught Mark is going to prison, a guilt-ridden Kate resigns from the CIA, and Jack turns himself in to the Russians in exchange for Chloe, who has nothing or nobody to go home to, with a likely case of survivor's guilt added to it.]] Everybody in the cast except Erik Ritter gets absolutely steamrolled by the finale.
  • 2 Broke Girls has many episodes of this nature. Every time the 2 titular characters make a decent profit, some sort of incident happens that causes them to lose most of it.

  • Accused: "Willy's Story", "Frankie's Story" and "Stephen's Story" end with the title characters getting sentences that seem longer than deserved (or for Stephen, he shouldn't really have been convicted at all, given that he's insane).
  • Ace Lightning had a fair few downer ending episodes. One where Sparx was killed by a couple of crazy puppets ''shooting her with her own sword'' (which came completely out of the blue in what had previously been a fairly light hearted episode), another in which the protagonist's ex-girlfriend all but ended up hating him through no fault of his own (actually there are a few of those), and then of course there's the final episode where at least one major bad guy gets away, Lady Illusion is shot dead and the other bad guy is shown to be well and truly alive in the Sixth Dimension -and holding the Master Programmer hostage. We never found out what happened due to the cancellation.
  • ALF gets caught by the military in the final episode. This was NBC's fault as much as anyone else's.
  • Alphas ends with Gary making his way through the bodies lining Grand Central Station calling for Dr Rosen, who, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, has presumably also been killed. It would have been a great end-of-season cliffhanger, if there'd been another season.
  • Documentary version: the premise of the America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions spinoff The Missing Rings is telling the story of five NFL teams who didn't win the Super Bowl.
  • Andromeda seasons tended to end like this. Especially the first one.
  • Angel ended season 2 with the Angel Investigations team returning to Earth after the Pylea arc... only to find that Buffy had died while they were gone.
    • Season 5 ended the series with the title character's last chance of redemption forsaken, one main character dead, another leaving to pursue a Life Of Normalcy, and the four surviving members injured, grieving, and about to face the private army of some seriously pissed demons. To be fair, the series had repeatedly stressed the theme that fighting evil is a battle that can never be won, but it's important to fight it anyway. By the conclusion, Angel and friends have struck a fairly severe blow that has set their foes back for decades at the least, even though it could cost them their lives.
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark? had a few downer endings, for example "The Tale of the Pinball Wizard", where Ross has apparently won the game, only to find that he's trapped in a pinball machine replica of the mall, doomed to play the game forever.
    • Also "Tale of the Chameleons," which ends with the hero drowning in a well trapped in the form of a chameleon, and the villain about to do the same to the hero's family and friend.
  • Nearly every episode of Arrested Development has a Downer Ending for its characters, although usually the endings are funny for viewers. Season four is particularly bad; by the end:
    • Both Maeby and Tobias are registered sex offenders, made all the worse by virtue of the fact that Maeby inadvertently sets her own father up. Maybe has yet to graduate from high school, and Tobias has also given up hope on his newest love because she has a drug problem.
    • Buster has been kicked out of the Army and has lost both his mother and Lucille Two (the latter to his father Oscar), and now has nowhere to go. He also sees himself as a monster and may or may not have killed Lucille Two.
    • GOB has finally made a friend in his longtime rival Tony Wonder, but has very likely screwed that up now that the two have actually slept together. Oddly, they were both intending to sleep with each other anyway to ruin the others' careers, but then feelings got in the way.
    • Lucille and George Bluth, Sr are getting for-real divorced. To make matters either worse or stranger — possibly both — Oscar and George, Sr have somehow managed to switch personalities.
    • Lindsay is still struggling with her identity, going from a sideline liberal to a campaigning Republican within the span of a few episodes. Her rival, Sally Sitwell, is planning on releasing photos of Lindsay with her enemy-turned-lover-turned-boss-turned-man she is now running in place of, which will ruin Lindsay's reputation. Oh, and this campaign Lindsay is now running to "put up that wall" will bankrupt her family.
    • George Michael has finally learned how to lie, but has now gotten himself so far deep in his lies that admitting the truth now will get him in just as much trouble as the lie inevitably will — and as per usual, none of his relatives are of any help with advice. He is also being threatened by the hacker collective Anonymous over his supposed privacy software, but doesn't know it.
    • Michael is supposed to be getting his family's signatures so that Ron Howard can do a movie about his life story, but Michael has cut everyone in his family out of the movie. It also turns out that both he and George Michael have been dating the same woman: Rebel Alley, Ron Howard's illegitimate daughter. In the final scene of the season, George Michael is confronted with this news and punches his father in the face. Roll credits.
      • Even side characters don't make out well: Ann Veal finally gets revenge on both Tony Wonder and GOB by tricking them into having sex with each other, but she's still a Fundamentalist Christian unwed mother. Steve Holt has been abandoned by his father and looks so different than he did in his high school days that even Maeby doesn't recognize him. It's also his birthday, and no one has remembered.
      • Even Annyong is seen only once, being arrested for failing to pay a huge tab the other Bluths had run up at an exclusive club.
    • In all, the development of the characters is just as arrested now as it was at end of the last season — which was meant to be the original last season.
  • In Auction Kings, Anytime an item sells for far less than its estimated value. Even worse if there's a reserve, as Paul doesn't get any money, the seller is stuck with the item, and the buyer doesn't get anything either.

  • Babylon 5 loves this trope.
    • Season 1 ends with an assassination, and a major character on the station being shot in the back.
    • Season 2 ends with the failure of the station in its mission, and the start of a major war.
    • Season 3 ends with the main character destroying the enemy's capital city while he was still in it. He gets better, and used his apparent resurrection as a rally in the Younger Races' victory against their enemies.
    • Season 4 ended with an upbeat victory. The main character was going to get a mock execution were it not for Executive Meddling.
    • The characters themselves were often treated to variations on how life will suck, even off-screen.
      • Lennier, whose unrequited love leaves him to hose himself.
      • Lennier imitated Marcus Cole, who made a Heroic Sacrifice at Season 4's end.
      • Delenn knows her husband's fate far too early for most spouses. She sees everyone she ever loved (her mother, her father, Dukhat, Sheridan, Lennier) taken from her. She outlives the rest of her friends (Ivanova, Garibaldi) and is left with only her son (her connection with whom seems to be somewhat... dubious given his conspicuous absence when Sheridan died) and possibly Vir. The last time we ever see her is when she emerges from seclusion to mount a feeble defense of her husband's personal honor eighty years after he died. After eight decades, Sheridan is still the only thing she cares enough about to make her presence known. Not what they accomplished together, not the role they played, not even what he accomplished. Just him.
      • Londo and G'Kar will die at each other's hands as the Centauri civilization falls apart, but it's a good thing.
      • Talia: Destroyed by sleeper personality.
      • Lyta: Killed in a bombing (per Expanded Universe stuff).
      • Ivanova: A clone of her was brought back to life in the far future by Marcus, after he was revived and healed of the cause of his near-death, and is trapped alone with him on a planet with no other inhabitants.
  • Bar Rescue: Any episode where, after the rescue, the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue reveals that the bar is still not successful, or has fallen back into its old ways.
    • Then there was O'Face, whose owners had so many issues that Jon Taffer (the man that rescues the bars) refused to rescue the bar at all.
    • Second Base, a bar that had already been rescued once and asked for a re-rescue. Taffer ended up refusing after the owner who was causing the problems refused to put any of his own money toward the second attempt.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) commands full mastery of this trope.
    • Mid-season finale for Season Four is one of the most downer endings coming after the most uplifting: the fleet, allied with the rebel Cylons, finally find Earth and there is much celebration. That is until they land on Earth and find everything is a nuclear wasteland. All the characters stare out at the ruins of a city and the episode ends.
    • AND in the final season Ron Moore, in Nazi-writer Deathcamp Execution style, breaks and then kills just about every Cutie and Woobie on the ship (Duala, Gaeta, and Boomer in season 4 alone) so as to severely strain your mileage when rewatching the series. Honestly, who can see those characters in the miniseries and not weep for how it will end?
    • Finally, the series ended with an apparently hopeful note, but let us consider: the people gave up their culture and technology, as well as their chance to warn the future generations of their errors in favor of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Think of what all that entails: dying of trivial diseases and injuries, struggling to stay alive in a manner unknown to most of the population, and generally leading at least as shitty existence as they did back on Galactica, apart from the bit about being hunted by Cylons, although natural predators and at least some of the native humans will probably take care of that aspect in their lives. Oh, and cute little Hera is destined to die at young age after popping out enough babies to sire modern humanity, which means she probably started in her early teens. Kind of a dark version of Babies Ever After...
      • And that's not considering the (heavily implied) possibility that they've just created a Stable Time Loop, and that humanity is just going to end up right back in the same place they were at the start of the series.
    • Let's look at it psychologically: all remaining characters, without exception, decide their entire culture, history and technology are not worthy of preservation for the coming generations and they all just give up to become cavemen. The entire human race is so overcome with self-hatred they willingly choose to forget everything. Future generations learned nothing from the whole ordeal too, because no one wanted to remember it. When you think of it, maybe things would have ended up less bleak if Gaeta had won?
  • Being Human is a drama with plenty of comedy and light-hearted moments about three housemates who happen to be a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost just trying to live their lives as normally as they can. Except that at the end of season two the vampire, Mitchell, snaps and kills an entire train carriage full of innocent people. Nevertheless, the season still manages to end on a relatively hopeful note, with him back to his normal self trying to find a way to atone and the other storylines also wrapping up in satisfying ways for a season end. Enter season three, in which Mitchell spends the entire season being slowly forced to admit to himself that he's a danger to society as long as he lives. The season ends with him convincing his best friend in the world to stake him since that's the only way he can prevent another slaughter in the future. Thus answering the central question of "can these people live amongst humanity?" with a resounding "NO".
  • Birds of a Feather: The episode "Women's Troubles" ends with Sharon crying as she tells Tracey she had an abortion just as Dave calls his mum to tell her she's going to be a nan.
  • Black Adder ended every season with the death of at least one, and usually several, major characters, before "reviving" them in a new era for the next series. These are usually Played for Laughs. The final season, Blackadder Goes Forth, ends with most of the major characters being sent out into battle and presumably to their deaths, with the last shot fading slowly into a field of poppies. This one was decidedly not Played for Laughs.
    • Not quite every season. The final special episode in modern times ends with Blackadder fixing all the time-continuum screwups, and maneuvering himself into becoming king.
      • And technically Blackadder the Third only ended badly for George. Blackadder successfully switches positions with George and presumably poses as the Prince Regent (later George IV) for the rest of his life.
  • The Black Donnellys, which was canceled after one season, after having most of its episodes aired out of order on only on the internet, ends on a massive, disturbing Cliffhanger: the boys' mother is shot by Dokey and it is unclear if she survives. Dokey may or may not be dead, Nicky may or may not be dead, and Jenny beat her stalker-rapist Samson seemingly to death. And the way Joey Ice Cream has talked about the brothers throughout the entire series is not encouraging about their fates anyway. Thanks, NBC.
  • The British sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror has (almost) every episode end on a downer note (with a few notable exceptions however — San Junipero and USS Callister both ended on a happy note, and Be Right Back and arguably Nosedive had more of a Bittersweet Ending). To clarify:
    • Black Mirror: The National Anthem: the Prime Minister is forced to have sex with a pig as ransom for a kidnapped princess. A year later, it's clear that the events of the episode have, if anything, helped him politically ... but as a person, he is still completely and utterly ruined (as is his marriage). And to top it off? Turns out the princess was physically fine all along and had been freed half an hour before he actually did the act, meaning he did it for nothing.
    • Black Mirror: Fifteen Million Merits: the protagonist's love interest is forced into the porn industry, and the protagonist himself, despite his rallying against the system, is absorbed and assimilated by it and is clearly miserable in his new role as a TV star.
    • Black Mirror: The Entire History of You: a marriage is destroyed thanks to the protagonist's jealous paranoia being fueled by a memory-recording device.
    • Black Mirror: White Bear: the protagonist, guilty of abetting a child murderer, is stuck in an Amnesia Loop wherein she is tortured for the entertainment of the masses — all the while having no memory of the crime she's being punished for.
    • Black Mirror: The Waldo Moment: Everybody loses in some way, except for Waldo and his creators. Labour candidate Gwen loses the election and is politically ruined, the winning Conservative candidate Monroe receives major backlash (and a boot to the face) and Jamie loses basically everything and ends up a homeless alcoholic. To top it off the Waldo movement spreads worldwide and replaces every political system, turning Britain and the rest of the world into a barking-mad, badly-run totalitarian nightmare where the darkest aspects of human nature are implemented into law.
    • Black Mirror: White Christmas: both protagonists end up on the receiving end of Disproportionate Retribution, each stuck in his own version of Ironic Hell.
    • Black Mirror: Be Right Back, which might qualify as a Bittersweet Ending but is still emotionally devastating. Martha realises that the robot clone of her dead lover Ash is no replacement for the real thing, she can't bring herself to commit suicide or kill the clone so she locks him in the attic and only lets her daughter see him on special occasions. She's no closer to coping with Ash's abrupt death, but at least she still has her daughter and has a healthy relationship with her.
    • Black Mirror: Playtest: The events of the entire episode are revealed in the end to be merely a Dying Dream that occurred in a split second, as the protagonist actually died abruptly from his mother calling his phone and the radio interference causing a major system crash on the device he was testing, frying his brain. The malfunctioning game puts the Nice Guy protagonist through immense psychological torture, none of which he even remotely deserved, and he dies alone, being tormented with his deepest personal fears and screaming out pitifully for his mom. What's worse, the Hideo Kojima-esque developer of the system doesn't seem to give a crap about the harm his little experiment caused, and the protagonist's mother will have to live with inadvertently killing her own son (assuming that her son's fate will even be disclosed to her).
    • Black Mirror: Men Against Fire: A soldier learns that the enemies he's been fighting (which looked like mutant zombies to him) were actually regular humans being destroyed as part of a eugenics scheme; he and his fellow soldiers had been fitted with implants that made regular people look like monsters, so they could kill without compunction. Not only that but he'd consented to it prior to signing up. After having his memories wiped he's discharged from the military and goes back alone to his cold, empty home.
    • Black Mirror: Hated in the Nation: In a future Britain, two police investigators are wrapped up in a plot involving an obscure social media hashtag directed at society's assholes and robotic bees which burrow into people's brains to kill them painfully. Eventually the bees are hijacked by a criminal mastermind and unleashed on everyone who ever used the hashtag, resulting in a holocaust that claims the lives of almost 400,000 people. The only silver lining is that one of the detectives, thought to have been Driven to Suicide, is actually alive and hot on his heels.
    • Black Mirror: ArkAngel: An overbearing mother installs a chip inside her daughter that allows her to track her location at all times, activate a Perception Filter, and see what she sees. This coddled upbringing has a detrimental effect on Sarah's development into a young woman and causes a great deal of resentment that culminates with Marie slipping an EC pill into the girl's morning milkshake, without the girl even knowing she was pregnant. Enraged, Sarah violently beats Marie with the Arkangel tablet and then runs away from home, never to be seen again.
    • Black Mirror: Bandersnatch: There are Multiple Endings in this interactive movie, most of which are downers. They usually involve the protagonist Stefan Butler either dying in some sort of freak accident, or murdering somebody and going to prison for it. The least bad (or most bittersweet) endings simply conclude with Stefan's career as a video game programmer going off on a rocky start, after the game he created is released as a critical and commercial failure.
  • Blake's 7 ended its third and fourth (final) seasons with Cliffhanger Downer Endings. Series 3 ended with the Liberator destroyed, the crew abandoned on a desolate planet and Blake revealed to be an illusion. Series 4 ended the series on a downer with Scorpio wrecked in a crash; Avon killing Blake (the real one this time); Vila, Tarrant, Dayna and Soolin all killed; and Avon, the last man standing, surrounded by heavily armed Federation troopers. Gunshots played over the start of the credits. (This was intended by writer Chris Boucher to be a Cliff Hanger; those actors who wanted to come back for a fifth series would turn out to be Not Quite Dead. However, the BBC decided not to commission another series.)
  • The third season finale of Bones, in which, even though Booth wasn't dead, it was revealed that Zach, one of the main characters, was Gormogon's (a cannibal serial killer) apprentice, having been duped by a much stronger personality and forced to kill. In the end, he realizes how wrong he was, tells them how to find Gormogon, pleads guilty, and is sent away to a mental correctional facility. And this from Bones, where the usual endings are light and fluffy.
    • In a subsequent episode Zach reveals to Sweets, the team's psychologist, that he didn't really kill anyone and merely aided and abetted Gormogon, but telling the truth would land him in actual jail, where he'd be toast.
    • And what about the sixth season episode "The Hole in the Heart"? Nigel Murray ends up dying, and even worse, it's not even planned — Booth (the real mark) hands him his cell phone and Nigel Murray dies because the sniper was using Booth's cell phone to identify his target.
    • And then there's the Season 7 finale which ends with Brennan being framed for murder and forced to flee with her and Booth's newborn baby.
  • On Boy Meets World the episode "We'll Have a Good Time Then..." ends with the death of Shawn's father in the hospital.
  • The second season of Breaking Bad ends with Jane dead, Jesse in total despair, Skylar leaving Walt due to his secrecy, Walt continuing to cook despite his cancer now being in remission and his actions causing a chain reaction that causes a horrific plane crash over Albuquerque.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "I Was Made to Love You" from season 5. While the episode seems to be ending on a rather happy note, it concludes with Buffy finding her mother's dead body on the couch.
    • Most episodes of season six ended on downers. Even when the main problem of the episode was resolved, the gradual decline of each character's life continued — Buffy's suffering, her mutually abusive relationship with Spike, Xander/Anya's and Willow/Tara's relationships slowly breaking down, Giles deciding to leave, Dawn's loneliness, and Willow's magic/drug problem. The ultimate downer ending has to be "Seeing Red", when Tara is killed after reconciling with Willow.
    • In the Season 7 episode "Help", in her role as a guidance counselor at Sunnydale High, Buffy encounters a student who predicts her own death. Buffy investigates and discovers that Cassie is to be sacrificed to a demon. Buffy defeats the Big Bad by the end of the episode. In the final scene, just when Buffy feels she's stopped Cassie's prediction, the girl drops dead in her presence...from a congenital heart defect.
    • Le Bureau des Légendes: After enduring a Trauma Conga Line, Malotru is finally back in France and reunited with his daughter and with his lover, Nadia. After celebrating his birthday with both, Nadia is shot to death upon her return to Paris by an agent hired by the late Karlov.

  • Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future ended with the death of a main character (and the abrupt end to an ongoing Ship Tease), along with the destruction of the heroes' base of operations. On Christmas Day, to boot.
  • Carnivàle:
    • The first season finale ended with Ben murdering Lodz; Sofie, Apollonia and Jonesy all possibly dying in a fire; Balthus failing to kill Justin; Samson sleeping in the truck; and Justin himself losing his last traces of goodwill and developing a larger following over the radio.
    • "Babylon" ends with Dora Mae being found dead and Ben lost in the mines beneath the town.
    • "Pick a Number" ends with Samson killing Stangler and weeping after seeing Dora Mae's spector, then getting drunk while telling Jonesy to head south.
  • Oh, god, the Season Three finale of Charmed. To retcon a world where everyone finds out the sisters are witches (which resulted in Piper's death and Prue in a Mexican Standoff with authorities), Phoebe and Cole must make a Deal with the Devil that supposedly ends with them all dying anyway: Phoebe must stay a prisoner of The Source of All Evil, who says he's going to kill her anyway, and Prue and Piper are left for dead at the hands of the monster they faced in the the beginning. The fourth season premiere turned it into a Bittersweet Beginning by revealing that only Prue died.
  • Civvies was a drama series about a group of British ex-soldiers trying to adjust back to civilian life and avoid the attractions of easy money through helping organised crime. In the end, The Bad Guy Wins (specifically the gangster boss they tried to resist working for), when he manages to frame the ex-soldiers and get them sent to prison instead of him and his thugs.
  • Pretty much every episode of Cold Case. Even though it's usually a foregone conclusion, the flashback scenes play out the victim's life in front of the camera, only for the episode to end with a scene depicting their death.
  • The Canadian show The Collector was about a man trying to save those who've sold their soul to the devil before they're damned to hell. To keep from getting too boring and predictable, an episode would end with the hero not getting to save his client in time just as often as he did manage it.
  • Parodied in Community.
    "Britta, why did everyone in Cougarton Abbey die?"
    • Then played straight in the 3rd episode of the 5th season in which Pierce dies off-screen.
    Shirley: Pierce is dead.
  • The fourth season finale of Corner Gas had Brent selling Corner Gas, Davis being transferred to Woolverton and, saddest of all, Lacey moving back to Toronto. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
  • CSI episodes do this unusually often, considering the show's genre. They usually get the bad guy, but there's a fair number of episodes where things just go bad.
    • "Alter Boys": One brother is arrested as a suspect in a double murder, and the team finds out his brother is the actual killer and he was just burying the bodies as he's easily manipulated. They convince him to tell them about what happened with his brother to avoid prison (as he's convinced he simply couldn't survive prison life), then find themselves completely unable to provide concrete evidence against the brother; the bloodstain they find has flour caked into it to prevent DNA sampling, he's scratched the interior of his gun barrel so the markings won't match, and got his brother to handle the murder weapon so his fingerprints would be all over it. In the end, the actual killer walks free, the DA is pushing for the death penalty on the brother that's still in jail, and he commits suicide in his cell by ripping open his wrists with his teeth. Cue to anvil-dropping symbolism with Grissom looking at his hands covered in the man's blood.
    • The Season Three episode "Random Act of Violence" has Warrick insisting on leading an investigation into a drive-by shooting murder of the young daughter of the head of a community center who helped him as a kid. Unfortunately, Warrick takes it too personally and eventually fingers the wrong suspect because of his bias, but the man is eventually proven innocent of the murder. Unfortunately, Warrick's angry certainty of that suspect leads to the community center leader finding the cleared suspect, beating him up, and thus getting arrested for assault. The team is able to find the real killer, but the damage is already done; the community center is now closed, depriving other needy kids of help, with Warrick now painfully aware that his lack of professionalism led to this.
    • "A Thousand Days on Earth". It turns out there was never any murder; the victim, a little girl, accidentally hit her head while playing hide-and-seek with her foster siblings. Her foster father, a genuinely repentant ex-con, tried to get her to the hospital, but when she died on the way there, he covered up her death since he was afraid nobody would believe him and he'd go back to prison. Sadly, before this is found out, he takes a diner full of people hostage in a panic and his innocent wife is accidentally shot dead by a SWAT marksman. As if that weren't bad enough, Catherine vindictively outs the completely innocent first suspect to his fianc&eacute as a registered sex offender (which he only became by accident— he obliviously walked out naked in front of a school bus full of kids while he was high), which makes her kick him out of his own home, get a restraining order, and tell all their friends and his boss, resulting in him getting fired from his job and becoming a social pariah. In the episode's final scene, he confronts Catherine in the parking garage, screaming at her for not caring about ruining his life as she insists she was only doing her job, then threatens to shoot him when he doesn't back off. He just tells Catherine in a chillingly calm tone not to bother because he's already contemplating suicide and that if he does decide to kill himself, he's going to come over to her house when she least expects it and shoot himself in her front yard.
    • The Season Eight finale. Warrick is cleared of charges and on the path of redemption, and everyone is happy... then Warrick is shot dead by the Undersheriff, the man who set him up in the first place.
    • "Say Uncle". Grissom looks into a double homicide involving a Korean man and woman who apparently killed each other. It's revealed the woman has an eight-year-old son, Park, who watched her shoot the man, who turns out to his uncle who was recently released from prison. He and Park's deceased father were gangsters, and it also comes to light that Park and his mother, who was a junkie, are both HIV positive; she put him in a medically unsound (and painful) clinical trial, with Park's doctor giving him a gastric bypass tube without his consent. When Park's uncle found out about this, he tried to take Park away from his mother, who hunted them down and shot the uncle. Then Park grabbed his uncle's gun and shot his own mother to death. As Brass puts it, Park didn't have any control over his own life until he picked up that gun, and the episode closes with a terminally ill eight-year-old boy going off to juvenile detention. All Grissom can do is express regret over the whole affair, and it's easy to see why he's do deeply affected after the events surrounding Warrick's death.
    • In one episode, the team is perplexed by the body of a young girl with the DNA of multiple people in her blood. As it turned out, this was because her father was a major drug lord who was known to be highly protective of her. When some of her father's employees, fearing his wrath, refuse to supply her with cocaine, she steals some of the nearby product and snorts it, not knowing that it was uncut, so the employees try to replace her blood to keep her (and themselves) alive. The episode ends with a montage of every civilian interviewed in that case (roughly 10-15 people, including her aunt, the drug lord's sister), each with a bullet hole in the center of their forehead.
    • The recurring plotline of the West siblings (a teenage/young adult brother, Marlon, and his child prodigy sister, Hannah) where Hannah (is at least heavily implied to have) killed multiple people, kills the cheerleader in their debut episode and others, and Marlon goes to prison for her crimes. At the end of their plotline, Marlon hangs himself in prison, and Hannah breaks down when she finds out, regretting everything she did.
      • In the first episode with the cheerleader, Hannah manipulates the evidence to make it seem like she committed the crime because she was still a minor and would spend less time in prison than Marlon (who, it was revealed at the end, was the one who really killed the cheerleader). In the second episode, however, she did kill Marlon's girlfriend out of jealousy, and he was suspected of it, resulting in his suicide. It gets worse in that, earlier in the episode, it was revealed that their parents had died and Marlon was the only person in the world who still cared about her.
      • The second of those episodes was also the one that finalized Sara's burnout and ended with her leaving the show (for a while); Hannah got the better of Sara at almost every turn.
    • A girl is gang raped, and Sara tries to get her to identify one of the attackers in a lineup, but she freezes up and can't do it, meaning he goes free knowing that she went to the police. The end of the episode is Grissom being called to attend to her dead body, shot to death in the street.
  • The short-lived ABC Dramedy Cupid relied on surprise Downer Endings during its short run as well.
  • The Criminal Minds 8th season episode "Zugzwang" involves Reid's girlfriend Maeve being kidnapped by Diane, a stalker who's obsessed with him. Throughout the episode, Diane tries to figure out how to get Reid to see her as his intellectual equal and love her. At the end of the episode, the BAU team bursts in to apprehend Diane, but Diane, after figuring out that Reid would always love Maeve, kills both herself and Maeve with a single bullet to the head before anyone can react. The credits roll a few seconds later, long enough to show Reid weeping over Maeve's body.

  • In the series finale for Dallas, J.R., with his oil empire in shambles and his family having left him, is Driven to Suicide by Satan. Whether he actually kills himself or not is left ambiguous, but strongly implied. This was eventually resolved in a television movie five years later, but still.
  • The ending of Dead Set, in which all of the main characters, as well as most of British civilisation, are either dead or undead.
  • The first season of Defiance ends on a particularly low note, with at least one main character dead (and possibly three others), and The Empire moving into town.
  • Degrassi: Plenty of episodes have these.
    • Season 1: "Eye of the Beholder," "Basketball Diaries," "Secrets and Lies," "Under Pressure," "Jagged Little Pill"
    • Season 2: "When Doves Cry (Part 1)," "Karma Chameleon," "Shout (Part 1)," "Take My Breath Away," "Dressed in Black," "Tears are Not Enough (Part 1)"
    • Season 3: "Gangsta Gangsta," "Don't Dream It's Over"
    • Season 4: "Ghost in the Machine (Part 1)," "Islands in the Stream," "Time Stands Still (Part 2)," "Eye of the Tiger," "Moonlight Desires"
    • Season 5: "Turned Out (Part 2)," "Our Lips Are Sealed (Part 2)"
    • Season 6: "Here Comes Your Man (Part 2)," "Rock This Town"
    • Season 12: "Waterfalls (Part 1)", "Rusty Cage (Part 1)", "Rusty Cage (Part 2)", "Never Ever (Part 1)"
  • Despite its premise, Dexter usually ends on a more or less upbeat note.
    • Season 1 ends with Dexter killing the Ice Truck Killer although it can be seen as a Downer Ending because The Ice Truck killer is actually Dexter's brother and the only person who understands him.
    • Season 2 ended with Lila dead and Dexter back together with Rita although it's also got a bit of a Downer ending because Lila killed Sergeant Doakes and he never gets the chance to acquit himself of the accusations that he is the Bay Harbor Butcher.
    • Season 3 ends on the happiest note of the entire show with Miguel Prado killed, Miguel's brother on the road to recovering from the grief of losing his two brothers, the Skinner killed, and with Dexter happily married.
    • Season 4, however, has a complete Downer when after Trinity is killed, Dexter comes home to find his wife dead with her blood drained in the bathtub when they were about to go on a retreat. This becomes even sadder when you realize that Dexter could have killed Trinity several times throughout the season but chose not to. Dexter also hints that his son Harrison may grow up to be like him.
    • On that note, the whole series. Dexter fails to kill The Brain Surgeon when he had the chance, resulting in Debra getting shot, ending up in a vegetable state after a life-threatening stroke, only to be mercy-killed by Dexter, who pulls the plug. Dexter then goes out to sea and dumps her in the water with all his other victims. He then fakes his death by driving his boat into a hurricane, escapes to Canada and as a means of punishing himself, works for the lumber trade and lives in an empty shack, a sad and devastated shell. In addition, Hannah walks free, adopts Harrison, and both her and Dexter have gotten away with their crimes.
  • The Sitcom Dinosaurs ended with an environmental responsibility message both depressing and Anvilicious. The final episode begins with the failure of a beetle swarm to show up and check the spread of a form of creeper vine because their breeding ground was destroyed to make a wax-fruit factory. The efforts of the Wesayso Corporation to fix things result in killing off most of the plant life on Earth and starting an ice age. The show ends with a sad instrumental piece playing over a shot of the Sinclairs' house being slowly buried in a snowdrift.
  • Doctor Who:
    • While they may not be strictly downer, most episodes have a definitely bittersweet touch (to say the least) because the Doctor's life itself is inherently bittersweet. He may get a TARDIS and a sonic screwdriver, be wholly fantastic and incredibly brilliant but he's immortal, the Last of His Kind (sometimes) and incredibly lonely. At least one good character is killed per episode and if they've helped out the Doctor or a companion, it's even more likely.
    • "The Aztecs" ends with the TARDIS crew leaving Aztec society knowing it will soon be destroyed, the High Priest of Sacrifice ends up in control, and the best that they did was cause the man who was opposing the High Priest of Human Sacrifice to leave society for life as a hermit.
    • "The Daleks' Master Plan": In the end, Everybody Dies except the Doctor and Steven. The last few minutes are dedicated to mourning the three companions who only appeared in this story and met their end while helping their friends.
      The Doctor: The waste... the terrible waste...
    • "The Massacre" ends with the Doctor and Steven leaving the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre while possibly all their friends are murdered, leading to Steven giving a What the Hell, Hero? speech to the Doctor and nearly leaving the Doctor. It is implied at the end that Anne Chaplet could have survived, but thousands were still killed.
    • "The War Games": Having failed to escape in the TARDIS at the end of the story, the Doctor is sentenced to death by the Time Lords (as in forcing him to use a regeneration), who then wipe the memories of his two companions and send them back to their own times with no inkling of the wonderful adventures they had or how much they had learned. In Jamie McCrimmon's case, he was a Jacobite rebel being returned to Scotland after the Battle of Culloden.
    • "Doctor Who and the Silurians" ends on a poignant note. The "Silurians" of the title are a reptilian species that dominated the Earth at the time of the dinosaurs, and are portrayed with a degree of sympathy. The Brigadier blows up the Silurian base, killing them all, and the Doctor, seeing the explosion, realises what's happened.
    • "Inferno": An entire alternate world, filled with people the Doctor knows in the original world and has spent the last 4 or 5 episodes trying desperately to save, winds up being infested with proto-human zombies. Further, the Doctor's last-second escape leaves him with the sight of those few redeemable people left in the world about to be killed by lava. Oh, didn't we mention that the entire world was also coated in insane levels of lava along with those zombies? About the only good thing to come from this adventure is that the Doctor is at least able to prevent it from happening to our own world. But he's still left essentially scarred from the experience in the other world. Hell, "The Mind of Evil" shows that the memory of this is his worst fear.
      The Doctor: Not long ago I saw a world consumed by fire...
    • "The Green Death": Jo and her new boyfriend off getting married, the UNIT gang celebrating and the Doctor sadly walking off to his car and riding off into the twilight. That's one of the most powerful endings of the series, hands down.
    • "Earthshock": The death of Adric at the end is, to some, a downer ending. To make matters worse he died thinking he failed to save the past, not knowing that the ship he was on was the "asteroid" that wiped out the dinosaurs, leading to humanity's rise.
    • "Warriors of the Deep" has massive character slaughter on the magnitude of a Shakespearean tragedy and, famously, ends with the line "There should have been another way."
    • "Resurrection of the Daleks" ends with very few people left alive. Long time companion Tegan abruptly leaves the Doctor because she's sick of all the death and violence in their travels. Unfortunately, she also gives the impression that the Doctor is way too accustomed to it all. That might explain why, on parting, despite how close they'd become, she couldn't offer the Doctor or Turlough anything more than a cold handshake.
    • "The Caves of Androzani" is one of the biggest downers in the history of the show, "Inferno" notwithstanding. Almost every single person who appears in the serial dies for small, petty reasons, and the Doctor is forced to crawl across a burning landscape in order to save a companion he's only known for five minutes. He regenerates, but only just. This is made even worse if one realises that the Fifth Doctor has managed to lose every other companion up until then due to his own ineffectualness.
      • Peter Davison, who played the Doctor in this story, is fond of joking just how much of a downer ending "The Caves of Androzani" has: after you've been poisoned, yelled at by megalomaniacs, chased by drug smugglers/gunrunners, dodged cave monsters, crash-landed spaceships, and tried to escape the planet quaking beneath your feet... you turn into Colin Baker!
    • The poor Eighth Doctor's life is all Break the Cutie, so in "The Night of the Doctor" he's willing to die for good upon realizing that his efforts to stay out of the Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks, and help rather than hurt others, aren't working because his kind is now so hated. He's convinced to regenerate for the sake of the universe... but having lost all faith in his ability to do good as a doctor, it's into a warrior (the War Doctor) who blazes a path of destruction on the front lines and ultimately destroys his own planet and billions of innocent Gallifreyans along with the combatants, which ends the war but haunts later Doctors for centuries to come. The closest thing to happiness in this is that Eight will help his other selves prevent this destruction in "The Day of the Doctor", but he'll never have a memory of it.
    • "The Angels Take Manhattan" ends with Amy and Rory being sent back in time by a Weeping Angel. Unfortunately, due to a massive paradox that they just caused, the Doctor can never cross their path again. He receives a letter from an 87-year-old Amy letting him know that she and Rory (who passed away a few years before) lived a good life. A short epilogue also reveals that Rory also sent a letter to his father, who will probably end up blaming himself for their fate, since he is the one who convinced the couple to keep traveling with the Doctor. Cue the Christmas Special, where it's revealed that the loss of Amy and Rory has hit the Doctor much harder than the others, and he has actually given up traveling through time and space, settling in Victorian London.
  • There are a few instances of this in Drake & Josh, but two in particular stand out, both in the show's final season:
    • "The Wedding". While the boys are stuck in the middle of the road, after they are able to make it into Trevor's El Camino, they manage to be able to start it up, and it looks like they are going to make it. But before they can start moving, the engine starts burning. The boys get out of the truck and watch the fire expand to the back, where the wedding cake is. Speechless, they walk away, and the episode ends with a shot of the truck and cake burning.
    • "Tree House". In the final scene, the boys attempt to bring the tree house down by throwing themselves against the wall of it. They do so after three tries, but the episode ends showing it still on the floor. During the end credits, they say nothing but words that express bad feelings.
    • It's pretty safe to say that Dan Schneider is the king of the comedy Downer Ending.

  • EastEnders: The Secret Mitchell storyline. In 2008, we discovered that Ronnie Mitchell had given up her baby daughter for adoption as a 14-year-old. She'd spent a lifetime regretting it, and always wore a locket carrying a picture of the child. She'd given away an identical locket carrying her own photo as a keepsake to her daughter. We then learnt from Ronnie's cruel and manipulative father, Archie, that Ronnie's daughter had died as a young child. A few weeks later, a young woman called Danielle moved onto Albert Square. Danielle became friends with Stacey Slater, and Ronnie, not being Stacey's biggest fan, quickly took a dislike to Danielle too. It was then that the viewers learned that Danielle had a locket identical to Ronnie's. She was the daughter that Ronnie had given up. Later, the two began to bond, though Danielle was still scared of Ronnie's reaction if she found out the truth. Every time Danielle felt close to Ronnie, her mother would become emotionally distant. Ironically, this was because Ronnie was constantly tormented by her grief over her supposedly-dead daughter. When Danielle fell pregnant, Ronnie convinced her to have an abortion, telling her that she regretted having her own baby all those years ago. Unfortunately, Archie realised who Danielle was before she could tell Ronnie. Unwilling to let his lie be exposed, he convinced his granddaughter that Ronnie knew who Danielle was, and didn't want to know her. The plan backfired when Danielle confronted Ronnie. Archie convinced his daughter that Danielle was crazy and lying, causing Ronnie to throw Danielle out on the street, telling her "who would want a daughter like you?". A few minutes later, Ronnie found the locket that she'd given away with her baby and realised that Danielle was telling the truth. Running after her, Ronnie calls out to her long-lost daughter. Danielle turns and sees Ronnie, who pleads "Baby!" Danielle laughs with joy — for both of them, this is the moment they've been dreaming about their whole lives. She runs across the road for an emotional reunion with her mother. And gets hit by a car. Moments later she's died in her mother's arms. Nine months that storyline went on for before that ending.
  • Emergency Vets: The "Saving Missy" special. Despite their best efforts, the vets failed to save her.
  • Everybody Hates Chris: Almost every episode ends this way.

  • Farscape loved Downer Endings. Season finales were always huge downers, and in fact, before the miniseries, the entire show ended with the baddies defeated, Aeryn telling John she's pregnant with his child, and then the televised equivalent of a Diabolus ex Nihilo swoops down and kills them both. Also notable was the episode "...Different Destinations," which subverted Set Right What Once Went Wrong by having a whole monastery of nurse-nuns being slaughtered as a result of the main characters' actions. Ouch.
  • FlashForward (2009). Not only was it cancelled, the entire cast's struggles were rendered moot when the blackout they spent 22 episodes trying to prevent happened anyway.
    • Though not entirely — since the world knew about the blackout this time, it certainly resulted in fewer deaths and injuries than the first one.
  • Flashpoint has a few, usually when they end up having to take lethal action against a sympathetic subject. But there are two that stand out:
    • "One Wrong Move" ends with the death not of a subject, but a beloved SRU team member. It's so shocking that the episode ends there, forgoing the customary end tag scene.
    • "Broken Peace" fits the model of most Flashpoint downer endings, but the age of the subject and the circumstances of her actions make this one particularly wrenching. It's no wonder this is the one that breaks Ed.
  • Forever Knight ended its third and final season by killing off almost its entire cast in the last two episodes. Not only did the vampiric hero not achieve his wish of becoming human, but he ended up killing his girlfriend, and he finally begged for his master to stake him.
    • It becomes worse if you believe (as [[Fanon
some viewers do]]) that Nick did become human at the finale (in the episode's final scene, he is crying ordinary tears, whereas the show's mythology states that vampires can only cry Tears of Blood). Meaning he finally achieved his dream, only to die senselessly immediately thereafter.
  • For the People: "World's Greatest Judge". Despite trying everything he can do to protect a man being sent to prison for ten years for drug possession (a mere 57 grams), by the end Judge Byrne has no choice but to enforce the Mandatory Minimum. He makes no attempt to hide for his contempt at the law and how little it actually solves.
  • Frasier: "Ask Me No Questions". Niles asks Frasier, in the midst of his reconciliation with Maris, if Frasier thinks they are meant to be together. Frasier realizes the huge impact this could have because Niles has always come to him for advice on big decisions and values his opinion highly, and while he believes that Maris has always been bossy, demanding and selfish, he also hears that she has become much nicer since the proceedings have begun and is a better person. After agonizing over what to do, he shows up at Niles's apartment late at night to give his answer: no. Niles thanks Frasier for his advice and tries to say goodbye, when the Twist Ending kicks in—Maris is at the apartment, Niles has taken her back, and judging from the bell rings and the whistle as she calls for him, she has not changed one bit.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    • A Very Special Episode ended with Will, in hospital after a mugging, sobbing to himself after talking Carlton out of shooting the perpetrators in revenge.
    • Another episode ended with a crying Will being comforted by Uncle Phil after Will's worthless father once again let his son down.
    • And let's not forget the one where Hilary's boyfriend, bungee jumping on television, is killed when it turns out the bungee cord was too long. Not only is Hilary watching it happen, but he was proposing to her at the same time.
    • There is also the episode where Will breaks down and apologizes to the family for the drugs he had in his locker that Carlton inadvertently took and almost cost him his life.
    • What may be the first in the series is the episode that ends with Carlton insisting that the police that pulled he and Will over were just doing their jobs, while Will seems to realize that it was because they were two black men driving a fancy car. Carlton asks Phil about it, which Phil says that he asked himself that same question the first time he got pulled over, leaving Carlton's "Police are all good" mentality violently shaken.
    • The series finale. Will's cousins all move out and leave for their new lives in the East Coast, Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian decide to sell the house and move out east too— heck, even Geoffrey goes back to England. Pretty much the whole cast gets on a bus and leaves Will behind.
      • That last one is arguably a Bittersweet Ending, as Will chose to stay in Bel-Air (Carlton even asked him to come with them), and the family promises to contact each other every week. Also the entire cast has something to look forward to: Geoffrey had a first class trip back to London to reconnect with his son, Ashley is going to an elite performing arts school, Hilary is moving to New York to continue her talk show, Carlton finally goes to Princeton, Phil & Vivian move to be closer to their children, and Will is about to start his final year of college.
  • ''Friday Night Dinner' ' have this trope as well.
    • In "The Date", throughout the whole episode, Jackie has trying set up Adam with Tayna Green. At the end, Adam beings to wonder if Tayna likes him and then discovers her and Jonny making love in the back garden.
    • In "Buggy", When Jonny finds out that Adam destroyed his teddy panda "Pandy", he tries to get revenge on him by destroying his teddy bunny "Buggy". After putting Adam through humiliation, he does give Buggy back. But when he finds out that Adam has made his bedsheets pink, he again tries to destroy Buggy, which does happen.
    • In "The New Car", Johnny gets a new company car from his workplace (a estate agent. When the house gets robbed by two men, one of them steals Johnny's car.
  • In Friday Night Lights, downer endings are a constant occurrence. At least one character an episode will have a depressing moment.

  • Game On ended this way. It focuses on Mandy and Archie's wedding. However, Archie is killed before he has a chance to go through with it. The series ends with a distraught Mandy realizing that she will probably never move out of the flat and that she's stuck with the other two for life.
    Martin and Matthew: "You'll always have us, Mand!"
  • The Glamorous Imperial Concubine: Lian Cheng and Qi You are definitely dead by the series' end. In the final episode Fu Ya stabs her brother as revenge for him poisoning Qi You. Then she either imagines she's reunited with Qi You or she kills herself and they really are reunited.
  • Goodbye My Princess: Xiao Feng dies. Years later Cheng Yin is still unable to move on, so he goes looking for her and imagines he'll find her where they first met.
  • In the Growing Pains episode ''Second Chance," Carol's boyfriend Sandy (played by a young Matthew Perry) winds up in the hospital after getting in a car accident due to him drinking and driving. As Carol visits him, he says that he's all right and she believes that he'll be out of the hospital in no time. The episode ends with Carol coming home and Mike telling her that the hospital just called and said that Sandy had died due to internal bleeding.

  • The short-lived live action Hell Girl series had a really depressing Gecko Ending. Like Tsugumi in the anime, Hajime is offered a straw doll by Ai, then forgives his target and chooses not to use the doll. But then the target pulls the string! Even though Hajime refused the contract, he still gets Ai's mark on his chest, letting him know he'll go to hell when he dies — for a contract he never accepted!
  • Hex: Since they'd already killed off the original main character, the last few episodes consisted of the main characters repeatedly screwing up, betraying each other, and narrowly failing to save the day. The finale involved one of the few surviving original cast members being used as a human sacrifice to bring about the end of the world while the heroes flee in terror and the Big Bad enjoys an orgy. Not that Hex was ever subtle, of course.
  • In the j-drama High&Low, season 1 greatly sufferes from this. Noboru's turned around, finally back with his Childhood Friends again. He's willing to go down the straight and narrow. But right during his Friendship Speech he's hit by a car, and the episode ends with no clue as to his condition. Thankfully it's followed up in season two.
  • Hightown: Due to its cancellation, the series ends on one. Paul is apparently dead, having sacrificed himself to destroy the FBI officers where the server holding Next was housed, though the ending hints he may have secretly escaped. Abby has learned that she does, in fact, have familial fatal insomnia, with her best hope being a study in Sri Lanka. Shea is in prison for conspiring to do it with him, and likely facing decades in prison at best. Next survived anyway, so it was All for Nothing. A lot of this might have been subverted if the series got a second season, but as it stands things are rather bleak.
  • Simon Schama's A History of Britain episode 9 "Revolutions" ended with a simple and stark description of the aftermath of the Battle of the Boyne.
    "No prizes for guessing who won. Nobody."
  • Hollyoaks had one of these with the ending of the major "Enjoy the Ride" storyline. Neil, Maddie and Rhys have all died in the bus crash; Maddie chose to leave Neil to die, and Rhys died because the fire service could not arrive fast enough to free him, so both their deaths were needless. Jacqui finds that Rhys had packed all his belongings, and seems to have guessed that he was planning to leave her. Both marriages are over before they've begun, and Ste is fighting for life in hospital, meaning his children may well be left without a dad (especially tragic because he jumped in front of the bus to save Leah.) There's a brief Hope Spot as Ruby and Jono look at the stars together and vow to rebuild their lives and have a proper wedding one day, but then Jono dies in Ruby's arms from undetected internal injuries.
  • On Hotel Hell, the Vienna episode ends with Gordon Ramsay revealing in voiceover that after he left, the owners reverted straight back to the old decor and the old menu. As such, the hotel continues to have a crummy reputation around town.
  • In House, Dr. House usually makes a last minute diagnosis that saves the patient's life. Not so in "Wilson's Heart," where the patient was Amber, Wilson's girlfriend and former member of House's intern team. House figured out what was wrong with her, but there was nothing that could save her. Wilson woke her up for one final goodbye, and then she died. And if that wasn't enough, 13 finally gets the nerve to get a test done on herself, and it turns out she does have Huntington's disease, which gives her around twelve or so years to live, by her own estimation.
    • It might have only involved House being miserable but the ending of Season One was just as heartbreaking. Stacy (his ex) has just told him that she loves him but she can't be with him, Cuddy has offered her a job in the hospital so he has to be around her even more and while Stacy and her husband hug and celebrate his partial recovery, House summons up his courage to try and walk with his bad leg but fails and collapses in agony. Who knew that an ending shot of House chewing on a pill could be so depressing?
    • Also the season 2 episode "Forever", where a mother's cancer causes her to smother and kill her own baby. If there were ever a justification for suicide, that would be it.
    • Then there's the Season Five finale, where it turns out that House has been losing his mind more than he thought, actually admits that he needs serious help and Wilson ends up admitting the sad, terrified man into a mental institution. Wow.
    • In the Season Eight finale House has faked his death, can never practice medicine again and has just a few months left with his best friend Wilson before Wilson dies. At least they had some nice harleys.
  • How I Met Your Mother'':
    • Also qualifying as a Wham Episode, is "Bad News". The episode revolves around Marshall and Lily visiting a fertility doctor (Barney's doppleganger), to figure out why they can't conceive (although it still features plenty of humor, including a Running Gag of Barney trying to get his friends to go with him to a lazer tag championship). After Lily checks out, Marshall thinks he's the problem, and explains what's going on to his visiting parents, who say they're fine if he doesn't give them a grandchild right away. At the end, Marshall is told his sperm count is fine and goes to celebrate... only for Lily to pull up in a taxi and tell him his dad died of a heart attack on the way home. Word of God is that Jason Segel wasn't told ahead of time what Alyson Hannigan would say when she exited the cab to make his reaction all the more real.
    • "Tick, Tick, Tick..." is one of these. Barney realizes he wants to be with Robin and breaks up with his girlfriend Nora because he'd cheated on her with Robin and it meant something to him. He waits at the bar for her at midnight, because they agreed to meet up and talk about their relationship. Only Robin comes in with her boyfriend Kevin because she didn't tell him that she cheated and just shakes her head sadly at Barney. Barney holds back tears, walks out of the bar, and you kind of wish that would be the end of the episode right there because we later see him in Robin's room clearing rose petals off her bed and blowing out candles. He was so sure they were getting back together.
    • The end of "Symphony of Illumination" has Robin tell her children that not only are they imaginary, but she can't ever have kids of her own. Made worse by Future Ted confirming that Robin never does become a mother.
      • However, despite the utterly devastating tragedy of the penultimate scene, the final scene is more of a Bittersweet Ending, with Ted staying with Robin despite not even knowing what she was upset about, and swearing that nothing can ever stop him from trying to cheer her up, and Future!Ted reflecting that in spite of everything, in spite of the horrible unfairness and in spite of the fact that Robin never became a mother and no miraculous happy ending ever happened to bring about those wonderful kids she imagined, her friends were always there for her and she was never alone.
    • The finale. Barney and Robin divorce after only three years, leaving Barney a broken, miserable single father who will never truly love or live life again. Meanwhile, the Mother dies offscreen, Ted is revealed to have been obsessed with Robin all this time, and the two are forced into restarting their relationship despite one of the main themes of the series having been that Ted and Robin simply wouldn't work together.
      • Technically, the finale was not meant to be a Downer Ending. Viewers were supposed to be touched by Ted showing up to Robin's apartment with the blue French horn (a call back to the pilot) and believe that Barney had changed for good with the birth of his daughter. It qualifies here because it was poorly executed and fans have correctly pointed out just how depressing it truly is.

  • Oddly enough, for a tween comedy like iCarly, it had a downer ending in "iGo Nuclear". Carly, distraught over getting a poor grade for a solar-powered electric scooter, takes desperate measures to avoid going on a camping trip for extra credit. And by desperate measures, that means using nuclear chemicals. From an escaped criminal. Just when things were going great for the girl, beans were spilled and the criminal was arrested. Cue a tent on a miserable, rainy night. The teacher's pan flute playing barely made it better. WTF, Dan Schneider? WTF?
    • What's worse, she had no idea Cal was an escaped criminal, or that she was using nuclear. Cal lied to her, so it's technically his fault.
    • And there's another episode that can't give poor Carly a break: "iBeat the Heat". Long story short, Carly made an important diorama for school, about a hundred people take shelter in the Shay's apartment because their air conditioner is working, and the worst part is, Freddie's date accidentally breaks Carly's diorama, complete with the over-the-top Slow "NO!" from Carly. Does Dan not know that Carly is the freaking protagonist?!
    • You think that's bad? iPity the Nevel blows that out of the water. After Nevel has made amends with the little girl and gets lots of positive comments for it, he's at the Groovie Smoothie, and is bumped into by a somewhat older looking black guy in a wheelchair, causing him to drop a lucky penny. He then tirades at the man...but then a girl shows that she's filming him. So apparently, Nevel can never have a Happy Ending. What the fuck, Dan?
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:


  • Kamen Rider 555: A lot of the main characters end up dead, including one of the main protagonists. Takumi survives, but his life expectancy has been greatly damaged due to his repeated Orphnoch transformations. Furthermore, the Orphenoch King survived, is being cared for by Saeko, and could resurface at any time.
  • Kamen Rider Blade: Kazuma, the title character, sacrifices his humanity in order to save Hajime, and separates himself from his friend in order to not fight him. 300 years later, both of them are still alive, and because of seeing so much war and death, he's become a Death Seeker
  • The Killing: Season 3 has nothing resembling a happy ending for anyone, with Ray Seward executed for a crime he didn't commit, Bullet brutally murdered, Callie's body never being found and her mother never getting closure, Lyric falling back into prostitution, and finally, Linden discovering her ex-partner and lover Skinner is the serial killer she's been chasing, leading to her shooting him dead in cold blood in front of Holder, right as the episode ends.
  • The King of Queens:
    • "Inner Tube". After a cold-ridden Doug works up the guts to go to where Carrie's having her meeting and apologize to her, when he does, she throws water onto his face and venomously says "You make me sick!" (which is in sharp contrast to his Honeymooners fantasy where she gladly accepts his apology). On top of that, at the episode's end, they show him in a parody of the football movie Brian's Song with a voiceover that says "But when they think of him, it's not how he died that they remember — but how he lied. How he did lie!".
    • While not as bad, the episode "Fight Schlub" didn't exactly end on a high note either. Even in Doug's fantasy, the IPS workers don't win the bar fight with the Priority Plus workers; as a matter of fact, some of the IPS guys don't even try to fight back (although to be fair, it was Doug's imagination). So in the end, the IPS guys don't get their restaurant back, Doug doesn't get his dignity back and he's left with a fear of bubble wrap (but it doesn't last long). To be fair again, it was sort of a dim episode, with Carrie's subplot serving to lighten the mood a bit.
    • And then there's the two-parter "Pregnant Pause". Carrie unexpectedly gets pregnant, so she and Doug frantically try to make plans for the baby, including Doug getting a second job as a limo driver, which quickly exhausts him. In the end, she miscarries. If there were a sadder way to end a season, that would be it.
  • The King's Woman: Gongsun Li, Han Shen and Jing Ke are all dead by the end. Ying Zheng is left completely alone and has no one to blame but himself.
  • Kitchen Nightmares: Quite often, Gordon's interventions are not enough to turn around the fortunes of the restaurants, usually because the financial burden was already too much before Ramsay arrived and/or the owners didn't have the business acumen to keep it going after he left. It should be noted that restaurants are inherently risky, and only about half of them manage to stay open for any length of time; around 40% of the restaurants Gordon visits are still open within a few months of his visit.
    • According to locals, this was the fate of Finn McCool's, a restaurant in Westhampton Beach, New York, run by a likeable retired police officer and his family. Despite positive reviews after Gordon's visit, the landlord decided to double the rent, forcing them to sell and move on.
    • Campania in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Initially, the Italian restaurant run Joseph Cerniglia did well, but then Cerniglia's wife Melissa found out he was having an affair with the pastry chef, filed for divorce and took custody of the children. Joseph sold the restaurant in September 2010, and eight days after the sale, he jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death. The episode still does not re-air in the US out of respect for Joseph and his family.
    • Barefoot Bob's seemed like a restaurant that would survive— Gordon fixed the tacky tiki lounge decor and the owners' marriage and got the restaurant to be the talk of the town. However, bar manager Robby hated the new decor (calling it a "preppy yacht club") and caused some fuss with Gordon. After Gordon's departure, the restaurant reverted back the changes to the decor and menu and promptly saw a decline in reception, finally closing in December 2016.
    • The owner of Chappy's undid all of Gordon's recommendations practically a few days after his departure, and a short time later, the restaurant closed down when the property was seized for nonpayment of taxes. Chappy and his wife skipped town, screwing the staff out of thousands in unpaid wages, and the building was demolished in 2018.
    • Amy's Baking Company. The big one. The one restaurant where the owners were so psychotic, abusive, and unreceptive to any advice or criticism that Gordon actually walked out, leaving their business to its inevitable fate. In his own words, he "can't help people who can't help themselves". Sure enough, ABC closed its doors forever in September 2015. And many viewers would say nothing of value was lost.
  • The season two finale of The Knick, which turned out to be the series finale: Dr. Thackery dies; Dr. Edwards' eye is permanently damaged, ending his career as a surgeon; Dr. Gallinger not only gets away with his evil acts, but gets a cushy and lucrative new career on the lecture circuit to advocate eugenics; August Robertson is dead, murdered by his own son; his son Henry has not only gotten away with murdering him and Inspector Speight, but he has also gotten rich off his subway investments; Cornelia Robertson finds out about this but decides not to do anything about it, leaving the country instead. All in all, a pretty depressing ending.

  • In the various Law & Order series, the prosecutors occasionally lose cases and sometimes win by the letter of the law while still being unable to correct a greater injustice and letting the offender get away with it. There have also been instances where living victims of crimes have committed suicide, regardless of the offender getting punished, or the victims or family members taking revenge on the criminal, thus becoming criminals themselves. In one specific case, the prosecutors successfully put a leader in the Russian mafia in prison for life, only to later find that the entire family of their star witness has been kidnapped and murdered by the mafioso's "business associates".
    • Season 10 of L&O was particularly egregious in this regard. It opened with this stretch:
      1. Gunshow: Guilty verdict is overturned by judge.
      2. Killerz: Sociopathic child isn't charged with murder. Final scene implies it's only a matter of time before she kills again.
      3. DNR: The victim goes to her death blaming herself for her own murder attempt.
      4. Merger: Two rich families run interference for each other, scuttling the case
      5. Justice: The right party is nailed, but ends with Jamie Ross facing ethics charges (call back to her final regular episode where Jack was the one facing charges)
      6. Marathon: Perp of the week avoids punishment by throwing a serial rapist under the bus.
      7. Patsy: The victim of the week turns out to have put herself in a coma to frame the man she blames for her sister's death. Defense lawyer paints her as the real killer. The ending implies the defense was right.
      • L&O's sister series/spin off, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit uses this trope often. It seems to be in full force in the 10th season. If everything seems to be (relatively) alright but there's still five or so minutes left, expect someone to die. Maybe several someones. For this reason, the series' tend to be a case of Truth in Television as well, since real life works out this way far too often.
    • One particular instance that stands out involved a man wrongfully imprisoned for statutory rape when he slept with a girl who later turned out to be under 18. Turned out the girl in question was actually an adult and pretended to be a minor as part of a blackmail scheme. The real downer comes when she is arrested... for manslaughter. The innocent man had been beaten to death in prison.
    • And then there's the season 9 finale. Sure, the Dirty Cop gets his just desserts, but one of the supporting characters had to become a murderer for it to happen, Stabler and Fin's friendship is in shambles due to the way the former handled the case, and Novak is suspended for a Brady Violation in a gamble of a plan everyone knew would fail.
    • The season 11 premiere had the detectives track down a serial rapist and discover that he was the one responsible for a case Stabler worked on 10 years ago that another man was convicted for. Stabler went to tell the man that he'll be free to go, only for the real culprit to jump out a window, killing himself. And since he died, his testimony couldn't be used in court, meaning the innocent man would have to remain in prison for another 15 years.
    • The episode "Dissonant Voices" had a music teacher and popular TV personality be accused of sexual assault by several children. He loses his job, is antagonized relentlessly by Olivia and the media, and ends up in Rikers because he couldn't make bail. It's then revealed that he was framed by two of his former students and most of the allegations were the result of the media frenzy. The episode ends with him giving the detectives a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, while Barba tells him that the two girls took a plea and got a year of probation, and him walking off angrily while Rollins walks off in the other direction saying "This didn't have to happen."
    • The season 17 episode "Transgender Bridge" had a 15-year-old boy accidentally push a trans-woman off a bridge after being egged on by his friends and a crowd to hassle her. He felt genuine remorse for his actions and apologized to the girl, only for her to die from complications from the fall just when she decided to drop the charges. The DA and the mayor decide that they want to scapegoat the boy and charge him with manslaughter as an adult with a hate crime attached to make an example of him in response to a rising amount of hate crimes, and the episode consists of the detectives and the victim's parents doing everything in their power to help him. In the end he's sentenced to 10 years while his and the victim's mothers cry in the background.
    • One particular episode of the original series that stands out is "Mayhem", which follows 3 different cases. The primary one deals with a man randomly killing people making out in the backseats of cars. A suspect is eventually arrested based on eyewitness testimony and his refusal to provide a believable alibi for his whereabouts at the times of the killings. Turns out the suspect was gay and with his lover at the times of all the murders, but was afraid of his mother finding out. Briscoe and Logan go to get him released from jail only to find out that he'd been killed over a bologna sandwich. And to twist the knife? Mom had figured out his sexuality YEARS ago and was just waiting for him to come out himself.
    • A man was speeding in an African American neighborhood and hits a kid. He's scared so he drives away, calls his lawyer and turns himself in. They find that it was an accident and he couldn't have done anything to stop it, so he gets off not guilty. The people in the neighborhood where the boy died go into a rage because they think he only got away because he was white, and kill an Italian man who was driving through with his wife by yanking him out of the car and bashing his skull in. When it's brought to trial, the defendant plays the race card, and the man who killed the Italian man gets away. You see the wife of the murdered man sitting there, crying.
    • Paul Sorvino's last appearance. They convict a Colombian cartel hitman but he is shot by the father of one of his past victims. He pleads guilty and is given 2 days to arrange his private matters before he goes to jail. He is then revealed to be also a hitman and escapes. While everyone was busy with him, everyone related to the case dies in mysterious circumstances. The victim's daughter was last seen being picked up from school by her uncle, except she doesn't have one. Who's the leader of the cartel — Keyser Soze?
  • Little House on the Prairie: The third movie sees a businessmen buy all the township's land. After all their attempts to stop him fail the townsfolk decide to blow up their homes and businesses and move elsewhere.
  • On Lizzie McGuire, Lizzie falls in love with a boy named Ronnie. All goes well until he tells Lizzie that he wasn't interested in her and that he was interested in a girl from his school. The episode ended with Lizzie crying and ripping the paper that she doodled Ronnie's name on and she talks about how she thinks that the other girl that Ronnie was interested in was prettier than her, but her best friend, Gordo, tells her that there isn't anyone he knows who isn't as pretty as Lizzie is and the episode ends with Lizzie walking with her friends.
  • Loki (2021): The Bad Guy Wins at the end of the first season. Sylvie, desperate for revenge, kills He Who Remains despite his warnings that other, more malevolent Variants of himself will emerge from alternate timelines and cause another Multiversal War. Loki finds himself in a version of the TVA where nobody remembers him and the final shot of the season is Loki staring in horror at a statue of Kang the Conqueror. Roll credits.
  • Lost: Although the show doesn't usually have "happy" episodes (and when it does they're usually bittersweet or subverted at the last moment), but the "The Candidate" is just miserable. Three of the major characters (and candidates) explode or drown, the infant daughter of two of them is now orphaned, and the rest of the remaining cast cries on the beach. End episode.
  • The made-for-TV movie The Lottery (very loosely based on the Shirley Jackson story of the same name) ends with the protagonist escaping the town and making it safely home, but then he decides to tell authorities that an entire town stones a resident to death once a year. When the police investigate, bringing him along, everyone in town denies his story, and has erased all traces of their ritual—the girl whose mother was sacrificed this year and who helped the protagonist escape calls him a liar, saying her mother died of a stroke. The last moments of the film show the protagonist locked up in a mental institution as a psychiatrist speaks to him, remembering his father's last words to him, and digging up a repressed memory: his mother being chosen as a sacrifice when he was small, and him striking her with a rock as she screams and begs him not to.
  • Episode 3 of Les évasions célèbres is a Foregone Conclusion if you know the story of Antoine de Lavallette and his wife Emilie, but otherwise it comes as a nasty surprise with a good dose of Mood Whiplash, especially since they are presented as a very loving couple instead of the messed-up household they were in Real Life. At the very end of the episode, it seems that all is well that ends well for Lavallette: he is about to go back to France after six years of exile and happily narrates as he is about to reunite with Emilie... then a text caption reads, over a shot of their first meeting and with a triumphant music: "Count Lavallette arrived in Paris on the next day... Two pieces of news were waiting for him: He had received a posthumous gift from the Emperor... and his wife had become insane."

  • The short-lived superhero series M.A.N.T.I.S. ended by having the hero and his love killed battling a dinosaur. By then, there was no budget for a full-scale dinosaur, so they were effectively killed by falling trees. The final scenes have the sidekick narrating about how he buried the hero and dismantled his lair. This is one case where just canceling the series without a final episode would have been better.
    • Yes, folks, Sam Raimi's attempt at a more realistic superhero was killed by an invisible dinosaur from another dimension.
  • The last line of dialogue in the 1977 Made-for-TV Movie Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night — about a troubled young mother and the titular little daughter who she takes out her problems on — is "Mary Jane Harper died last night."
  • Magnificent Century: Due to Hürrem and Mahidevran's rivalry and intrigues, the most moral or fit candidates to the throne die and the throne falls in hands of Sehzade Selim, the most unfit of the princes. As a result, the Ottoman Empire lost its power.
  • Season 3 of M*A*S*H has the well-known, heartbreaking ending of 'I have a message. Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake's plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan. It spun in. There were no survivors.'
    • Save for Alan Alda, the actors of the series weren't told that Col. Blake would be killed until after they finished shooting the second-to-last scene — a particularly upbeat one, despite Blake's departure. That they weren't told at all is an urban legend.
      • McLean Stevenson, who played Blake (and now has a trope named after him) was still on set and looking forward to the wrap party when his character's death was announced and he was not pleased, nor was he told beforehand.
    • Season 1's "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" has Hawkeye visited by his old friend Tommy Gillis, who's serving on the front lines and writing a book about his experiences. The episode climaxes with Gillis — who'd ended his visit and rejoined his unit — brought in as a casualty after getting shot, then dying on Hawkeye's operating table.
    • "Yessir, That's Our Baby" involves the 4077th staff struggling to secure a Stateside adoption for an abandoned infant, after discovering that that her being of mixed race (American G.I. father, Korean mother) will condemn her to life as an impoverished, enslaved outcast in Korean society. Their inability to get around Army bureaucracy finally forces them to leave the child in the care of a nearby monastery, where she'll be shielded from the locals and might have a chance to leave 15 or 20 years.
    • In "Preventive Medicine", Hawkeye removes a healthy appendix of a bloodthirsty colonel to try to stop casualties from coming in. It takes that warmonger out of action, but Hawk violates the most precious code of doctors, the Hippocratic Oath, for relatively little with more casualties coming in from elsewhere in the war.
    • Downplayed in "Death Takes A Holiday": Hawkeye, B.J. and Margret take in a mortally-wounded sniper and operate on him in private, with Col. Potter and Father Mulcahy being the only others to know. When they find out via a letter in his pocket that he has a family to return to for Christmas, B.J. makes it a point to keep him alive until the 26th (even stopping Mulcahy from doing last rites), so that Christmas isn't remembered as the day he died. The man dies barely a half hour before midnight (with the doctors ultimately deciding to fake the death certificate and list his date of death as the 26th anyway). Afterwards, Potter offers the three some leftover fudge for their trouble.
  • The Masters of Horror episode "The Screwfly Solution" ends with the last woman on earth freezing to death around a fading campfire and thinking back to her happy memories.
  • Medium:
    • One season ends on one hell of a downer. Alison is forced to choose between her ability to dream the future, or her own life, due to a tumor growing in her. Meanwhile, she's busy trying to solve a case that's been going on for YEARS with a Mexican drug lord. She is having dreams about the results of her possible operation, and how they'll take away her powers... blah, blah, blah. She saves the day, has her surgery, and the episode ends after we and her husband and boss find out she had a stroke during the operation. (This is also the series finale, for the station it was running on). However, after the episode fades out on Alison lying comatose, we get a bit of joy at the words "To be continued" showing up on screen, even if it will be on another channel.
    • Sadly enough, the final finale had Joe's plane go down over the Pacific then jumps forward 10+ years to Alison as the D.A. and the youngest daughter as a troubled teen who never got over her dad dying (or rather, his never showing up to any of them AFTER he died). Alison starts having dreams that Joe is alive and amnesiac somewhere in Mexico and ends up compromising a major case against a dangerous drug-lord in order to obtain Joe's location. She tearfully reunites with him only for Joe to tell her it's all wrong and he's sorry. Joe died in the plane crash, everything after that was him trying to give Alison a vision of how it would be ok eventually, that life would go on. But she loved him so much she couldn't accept life without him and started putting him still alive in the dream.
  • Meerkat Manor (the original, not "Next Generation") had the ultimate tragic ending, when their superstar Flower had her life tragically cut short in an incident documented right on the air. She will be missed, always.
  • Merlin, though it was always kind of forgone, due to the way the legends end. The titular protagonist doesn't die, but Arthur, Morgana and Gwaine do. Merlin is left to walk the earth alone, an immortal old man long after everyone he's ever known has passed on, for the hope of Arthur's eventual return.
  • Most episodes of Miami Vice tend to end on this or a Bittersweet Ending. This was one of the first cop shows where the good guys didn't always win, or if they did there was a high price to pay.
  • Moon Lovers: By the end, only 4 of the 8 princes are alive and the friction between the ones that survived has separated them almost completely. Hae Soo passed away and So is married to Yeon Hwa but he doesn't trust her or even their own son. In the present, Ha Jin has managed to get back on her feet after a year in a coma, blissfully unaware of the heartbreak she lived as Hae Soo only for a chance encounter to reawaken her memories and it ends with her remembering all that happened and crying broken-hearted over the fact that she no longer can be by So's side.
  • Mortal Kombat: Conquest was a TV series loosely based on the ultra-violent video games by the same name. It ended with the Big Bad (Shao Kahn) killing everyone.
  • A couple in Murder, She Wrote:
    • In The Return of Preston Giles, the episode character who had been released from prison discovers who the murderer of one of his employees was and shot and killed by her. He only had one final moment with Jessica and revealed he recorded the confession before he died. It didn't help that the last freeze-frame of the episode was Jessica holding his hand while he was dying from thee gunshot wounds.
  • The ending of the fifth series of Murphy's Law involves the police officer who Murphy had earlier saved killing herself and Murphy himself coming frighteningly close to pulling the trigger on himself.

  • NCIS likes to end seasons on a downer note:
    • The season two finale, "Twilight," ends with Caitlin Todd getting her brains splattered over the landscape (and some on a co-workers face) by a high-powered sniper rifle, in mid sentence no less. "I thought I'd die before I ever heard—"
    • The season three finale, by comparison, is a bit milder, but it still ends with Gibbs quitting, after most of the episode showed them struggling to function in his absence.
    • The season four finale is more of a Wham Ending than a Downer Ending, but the season five finale, "Judgment Day," involves the death of NCIS Director Jenny Shepard and ends with Gibbs's True Companions being summarily disbanded and scattered to new assignments.
    • The season six finale has Ziva off the team and back in Israel with Mossad after forcing Gibbs to choose between her and Tony. Then in a shocking last scene, she is shown captured and badly beaten, being questioned by terrorists.
    • Season seven has the woman who is out for revenge on Gibbs, walking into his father's shop (who she had said she wanted to shoot in the head like Gibb's had to her father (he deserved it)).
  • Next (2020): Due to its cancellation, the series ends on one. Paul is apparently dead, having sacrificed himself to destroy the FBI offices where the server holding Next was housed. Shea is in prison for conspiring to do it with him, and likely facing decades in prison at best. Next survived anyway, so it was All for Nothing. A lot of this might have been subverted if the series got a second season, but as it stands things are rather bleak.
  • Subverted at the end of the Noah's Arc first season. Wade just broke up with Noah, Chance's new husband is unconscious, Trey separated from Alex for a 6 month relief mission, and Ricky broke up with his love Junito. Though it seems objectively depressing, Noah, Chance, Alex and Ricky find comfort in each other and all just laugh about it. The trope is played much more straight at the end of season 2 however.....
  • Even a TV Documentary can have a Downer Ending. In the Nova episode "B-29: Frozen in Time" a team spends months trying to repair and recover a B-29 Superfortress that made an emergency landing in Greenland in 1947. One guy actually dies working on it. They get it started and moving and ... the damn thing catches fire and burns to the ground.

  • The O.C.:
    • The season 1 finale: Julie ends up marrying Caleb, but it's all but stated that Caleb is in financial trouble and may eventually be indicted by the District Attorney's office. Due to Caleb blackmailing Marissa, she is forced to move in with her mom at their new home. Teresa decides to keep the baby, and Ryan makes the choice to leave the Cohen House and return to Chino to help Teresa with her pregnancy, which devastates the Cohen's and Marissa. Marissa begins drinking again, both Sandy and Kirsten are heartbroken at Ryan leaving them, and an emotionally distraught Seth decides to sail away from Orange County into the sunset.
    • The season 2 finale: After Caleb's funeral, Kirsten's alcoholism gets bad enough that Sandy finally holds an intervention to convince her to go to rehab. Kirsten initially resists, but eventually agrees after Seth begs her to. Trey's antics at the Bait Shop cause a drug deal to go awry and almost results in people getting killed, which prompts Ryan to tell Trey to leave Newport and never come back. The incident at the Bait Shop causes Marissa's PTSD to resurface, and she finally confesses to Summer that Trey attempted to rape her. Summer then tells Seth, who then tells Ryan, which serves as the final straw and causes Ryan to confront his brother. Ryan and Trey get into a huge fight at his apartment with Marissa arriving at the scene. Just as Trey is about to smash his brother's head in with a phone, Marissa grabs Trey's gun and shoots him, causing Trey to collapse. The episode ends with Seth and Summer arriving on scene, and Trey's fate left uncertain.
  • The Office (UK) ended on quite a low note in its second series. Tim is rejected once again by the receptionist Dawn, who is leaving for America with her skinflint boyfriend, while David Brent has been made redundant and practically breaks down trying to make them take him back. The series as a whole ends on a much more positive note after the two Christmas special episodes. (Indeed, the happy ending of the Christmas special is all the more uplifting, given that it's a series where things often end in disappointment and failure.)
  • Okupas: In the “final showdown” between the four main and the Pablo’s band, one of them shoots Chiqui to death. Chiqui ask their friends to carry him to the house, so he can die there. Chiqui dies in the arms of his best friends.
  • The Orville: "About A Girl" ends with the Moclan court ordering that the baby undergo sex reassignment, against the wishes of Bortus but in line with his mate's preference.
  • In the The Outer Limits (1995) revival, nearly every episode ends in soul-crushing gloom and despair. Humans Are the Real Monsters, it's a Crapsack World, we get it, we get it...

    One particularly crushing episode ("Dead Man's Switch") involved a group of four or five humans being put in special underground bunkers while the rest of humanity prepares to meet an alien race. The humans can only talk to each other, but live in their bunkers alone. Every six hours, an alarm goes off, and they have to push a button to prevent nuclear missiles from devastating the world in case humanity was wiped out by the aliens. The routine continues endlessly until one by one the humans in the other bunkers mysteriously get cut off, leaving the last guy alone with his thoughts. He slowly goes crazy, and finally resolves to let the missiles fly, convinced humanity has been wiped out by the aliens, until he's contacted by the general in charge of the program, who tells the protagonist that everything is fine, the aliens have been defeated, and they'll get him out of there soon. The protagonist accepts this, still marginally crazy, and deactivates the alarm time and time again, while the camera switches shots to show the general being mind controlled by an alien while the Capital building and all of Washington DC burns in the background.
  • The Outlaw Michael Howe: Howe is sold out by the last holdout in his gang and beaten to death by bounty hunters.
  • Oz ends on a downbeat note. Beecher and Alvarez are doomed to be locked up for the rest of their lives, Keller, Saïd, and Glynn are dead, and Oz is evacuated following an anthrax attack Keller set up before he died. There is a silver lining in that Governor Devlin may be imprisoned for corruption, but it's implied he may keep his office.

  • Power Rangers:
    • The final episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, despite it being a very lighthearted series, ended on a downer. Goldar and Rito managed to successfully blow up the Command Center, and the Rangers staring at disbelief at the smoldering remains of the building. It returned in the first episode of Zeo, though.
    • Power Rangers Turbo in spades. The Bad Guys Win. The mentors are all captured or MIA. Any heroes with experience are either missing, captured, or retired and beyond reach of communication, with the remaining rookies having no idea who to contact or how. The season ends with four of the five Rangers leaving for another planet on a suicide run, lacking directions to that planet, any powers, knowledge of how to operate a space shuttle, or, in all likelihood, the ability to travel faster than light.
  • Steven Moffat's teen dramedy Press Gang ended with an episode where the main character was either burning to death or had been sent to hell. She later appears to have survived the fire, however.
  • Punky Brewster: Season three's episode "Divorce Anderson Style" has Allen concerned because he hears his parents fighting. At a neighborhood picnic, the Andersons' bickering comes to a boil with Allen's mom saying she wants a divorce. Following Allen's ill-fated attempt to live in the treehouse, he reluctantly says his goodbyes to Henry, Cherie, Betty and Punky. Of all people to lose it emotionally, it's Punky, whom in the final scene after Allen leaves is sobbing uncontrollably in Cherie's arms.

  • Quantum Leap: Sam makes a noble sacrifice, but this causes a temporal reaction that results in him never getting home.
    • Not unheard of in individual episodes. On one occasion, Sam was caught up in race riots. He succeeded in improving the life of the woman he was there to help, but the brother of the man whose place he took was killed in the process. Sam lept out in tears, well aware that, on this occasion, he'd overall changed history for the worse.
    • Or the episode where he failed to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. True, his intervention saved the life of Jacqueline Kennedy, but he had still hoped to change this major historical event.

  • Red Dwarf
    • Series VI ends with the regular characters killed one by one in a space battle with their future selves. The final image was of their craft, Starbug, exploding. However, because it was a Time Travel episode that ended in a severe Temporal Paradox, the next season was able to begin by assuming the timeline had been repaired by the explosion and it had all been undone.
    • Series VIII ends with Rimmer alone on a burning, decaying Dwarf while the chemical formula that could save him burns and the Grim Reaper comes for him. Granted, he's been dead for most of the series anyway and there is a last-second joke, but it's very dark compared to most of the series.
  • This commonly happens in the realistic, cynical Teen Drama Most commonly with the victim's life going down in flames.
  • Romper Stomper: The show ends with a huge one. Magoo blows himself up before anybody can stop him, murdering or wounding many people, including several main characters (though their exact fates are unknown). Zoe murders Marco as well, and Gabe leaves Kane behind with them remaining estranged.
  • Rush (USA series)
    • Due to being canceled, Rush has this in spades. The series ends with Manny being arrested for the shooting of JP (which he didn't do), Rush Sr.'s trophy wife pregnant with Rush the younger's child, Eve fearful of what will happen next (and recovering from her Near-Rape Experience), Sarah leaving Rush, Rush's attempt at Going Cold Turkey not even a day old, and walking out into flashing police lights. The End.

  • Scarlet Heart: Yin Si and Yin Tang commit suicide. Yin Xiang and Yin Zhen die shortly after. Yin Ti survives but doesn't remarry. Zhang Xiao "dies", returns to the 21st century, and meets a man who looks like Yin Zhen, but he doesn't recognise her.
  • Scrubs:
    • "My Life in Four Cameras" sets the show in an ever-happy sitcom-environment for the second half: A man has been wrongly diagnosed and may live another 20 years, two main characters' relationship gets magically fixed and an employee on the brink of being fired may stay working at the hospital. This is dissolved with a hard cut near the end of the episode. The patient is dead, the relationship rather messed up, and the former employee — fired. JD explains that "around here, things don't end as neat and tidy as in sitcoms."
    • In "My Lunch", after a female patient (who has a history of attempting suicide) dies from an apparent OD, they discover that her organs can go to multiple patients in need of new ones. However, it's realized too late that the donor actually died of rabies—which means that each of the recipients now have rabies, too. In the end, all of the patients (including one who was a good friend of Dr. Cox's and who didn't need the organ immediately) die. This sends Cox over the edge and into a deep, horrible depression. The outcome is made worse by its stark contrast to the episode's lighter, happier subplots (which include JD trying to force Cox to have lunch with him, and Elliot and Carla trying to help The Todd cope with his homosexuality — only to discover that he's using his sexuality to be close to the two girls, and is actually bisexual, now ogling and making a pass at everyone).
    • Setting the stage was "My Old Lady", which opens with JD, Turk, and Elliot each getting a patient to deal with, with the narration saying that the statistic is one of three people who go into a hospital will die there. Turns out the statistic was wrong this time: all three patients die.
    • A similar thing happens in "My Occurrence": Ben, Dr. Cox's best friend and ex-brother-in-law, is tested for leukemia, and the results are positive; instead of revealing the results to Ben and Dr. Cox, J.D. insists there's been a mixup (like what had already happened with Turk and Elliot's subplots), and spends the episode trying to find where the mistake was made. Eventually, the lab runs the test again, and the results are indeed negative. Then, just as Ben is about to leave the hospital, he tells J.D. that "none of this is real"....and we learn that the entire second half of the episode has taken place in J.D.'s head. He's still standing in front of Ben and Dr. Cox, and has to tell them that Ben has leukemia, for real.
    • For being a humorous show, Scrubs is unusually full of episodes with a Downer Ending. They are usually especially vicious, since everything seems to be going well until the final crashdown. See episode "My Screw Up", in which everyone's happily preparing for Jack's birthday party (with Ben back in town after several years on the road with his cancer in remission) while Dr. Cox has a subplot about being in denial and blaming J.D. for losing a patient he couldn't have saved while covering for Cox. Eventually, with Ben's urging he accepts that J.D. did everything he could and that he's not blame either for not being there. After he apologizes to J.D. on the way to his son's birthday party, Cox is confronted with Ben's funeral instead of the party. Ben was the patient that died at the beginning and his appearances were all in Perry's head.
    • The season 1 finale "My Last Day," made when it was unknown whether the show would get picked up for another season, is just such an episode. The episode seems like it's wrapping up to a relatively upbeat conclusion, but in the last 30 seconds, Jordan comes up to the assembled cast and reveals all their secrets which she had previously kept to herself— including she and J.D. having sex, Dr. Cox's secret attraction to Carla, and Dr. Kelso lying about Cox's promotion—leading to a near-total destruction of trust between them all that kept them together for the entire season.
    • Not to forget "My Butterfly", which is split into two halves, each showing a different chain of events hinging on JD and Turk watching a butterfly. In the first half, everything goes wrong, Turk and Carla fight, Elliot lets her 8-year-old patient down, JD misses a diagnosis, culminating in the death of a patient. In the second half, exactly the opposite happens and everything goes right, they make the right diagnosis early through a stroke of luck and the patient can get surgery quickly....but he still dies.
    • The title character of "My Cabbage" is an intern to whom J.D. has taken a liking, and consequently J.D. does not notice the intern's dangerous incompetence. All foreshadowing suggests that, if allowed to continue at Sacred Heart, the intern will do something stupid and a patient will die. At the end of the episode, J.D. finally works up the nerve to tell the intern that he's not cut out for medicine, and the intern walks out of the hospital dejected. On his way out, the intern finds a used glove on the floor and throws it away, getting a dangerous pathogen on his hands, then shakes hands with a patient, unwittingly exposing her to the illness that would later kill her.
    • "My Princess" is a Storybook Episode where Dr. Cox recounts the events of his day at work as a bedtime story to his son. He tells the story of a princess (Elliot) whose servant (Elliot's patient) was being menaced by a terrible monster (unknown disease), so the princess and a village idiot (J.D.) tried to save her with the help of a brave knight (Dr. Cox.) He finishes by saying that the monster was defeated and everyone lived happily ever after, but then suggests to Jordan that the patient actually may have died.
      • Really, in any medical show, there's always going to be downer endings, but it's always more abrupt and memorable when it's in a show like Scrubs, which has more of an emphasis on comedy. They won't always be able to save patients, so sometimes it ends with sending the patient off, like in My Last Words, where JD and Turk sacrifice their night out to comfort a dying man with no family. There's also two episodes, My Catalyst and My Porcelain God, guest starring Michael J. Fox, that has an allegory for Fox's real life medical condition that makes it hard for him to live through life (Using OCD as a substitute for Fox's Parkinson's disease).
  • The series finale of Seinfeld ends with all four main characters being branded anti-social misanthropic Jerkasses and sentenced to prison. (Of course, whether this is truly a Downer Ending or not depends on whether or not you agree with that.) They had apparently run out of things to talk about, and started to repeat the first conversation from the first episode.
  • The Shadow Line. Jonah Gabriel and Joseph Bede, the show's two most sympathetic characters, wind up dead, while Gatehouse and his allies get away and are free to start up their new version of Counterpoint, with the only people able to stop them already dead.
  • Sharpe' 's Waterloo]''. Not only do his friends die, the way he strides off at the end, leading his old regiment, and disappearing into the mists — after achieving what he wanted, which was seeing Napoleon — makes it feel like this is the end for him. After a last goodbye to Harper. Sure, there are more books, and more movies even, but it's still depressing as hell.
  • The Grand Finale of The Shield saw a number of them, but a special mention goes to Ronnie for being the fall guy for the Strike Team's crimes in Vic's immunity deal (since Vic could secure immunity for only one of them).
  • Silent Witness has had several, often involving The Bad Guy Wins:
    • "Safe": The heroes fail to secure a gang leader's conviction for murder. Eventually, they get enough evidence to have him jailed for raping an underage girl. He'll still be back on the streets before long, though — and his gang is still active and grooming young boys to join them. Because Harry refused to alter a report so that the mother of two of the gang's victims could make a compensation claim against the police, it's implied her surviving children will also fall prey to gangs.
    • "Greater Love": Leo is killed when a suicide bomber's explosives detonate.
    • "And Then I Fell In Love": A girl who would have been the central witness in convicting members of a sex grooming ring commits suicide after videos of her abuse are posted on Facebook. The gang's leader is murdered (by the girl's stepfather — whose life is now ruined) but the other members are still out on the streets. The only other witness is a girl who escaped them, but she'd been drugged by the gang, so her testimony is unlikely to hold up in court.
    • "Fraternity": Jack's seriously injured after being hit by a car in an attempted murder, and he loses his brother Ryan after exposing Ryan's culpability in a blackmail plot.
    • "Protection": This episode follows three main plot strands involving children on a social worker's casebook. In the first, a couple's young daughter accidentally kills a friend of the family who had been sexually abusing her. The parents hide her to prevent the authorities taking her away from them; but this happens anyway when the truth is discovered. In the second, a boy tries to find out the truth about his sisters, who were taken into care after suspected abuse. He exposes the real culprit, and the older sister comes home — but the younger one is put up for adoption, exactly what he'd been trying to prevent. In the third, the social worker testifies against a couple suspected of beating their son, despite medical evidence proving that his bruises are caused by a genetic disorder. The parents are finally cleared on a doctor's evidence, and the child goes home, but by this time he's learned to walk and his parents have missed his first steps.
    • "River's Edge": A rich tycoon who likes to drug, rape and strangle young women, and was repsonsible for the deaths of three of his victims (as well as a family who were killed on his orders, to cover up one of the deaths) gets away with it — there isn't enough evidence to hold him on any charges, so he escapes back to Canada. A police officer who was one week away from retirement was also murdered, trying to get justice for the victims while he still could — so his death is completely in vain. Meanwhile, a woman who tried to expose the culprit has her life and career ruined; she was involved in helping him cover up his crimes, but she'd pretty much been forced into it, and it's suggested that he had preyed upon her too.
  • In Skins, there are frequently downer endings. In the first season finale, a character gets hit by a bus right before trying to redeem himself. In the second season finale, a favorite character dies.
    • In Sid's episode in Season 2, after beginning to repair the fraught relationship between himself and his father, he wakes up to find him dead in their living room, having silently passed away in the night.
  • Sleeper Cell ended with The Hero's Arch-Enemy pulling a Karma Houdini and escaping their Final Battle, with the former near death and left to fend for himself in a veritable extremist hornet's nest.
  • The first season finale of Sleepy Hollow ends with Henry Parrish revealing he was the Horseman of War as well as Ichabod and Katrina's son Jeremy, and that he had been manipulating Ichabod and Abbie for the whole season to separate them and get Katrina out of purgatory. The episode closes with all five main characters in some sort of peril: Ichabod is Buried Alive in Jeremy's grave, Katrina is put to sleep and handed over to the Headless Horseman, Abbie is trapped in Purgatory, Irving confesses and is arrested for two murders in order to save his daughter, and Jenny is lying unconscious in the road after Headless shot up her car.
  • The Smallville episode "Ryan", where despite all his fantastic powers, and even conquering his fear of heights, Clark Kent still fails to save his adoptive little brother Ryan from a brain tumor.
    • While Ryan dies, Clark has given him peace and friendship. "Pariah" on the other hand, with the death of Alicia certainly counts as a downer ending.
  • The Society: Season 1 ends like this, with the entire town of teenagers stranded somehow far from home, everyone left behind thinking they're dead, and a psychopath having taken control.
  • Space: Above and Beyond had a Cliffhanger downer ending where three of the major characters died and the remaining two are left feeling empty and unsure. The episode was still very satisfying.
    "I believe in all of you."
    • The worst part was the Hope Spot, in which a Chig representative comes aboard the Saratoga to negotiate. It seems as if things may finally resolve peacefully, but the talks break down and the Chig self-destructs with a Corrupt Corporate Executive who may have been responsible for starting the war in the first place (the Chig reveals that they sent warnings not to settle near them, but the corporation ignored them). The ceasefire is over. Oh, and the resident Colonel Badass McQueen is gravely wounded in the explosion.
  • Stargate SG-1 is generally good fun, but it has its moments. A good example is season 3's "Forever And a Day" in which Daniel loses his wife for the last time. Owie.
    • The season 1 episode "The Torment of Tantalus" was close to the ultimate downer ending. Trapped for 50 years alone, with nothing but knowledge about the universe, only to be rescued hours before the building containing the knowledge is destroyed forever and all knowledge lost
    • The episode "Ethon" was uber-dark by SG-1 standards. Not only does Earth lose one of its Cool Ships, along with the deaths of dozens (including the popular Colonel Pendergast), but to top it all off, all the destruction proved for naught. The "peaceful compromise" Jackson hoped could be reached never comes to be.
    • There's also the episode where everyone is teaming up for a major battle against the coming Ori fleet. Even the Lucian Alliance appears with a few Ha'taks. Then the Ori motherships arrive and blow most of the good guys away without suffering so much as a scratch. One of the new Earth warships is also destroyed with Colonel Chekhov aboard. As you can expect, the following episodes are not the brightest ones.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". The fact that racial prejudice amongst humans was a thing of the past totally fell on deaf ears to enemies Bele and Loki. Discovering that their world and people were destroyed in a war over a stupid racial issue, they simply beamed down to their ruined burining world to continue the eternal fight between each other, last of their respective sides. Uhura wonders if hate is all they ever had. Kirk responds "No...but it's all they have left." A very appropriate ending for an episode made in a decade where racism was a very hot issue.
    • "The City on the Edge of Forever", Kirk goes after McCoy after the latter briefly goes mad on an experimental drug. The two end up traveling back in time, where Kirk meets a beautiful young woman. They hit it off and it seems like he's finally found true love, but it's then revealed that she's doomed to die in a traffic accident. Kirk thinks about saving her life—only to learn that if she survives, she'll start a pacifist group that will delay the United States's entry into World War II, which will in turn allow Hitler to develop atomic technology and defeat the Allied Powers. Despite truly loving the woman, Kirk is forced to watch, knowing full well what's about to happen, as she starts crossing the street where she'll be struck. This episode ends with the only profanity uttered in the original series: Kirk's famous line "Let's get the hell out of here."
    • "Requiem for Methuselah". Kirk fell in love with Rayna Kapec (an android) and when she died he was so heartbroken that Spock decided to use the Vulcan mind-meld to erase his memories of her.
    • "Charlie X". At the end of the episode the Thasians show up to take the title character back to their planet because he's too dangerous to stay with humans. Charlie desperately begs for the Enterprise crew to prevent it but they can't.
    • "A Private Little War". The villagers of the planet Neural are provided with firearms by the Klingons. At the end Kirk must supply the Hill People with firearms so they can defend the villagers' attacks, which result in a lethal war between them.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • "Symbiosis". The episode on drug addiction essentially left the Brekkians and Onarans to their own devices. Picard adhered to the Prime Directive stating that this is one problem that they can't solve for others. The episode ends with the crew simply glad to wash their hands of them.
    • "Legacy". Ishara Yar disappoints the Enterprise crew by turning out to be the opposite of her noble late sister, Tasha Yar. She originally seemed to be helping the Enterprise only to be revealed to have been using them in a setup to gain a strategic advantage for her cadre. Data, in his quest to understand human emotions, realizes that he has now learned about the emotion called betrayal.
    • "Silicon Avatar". Scientist Dr. Marr is a guest on the Enterprise bridge, with Picard's intent being to establish a communication with the Crystalline Entity, which goes from world to world causing mass destruction. However, just as they have a confirmed link, Dr. Marr — whose son was slaughtered by the entity years ago — sends a signal so powerful it causes the entity to combust. Marr is confined to her quarters, and Data informs her in no uncertain terms that her son would not have been proud of her ruining her career out of revenge. And the episode ends with a heartbroken look on her face.
    • "Lower Decks". Officer Sito Jaxa, previously seen in "The First Duty" is selected (after a Secret Test of Character from Picard) for a spy mission into Cardassian space. Eager to prove herself to Picard and the regular bridge crew, she accepts. 30 hours later, Picard makes a solemn announcement to the crew that Sito was killed in the line of duty, after finding only debris remaining of her shuttlecraft. The final scene features Worf and Sito's friends gathering in Ten-Forward to mourn.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "Children of Time", the Defiant discovers a colony of humans in the Gamma Quadrant which turns out to be made up of their own descendants. They learn that, according to the colony's history, three days after the date of their arrival, they were thrown back in time 200 years and founded the colony. As they now have the necessary knowledge to prevent that accident, the crew spends the rest of the episode trying to make the wrenching decision about whether they will avoid it (meaning the colonists will have never existed) or allow history to take its course (meaning they will never see their families again and Kira will die shortly after the accident), and they finally decide the lives of the colonists must be preserved. But when they do break orbit, they find that someone has tampered with the ship's systems, causing them to avert the accident and erasing the colony and its 8,000 occupants from history. And then, the final icing on the cake, Kira finds out who did it and that they did it for her. She's understandably distraught.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • "Real Life" ends with Doctor's holographic daughter dying in a freak accident, the station they were trying to contact destroyed with no survivors or clues where the rest of their civilization is, and their plan to recharge the replicators failed.
    • "Course: Oblivion", where the entire crew turns out to be clones created in an earlier episode. These clones start to die and spend the episode trying to get to one of the rare examples of a planet with an environment they could survive in, and, failing that, send the real Voyager crew evidence that they existed. They fail on both counts.
    • Even worse is "Thirty Days", when the Prime directive forces Janeway into non-interference with the inhabitants of a water planet, who are slowly destroying the only thing keeping the planet at one piece, even going so far as stopping Paris from interfering (the title refers to his punishment — 30 days in prison). Unless a miracle happens, the planet will be gone in the future.
    • "Distant Origin" has an alien scientist discover his people's true origins, validating all his theories about their beliefs being wrong. In the end he's pressured into silence and forced to renounce all his research by their leader, who refuses to admit the truth.
  • The finale of St. Elsewhere saves it for the literal end: This is what viewers usually saw after the credits. This is what they got in the last episode.
  • Strangers From Hell: The series ends with Jong-woo completely insane — and with the possibility he's about to become another Moon-jo. Oh, and either Jung-hwa is hallucinating or Moon-jo might be a ghost or might not have died at all.
  • Season 2 of Suits. The entire final five episodes are one long march to misery. Harold is sacked, Rachel is rejected from Harvard, Mike is forced to lose a case to prevent his secret from being let out, Pearson Hardman has a sexual harassment case brought against them and are forced to deal with all their current cases with limited resources, Mike's relationship with Harvey has deteriorated, and absolutely everybody in the firm is left in a completely miserable state.
  • Supernatural is a pretty miserable show anyway but there are still tons and tons of episodes that have downer endings.
    • The show loves to end its seasons on a downer:
      • Season 1 ends with Sam frantically trying to drive his dad and brother to the hospital and discussing their next move when they are smashed into by a semi driven by a demon.
      • Season 2 ends with Sam back from the dead, but only because Dean sold his soul and now only has one year to live. Also, despite Dean and John managing to kill Azazel, they fail to stop the opening of the Devil's Gate allowing God knows how many demons and evil spirits to run free on Earth.
      • The season three finale, "No Rest for the Wicked"; after spending the entire season trying to void Dean's contract with Lilith, they finally get a chance to kill her, but she escapes. Dean dies and goes to Hell. The final shot shows Dean strung up by meathooks in hell while the sound of his screaming for Sam echoes over the closing credits.
      • Season 4. Turns out that Dean was right about Ruby being evil, and after convincing Sam that Dean saw him as nothing but a monster, she leads him to kill Lilith who turns out to be the last seal holding Satan in hell. The brothers work together to kill Ruby, but then the credits start to roll just as the end of the world is beginning.
      • The season five finale, which would originally have been the final ending of the show, had Sam facing an eternity in Hell, with his brother Adam, the Archangel Michael and Lucifer for company. More of a Bittersweet Ending though, as despite Sam's intended-to-be permanent death they did still manage to save the world and trap Lucifer for good.
      • Season Six results in Castiel opening Purgatory, making Sam remember his hell, turning himself into a nuclear soul bomb, and then pulling a face what turn after his power acquisition, becoming A God Am I. In other words, they turned the cuddly angel guy into a complete psychopath... Yeah.
      • Season Seven ends with Dean and Castiel trapped in Purgatory with the souls of every monster to ever live and die, and Sam left completely and utterly on his own having just lost Kevin to Crowley and not even knowing if Dean is still alive. Also, even though Big Bad Dick Roman was killed, the rest of the Leviathans are still out there, only now they don't have any real plan and are just running around eating whomever they please.
      • Season Eight ends with Sam dying from the shock of the Hell Trials, Castiel having lost his grace and now stuck as a human, and Dean watching as the angels all fall from Heaven, knowing that it will be up to him and Sam to stop yet another catastrophe.
      • Season Nine ends with Castiel still dying with his stolen grace, Sam summoning Crowley to make yet another deal to save Dean, and Dean dead at Metatron's hands... until his eyes open to reveal that the Mark of Cain has turned him into a demon.
    • Other episodes:
      • "Time On My Side" has Bela turning into a sobbing, terrified little girl as the hellhounds come to take her off to Hell.
      • "Jus in Bello" — nearly everyone dies because their plan ended up not working on account of Lilith.
      • "All Hell Breaks Loose — Part One" — Every one of the Special Children, including Sam, dies, with the exception of Jake Talley, who ends up getting corrupted by Azazel.
      • "In My Time Of Dying" has John die while his sons look on helplessly.
      • "..And Then There Were None" has Bobby being possessed by a monster and killing his best friend Rufus, right after an argument over a very sore matter. The episode ends with Bobby drinking over Rufus' unmarked grave.
      • "The Rapture" — Jimmy Novak agrees to continue being Castiel's vessel, but he can never see his wife and daughter again for fear of what demons would do to them. The brothers' relationship is at a low ebb after Dean finds out Sam has been powering himself with demon blood, and at the end Sam is thrown into Bobby's panic room for a painful detox.
      • The first two episodes of season seven both had downer endings. In the first one, Cas loses possession of his body to the purgatory monsters and bursts. In the second, Bobby's scrapyard has been burnt to the ground by the Leviathans, and Dean, thinking Bobby's dead, is left all alone with an unconscious-from-head-injury Sam who was basically insane even when he was fine. And they're being rushed to a hospital where Leviathans have a foothold.

  • Taxi: In the episode, "Alex's Old Buddy", Alex takes back his sixteen-year-old dog, Buddy, after his sister had been looking after him for several years. Overjoyed, Alex goes out of his way to pamper the dog. Buddy inevitably dies during a trip to the vet. The vet had actually warned Alex earlier that he didn't have much time left. Louie, who didn't like Buddy, actually shows a rare moment of sympathy and gives Alex some time alone, and the episode ends as Alex is left sobbing into Buddy's leash.
  • That's So Raven: "There Goes The Bride". Raven believes she's going to marry her boyfriend, only for it to end with him moving two states away.
  • The Thick of It ends on this note. Malcolm is about to be locked up and Glenn might follow him, Ollie's taking Malcolm's job just after we find out how emotionally and spiritually draining it is, Nicola's doomed to a backbench position, Stewart's been sacked, nothing has changed in politics whatsoever and Terri can't start up her tea shop.
  • This is Wonderland ends with Alice having to talk her sister into going to jail, James being left in critical condition with a stroke, which was strongly implied to kill him, and fan favourite Anil Sharma getting killed by gangsters. On the plus side, Elliot found true love. But there wasn't enough happiness to qualify as a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Of all shows to do this, the Season 13 Finale of Top Gear was quite a surprise, given the show's usual nature. Jeremy Clarkson was reviewing an Aston Martin V12 Vantage, and unlike previous supercar reviews, which usually involve POWERRRRRRRRR races against other supercars, this review simply consisted of Jeremy driving through the countryside. Cue a bit of Brian Eno, and an aesop of how the time for supercars seemed destined to run out, what with the economy being in the crapper, fuel prices having gone through the roof, and continuing troubles around the world, Jeremy closed the segment by stating that a car like this felt like 'an ending'. And unlike previous show endings, which usually consist of wild studio applause segueing into the show theme with credits rolling, the credits rolled as the segment came to an end. There was much speculation if it was meant as a stealthy series finale.
  • In Day Four of Torchwood: Children of Earth, Ianto dies in Jack's arms after Jack calls the bad guys' bluff and the bad guys call it right back with supervirus to the face. This is the second most horrible thing to happen in this episode, the first being the part where the government of the UK talks itself around to giving the "lowest-achieving" 10% of the nation's children up to alien extortionists for more-or-less-eternal torture — with the implication that every other government on Earth is currently having the same conversation. It gets darker from there.
    • By the end of the miniseries, the heroes have given up so thoroughly that a couple of the villains have had to step up and save the world, the kind-of-sympathetic bureaucrat character who's been getting thrown under the bus by his superiors all season long has murdered his family and committed suicide because all the alternatives are worse, the crappy amoral government officials have been replaced by ambitious amoral government officials, Jack has delivered the coup de grace to the alien threat by ordering his young grandson's painful and graphic death while his daughter screams his name and tries to claw her way through steel and reinforced glass bare-handed to get to him, and Gwen has lost every friend she has and is hanging on to her pregnancy only because it would hurt her husband to abort and spare herself the pain of bearing a child in this fucked-up world. Jack's decision to run from Earth as far and as fast as he can and not come back for a few millennia is pretty understandable.
    • Even before the miniseries, practically every episode of the show involved the horrible deaths of all or almost all of the sympathetic guest characters, often at the hands of the regulars.
  • Tour of Duty ended with a surrounded Lt. Goldman and Sgt. Anderson calling down an artillery strike on their own position.
  • Trilogy of Terror:
    • "Therese and Millicent": Millicent stabs a voodoo doll of her sister Therese in order to end her abuse, only to kill herself due to Therese being a split personality.
    • "Amelia": Amelia seemingly burns the evil doll alive, only for its spirit to possess her and keep on killing.
  • True Blood:
    • The Season 2 Finale "Beyond Here Lies Nothin:" Maryann is defeated by Sam, but things still continue to get worse for the characters. Sam decides to look for his biological family, even though he's warned by his adopted parents that they are horrible people. Eric is revealed to be selling V on Sophie Anne's behalf. Jessica (who is still emotionally disraught after her break-up with Hoyt) goes to feed on a trucker driver and accidentally drains him because she can't control herself. Eggs gets his memories back due to Sookie and, unable to let go of his guilt of what he did under Maryann's control, tries to provoke Andy into arresting him by threatening him in the parking lot outside of Merlottes. Jason, misreading the situation, shoots Eggs to protect Andy, killing him. Andy covers for Jason and pins the blame of Maryann's murders on a deceased Eggs, leaving Tara emotionally disraught. Bill and Sookie go to a restaurant where Bill proposes to her. While Sookie is in the bathroom contemplating her choice, Bill gets kidnapped by an unseen assailant, and Sookie comes back to find Bill gone.
    • The Season 4 Finale "And When I Die:" Marnie is defeated again, but not before she manages to kill Jesus and take his magic, which is now stuck inside Lafayette. Jason confesses to Hoyt about having sex with Jessica, and Hoyt beats Jason up and ends their friendship. An old war buddy named Patrick comes back to see Terry, and Arlene is warned by Rene's ghost that demons from Terry's past are coming back to haunt him and that she needs to run. Sookie ends her relationship with both Bill and Eric, leaving all three of them devastated. Jason is visited by Steve Newlin, who has turned into a vampire. Alcide finds out that Russell Edgington has escaped from the cement and is on the loose. Sam is confronted by angry werewolves after Alcide killed Marcus in the previous episode. The Authority issues the true death on both Eric and Bill because of the witch war fiasco, which forces both of them to go on the run. Debbie breaks into Sookie's house because she blames her for Alcide abjuring her in the previous episode, and she attempts to kill Sookie. Tara gets shot in the back of the head by Debbie, and Sookie manages to wrestle the gun from Debbie and shoot her. The episode ends with Sookie cradling Tara's body while she screams for help, and Tara's fate is left uncertain.
    • The Season 5 Finale "Save Yourself:" Humans declare war on vampires after the video of Russell Edgington and Steve Newlin massacring college students is released. Jason starts having hallucinations of his dead parents who encourage him to hate vampires after everything they've done, which results in him ending his relationship with Jessica. Luna accidentally shifts on live TV and reveals to the world that the Authority is keeping human prisoners. Sam manages to kill Rosalyn, but Luna collapses from having skinwalked and her fate is uncertain. The Authority is destroyed, but Bill completely goes off the deep end, refuses Eric and Sookie's pleas to reform, chooses to drink Lilith's blood to absolve himself for all his crimes, and ends up collapsing into a puddle of blood. The episode ends with Bill rising from the blood as the reincarnation of Lilith (aka Billith) with Eric and Sookie being forced to run for their lives.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) had a number of sad endings.
    • "Time Enough at Last" is probably the most famous and is a perfect example of a Cruel Twist Ending. Poor Henry, the last person on Earth after a nuclear war devastates the planet, realizes he can finally read in peace after being mocked all his life for preferring literature to people. He gathers up enough books to last the rest of his life...and then his glasses fall off and shatter, leaving him functionally blind. His screams of anguish—"THAT'S NOT FAIR!"—break the heart.
    • "On Thursday We Leave for Home." Captain Benteen can't let go of his leadership of the settlers and, deluding himself, elects to stay behind while Colonel Sloan takes the settlers back to Earth. Benteen realizes too late that he truly did want to go home, and he must remain on the desert world alone for the rest of his days.
    • "And Then The Sky Was Opened." Three astronauts return from a mission, only to find themselves being totally erased from reality, with even their own parents forgetting they ever existed. The episode ends with the only evidence left of their lives—their spaceship—disappearing as well.
    • "The Big Tall Wish." A washed-up boxer finds himself finally winning again thanks to a sincere wish made by his girlfriend's young son. Despite learning what happened, he can't bring himself to believe in the power of magic and faith, which breaks the spell and leaves him a shattered wreck again.
    • "The Last Night of a Jockey." Mickey Rooney plays an aging jockey who's been banned for doping his horses. He has a [conversation with himself—an "alter ego"—who offers him a wish of his choice. The jockey wishes to "be big," and grows to eight feet tall. He brags that he'll soon be drowning in women and luck, only to grow even taller and become too big to ever race horses, or even be a member of society, ever again. The alter ego mocks him, saying that he's smaller than ever for his selfishness.
    • "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You." This episode is set in a Distant Future where everyone receives a "procedure" upon reaching adulthood that makes them beautiful, vapid, and perpetually cheerful. The protagonist doesn't want to sacrifice her individuality and, after failing to convince everyone around her why a society of mindless identical supermodels is a bad thing, tries to escape, only to be forcibly given the surgery anyway. The episode ends with the now-transformed protagonist happily declaring to her identical best friend that "the best thing in the that I look just like you!"
    • "Spur of the Moment." A young woman is chased by a mysterious, shrieking figure on a massive black horse. She successfully escapes and goes home, where her parents are trying to arrange a marriage to a wealthy young man that she doesn't love, instead preferring a poor but goodhearted suitor. One time skip later, and the young woman is now a bitter, broken person: she married her lover instead of the wealthy man, which was a terrible decision, as he's a Lazy Bum who can't be bothered to work and has ruined her father's once-prosperous land. She goes out for a ride on her massive black horse to get away from her troubles...and sees her younger self. The scene from the beginning of the episode plays out, with the woman desperately trying to keep herself from making the worst mistake of her life—but yet again failing to do so.
    • "Come Wander With Me"
    • "It's a Good Life" (but, due to the fact Happiness Is Mandatory, it's a good ending!)
    • "The Long Morrow": An astronaut is going on a long mission, and needs to be cryogenically suspended to stay alive. Trouble is, he has a beautiful young fiancee on Earth, who'll be in her forties when he returns home still in his twenties. Unable to cope with the thought of losing her, the astronaut voluntarily deactivates his cryogenic state, which means he spends the entire twenty-year mission completely alone, with only thoughts of his love giving him hope. And then, in one of the most painful cases of Poor Communication Kills ever, he returns home twenty years older...only to find that his fiancee decided to put herself in cryogenic suspension so she could stay the same age, meaning she missed out on a whole chunk of her life (and likely lost friends and possibly family) as a result. The astronaut tearfully bids her goodbye, realizing that the two of them can never be together.
    • "To Serve Man" shockingly ends (to quote from the wikipedia page): The book, To Serve Man, is actually a cookbook, and all the aliens' gifts were subtle methods of causing humans to be put in peak condition, gain weight, and become complacent, much like fattening pigs, chickens, or cows before they're shipped to a slaughterhouse. Michael Chambers doesn't find this out until he's about to board one of their ships when his secretary, who'd only recently translated the book, shows up and screams at him to get off the ship. However, it's too late and he's pushed inside. At the end, Chambers says to the audience, "How about you? You still on Earth, or on the ship with me? Really doesn't make very much difference, because sooner or later, we'll all of us be on the menu... all of us." The episode closes on him as he finally breaks his hunger strike.
    • "The Silence". An aristocratic snob wagers $500,000 with a talkative fellow member of his men’s club that he can’t refrain from speaking completely for one year, which the latter accepts. The aristocrat then imprisons him in a glass box wired with microphones that would capture any noise he made. When the man does indeed keep silent for a full year, he is released. It then turns out that the challenger never had any money in the first place, having lost it years ago, and he was too proud to admit it. He apologizes profusely for the ordeal he put the other man through and waits for a response — which doesn't come. Instead, the other man scribbles down a note for him to read: "I knew I could never hold up my end of the deal, so one year ago I had the nerves to my vocal cords severed." He then removes the scarf he’s been wearing to reveal the resultant scar on his throat. So essentially, he’s not five hundred thousand dollars richer, he can’t tell the challenger to suck on it, and he’s mute for the rest of his life.
    • "I Shot an Arrow into the Air." A group of astronauts on the first-ever manned space mission lose contact with Earth and crash on what they believe to be an asteroid somewhere in Earth's orbit. Only three of the crew- Donlin, Pierson, and Corey- survive the crash, with Corey growing increasingly desperate about their prospects of survival. One night, while Donlin has the two men look for other sources of water in the wasteland, Corey quietly tries killing Pierson and framing it as an accident before stealing his water. When Donlin orders them to go find him, they discover Pierson- barely alive- desperately trying to tell them something. He points to a mountain and draws an odd symbol in the dirt just before dying. Donlin decides to investigate, accidentally leaving behind his service rifle, which Corey takes and uses to kill him. Now alone, Corey trudges through the desert, trying to find anything to help him survive. As he crosses another ridge, he realizes what it was Pierson was trying to draw: telephone poles. The men had never left Earth at all, but crashed barely a hundred miles outside of Reno, Nevada. Realizing he killed the two of them for nothing, Corey has a breakdown.
    • "People are alike all over." Astronauts Conrad and Marcusson are set to be the first men to ever land on Mars. Marcusson is a positive thinker, believing that people are alike all over even on the Red Planet, in contrast to the much more cynical Conrad. Unfortunately, the two of them crash-land and Marcusson is fatally injured. Hearing some kind of noise outside of the ship, Conrad expects some horrible evil, only to be met with the Martians. They're kind, hospitable, and amicable. Among them is a beautiful women, who reassures him he'll be taken care of. Conrad is treated as an honored guest and given a room furnished exactly like one on Earth. He gets comfortable...only to realize the room has no windows and he finds the doors can't be opened. One of the walls slides up, revealing he's become an exhibit in a Martian zoo as an "Earth Creature in his native habitat." Now consigned to spend the rest of his life in a cage, he screams to Marcusson, telling him that he was right. People are alike everywhere.
    • "The Midnight Sun." A painter named Norma and her elderly neighbor Mrs. Bronson spend their last days together as the earth slowly spirals inward toward the sun. The heat eventually grows too much for Mrs. Bronson, who becomes collapses and dies shortly before Norma, who watches as her paintings melt. Then she wakes up to see Mrs. Bronson and a doctor, who tell her that she's been running a high fever and it's finally been broken. Outside it's snowing, and Norma's happy to finally have it cool. In reality, the earth has been spiraling away from the sun and is set to freeze over in just a few weeks.
    • "A Kind of Stopwatch." McNulty, a self-important annoying bore, receives the gift of a stopwatch that can freeze time. He intends to use it to get recognition, but after consistently trying and failing to demonstrate it, he decides to use it to rob a bank. During said robbery, the stopwatch falls out of his pocket and shatters, leaving time permanently frozen. The episode closes out as he runs around begging and screaming for somebody to move.
    • "I Am The Night-Color Me Black." In a small town in middle America, the sun fails to rise on the morning of a condemned man's execution. The man, Jagger, killed a bigoted man in self-defense, but said bigot was quite popular with the rest of the town and they're all pleased to see him hang. Jagger himself has no regrets and verbally chews them all out for it before he's hanged. The reverend realizes the town's been plunged into darkness because of their hatred; so much is festering in their hearts that it's blackening the sky and choking them, and it's unlikely it's going to stop anytime soon. In fact, after Jagger's execution, things get darker. And the episode closes with the reveal that this isn't the only place in the world that it's happening...

  • The Twilight Zone (2019):
    • In "Meet In The Middle" it turns out Annie manipulated Phil to kill her abusive husband so that she and her child can be free from him while Phil ends up getting the blame for the murder.
    • In "Ovation", having become overwhelmed by too much fame and ovation Jasmine gave up the medallion to her sister and advised her to throw it in the lake. Though she once again resumed her normal life she soon desperately wanted to get her fame back. On seeing that a new pop star had received the same type of fame Jasmine had she decided to kill her and steal it back to be famous once again. Yet in a cruel downer twist it turns out the pop star whom she killed was her sister.
  • Every season of the original run of Trailer Park Boys had downer endings played for comedic effect. Seasons ended with at least two of the boys (sometimes all 3) going to jail for drug-related charges, usually the catalyst being Lahey. The downer would always be slightly lessened by the fact that the boys did deserve it in some way, however. When the show was revived in 2014 on Netflix, season 8 had a Bittersweet Ending where the boys did indeed go to jail yet again, but this time Lahey got to bite the big one as well, and season 9 had a happy ending.
  • Twin Peaks has an ending which seems to take fiendish delight in screwing over every likable member of the cast. This was not intended to be the series' absolute finale, as a third season was planned, but after failing to regain its flagging viewership, the show was cancelled before it could be produced.
  • Tyrant: With the cancellation of the show at the end of season 3, everyone is doubtlessly worse off than where they started. After Jamal's death History Repeats and despite the promise of democracy, Barry has finally become the same tyrant their father was in the name of order with an unscrupulous General backing him, his wife Molly has been wrecked by the murder of their daughter Emma at the hands of the Caliphate and become a Lady Macbeth, Leila, Fauzi, and Deliyah have all become rebels opposing the Al Fayeed's dictatorship, and the war with the Caliphate is about to (re)start while the only moderate Islamic leader has been assassinated.

  • UFO episodes.
    • "A Question of Priorities". Commander Straker's son dies because a SHADO transport jet carrying a shipment of medicine is diverted to deliver mobiles to deal with an alien, and the alien (who apparently was planning to defect to the human side) is killed by a UFO before he can do so.
    • "The Square Triangle". SHADO knows that a woman and her boyfriend are planning to kill her husband, but they can't do anything about it. The episode ends with her and the boyfriend visiting the husband's grave.
    • "Survival". Paul Foster meets a friendly alien on the Moon, but other SHADO troops kill the alien before Foster can stop them.
    • "Flight Path". A SHADO operative is extorted into helping the aliens due to threats against his wife. He sabotages the help he gives them and gives his life to defeat their plot, not knowing that they had earlier murdered his wife in vengeance against his betrayal.
    • "The Cat With Ten Lives". A SHADO interceptor pilot under alien Mind Manipulation dies at the end when his ship crashes as he avoids ramming Moonbase.
  • Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy has one of the most morose endings the franchise has ever seen, with Absolute Tartarus still alive and having kidnapped Yullian and a mysterious other Ultraman to force the Land of Light to surrender to The Kingdom, while the Parallel Isotopes of Ultraman Belial and Ultraman Tregear are also still at large.

  • V (2009). Thanks to cancellation, humanity is essentially screwed note 
  • Veronica Mars ended with the titular character's reputation sullied by an online sex video, while her father faces prosecution for evidence tampering and probable defeat in the election for the county sheriff's office against an inept and crooked successor. And Logan likely will get a hit placed on him after beating up a mobster's son. The movie flipped this to a happy ending. However the season four continuation flips it back savagely by having Logan die immediately after he gets married to Veronica, in the last minutes of the final episode.
    • The show's stand-alone episodes had a higher ratio of downer or at least bittersweet to happy endings than most. Veronica always solved the case, but there were sometimes negative consequences. Literally every regular character was put through the wringer at some point as well.

  • Warehouse13 season 3 ends on a complete downer. Sykes is stopped, but only after bringing a bomb-like artifact into the Warehouse. Which goes off before the team can disarm it. The season ends with Steve, H.G. and Mrs. Frederick dead, the Warehouse destroyed and most of the artifacts vapourised. (There's a reset astrolabe introduced in the 4th season premiere to undo most of this, naturally, but it's pretty dark for a mostly-light show.)
  • The Wild Wild West normally avoided these, but "The Night of the Simian Terror" — in which the family of a senator is being attacked by his illegitimate son and his pet gorilla (the terror of the title) — is the show's only exception. The senator acknowledges Dimas (the wayward son) and finally gives in to the guilt that's burdening him... but by this time Dimas has been responsible for the deaths of two of the senator's three "real" sons and the family foreman, the beast has been shot and killed, and Dimas himself is also now deceased.
  • The Wire loved these. The ending of the fourth season — only one of the four main kids introduced this season had a particularly happy ending in Namond, who was adopted by Colvin; conversely, Michael and Dukie end up working in the drug trade and Randy is stuck in a group home, despite Carver's efforts to keep him out, where he's beaten up in the final montage. Elsewhere, Bubbles accidentally kills his young protege and attempts suicide, Carcetti is made to look like an idiot by the governor of Maryland, and Bodie is killed after being seen getting into a car with Officer McNulty, who seemed to have genuine respect for him and yet was inadvertently the reason for his demise.
    • And it gets worse for some characters in the fifth season. Butchie is tortured to death. Omar Little finally finds happiness in Puerto Rico but is lured back by Butchie's death and is then killed by maybe the least sympathetic character ever. Dukie is socially promoted out of middle school, but is so viciously bullied in high school that he drops out and starts shooting heroin. Michael is thought to be a snitch, so he is forced to leave Bug with a distant relative and take up Omar's old trade. Randy has become hard to the world in the group home. Johnny Fifty (from Season 2) is seen homeless. Gus the saintly newspaper editor is busted down to the copy desk while lying reporter Scott Templeton wins a Pulitzer prize. Carcetti actually wins the governorship after completely selling out, and promotes the backstabbing Rawls to state police commissioner. Daniels is promoted to Commissioner, but is blackmailed on the first day and forced to retire. Valchek is himself promoted to commissioner to replace him. The Greeks escape scot-free yet again. The prosecution of Marlo collapses, and he walks free, though his Karma Houdini is subverted in the end. McNulty has alienated the two women who loved him and lost his job (though he and Beadie may reconcile). And worst of all, Herc actually has a good job, working for the scumbag lawyer. There are some high points, but *damn*.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place:
    • "Alex Tells the World". Alex and Justin are found guilty of revealing magic to the world and are demoted back to Level 1 wizard studies, which results in everyone thinking that Max will become the family wizard.
    • Everything that happened in "Wizards Exposed" was revealed to be Superdickery at its finest, courtesy of Professor Crumb's version of a 'pop quiz'. Even Jerry remarks that 'tests have gotten a lot tougher' since his days as a wizard.
  • Wonder Woman: The show did this with back door pilots. "The Girl from Islandia" finished with Bleeker escaping and Tina, the titular Girl, being trapped and unable to return to her home. "The Man Who Could Not Die" ended with Diana and "The Man" himself, Bryce Candle, bemoaning how terrible their lives are.

  • Xena: Warrior Princess had a downer ending where the main character sacrifices herself. There was huge disagreement in the fan community as to whether or not this was appropriate for her character.
    • Don't worry, though! In the Dynamite comics, Gabrielle hit the Reset Button.
  • Season 4 of The X-Files ends with Scully terminally ill, and Mulder apparently having committed suicide upon learning that he is indirectly responsible for her illness.
    • There are several downer endings in this show. For example:
      • "Soft Light" involves a man who through an accident during an experiment is altered so that anyone who is touched by his shadow dies. He doesn't want to hurt anyone, and is afraid of being caught by the government and experimented on. The episode ends with the reveal that exactly that fate has befallen him, with little hope of rescue since as far as most people are concerned he's dead.
      • "DPO" involves a psychotic teenager with electrical powers, who kills several people. The episode ends with the teen likely to get away with it all, as the tests performed on him show that he seems to be normal, meaning that they can't prove he killed anyone — and it's made very clear that he still has his powers.
      • "Hell Money" involves a secret lottery where people who enter can either win money or lose an organ depending on their luck. It turns out that the man in charge of it has rigged the contest so that he won't ever have to pay up...but he gets away with it anyway, as most of the people involved refuse to talk, and the one witness willing to talk dies horribly before he can.
      • "Sanguinarium" has a doctor who commits multiple murders to perform a ritual that will let him change his appearance to a younger — and completely different-looking — man. He pulls it off, and the final scene shows him getting a job at a new hospital, where he will presumably eventually start killing again, as it's shown that this ritual is one he has already performed multiple times.
      • "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" features the titular character, who has the psychic ability to see exactly how people will die. Mulder and Scully team up with him to help capture a serial killer who's targeting other psychics. After Mulder successfully traps and kills the murderer, Scully heads back to Bruckman's house to thank him...only to find that he's committed suicide, as the pain and suffering that came with his power have finally broken him. Scully breaks down and cries as she holds his body.

  • Also in Zoey 101, in the episode "Chase's Grandma", Zoey and friends plan a surprise birthday party for Chase. At the same time, Zoey discovers that Chase's grandmother shares the same birthday and she is sick. Finally at the day of the party, just after Zoey prepares for it, she is told that Chase is gone, which upsets her. Michael reveals that Chase's grandmother died from, according to him, something "more than a flu". Immediately Zoey looks for Chase, catching him in the PCA's fountain, mourning his late grandmother. The final scene reveals Zoey comforting a depressed Chase.