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Tear Jerker / Adam-12

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  • Malloy saving the baby with rescue breathing in "The Impossible Mission". He had already told Reed to tell the parents she was dead, but kept working on her until:
    [wailing sound]
    Father: Is that the ambulance?
    Reed: That's your baby.
    [Reed and the parents rush to the bedroom and see Malloy holding baby Gladys, alive]
    Malloy: You grow up and swim the Channel, Gladys. You've got the lungs for it.
  • "Tell Him He Pushed A Little Too Hard" - the episode is about two ordinary citizens, Miles Wellman and Sidney Roemer, who are neighbors and each own 50% of a boat. Malloy and Reed get called out repeatedly for disturbances because the two men can't agree on who gets to use their boat, and it escalates from shouting to vandalism to a fight. Both the officers and the men's wives are exasperated over the issue. But on the fourth call the officers arrive, hear a woman scream and find Miles lying on the ground in Sidney's garage. According to the denouement, Miles came at Sidney with a boat hook so Sidney hit him in the head with a fire extinguisher. All Sidney can keep saying is that he was tired of Miles "pushing him around" and asking if Miles is all right. When the police receive word that Miles was dead on arrival at the hospital, Malloy tells the detective to "tell him he pushed back a little too hard". Four lives are destroyed because two men couldn't find a way to settle their differences peaceably.
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  • "Elegy For A Pig" full stop. Malloy's emotion over his lost partner and the fact that his death seems meaningless and will be forgotten by most people soon. The episode is still very relevant in society today.
  • The episode with two kids who are sent to Los Angeles by their mother who no longer wanted them and thought they'd get better care there. Just try not to tear up at the boy telling Malloy he doesn't want to grow up yet.
  • In one episode, a cop saves Malloy's life, but Malloy later learns that this cop is crooked and using Malloy to give him cover for his corruption. Malloy's shock and anger when the pedestal breaks are heartwrenching.
  • In one episode, a cop who had been hors de combat the previous eight years tries to catch up with changes in procedures, but is unable to in time to avoid spoiling several cases, and a near-tragedy ensues when they have to let a murderous stalker go as a result. The older cop is absolutely devastated at how he isn't useful anymore.
  • Not an episode or scene, but still very much related to the series. Martin Milner's End of Watch broadcast Here.
    • "Be advised, 1-Adam-12 is no longer answering radio calls. Martin Milner, end of watch."
    • Made even more poignant as the woman delivering the broadcast was Sharon Claaridge, a Real Life LAPD dispatcher who had been recruited by Jack Webb to play the voice of dispatch throughout the show's run.
  • During the early seasons, Reed was especially prone to letting those who injure (sometimes mortally) or abuse children get to him, and the scripts were written in ways that it was meant to evoke emotional reaction from the audience:
    • "I Feel Like a Fool, Malloy," where Reed rescues a 4-year-old girl who — after a wild game of hide-and-seek with her babysitter — wanders into a swimming pool at her home, thinking that would be the perfect place to hide. Sadly, the girl went underwater and never came back up. After the girl is taken away by ambulance, a soaking wet Reed comments that it's clear to him the little girl will likely die.
    • Reed is also emotionally distraught after his meeting with a 6-year-old girl, Charlie, in the late first-season episode "He Was Trying to Kill Me" ... a tale of child abuse and neglect. In this case, Charlie is beaten by her mother — a wannabe, drugged up model and her long line of boyfriends — and left alone in an unkempt apartment to care for her 9-month-old sister. At least Reed is able to put things into perspective after he and Malloy talk about what happens to Charlie and her sister now (they are taken into police custody while the mother is charged with neglect and (presumably) stripped of her parental rights). Back at the station, Reed presses Malloy for answers as to why no one seemed to care about Charlie or her baby sister ... and Malloy doesn't even seem to know why. ("You just said it all, partner," he said ... perhaps in his own way stating that drugs and their own selfish goals and priorities and a plain lack of parenting skills by people who have no business being parents are primary reasons.)
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    • "Pig Is a Three Letter Word" from early in Season 2, focusing on a particularly rough day for Reed. He had just brought a sex offender into the station (his first such arrest) and, by their conversation, the suspect had brutally raped and beaten a 5-year-old boy to the point where he was in critical condition. The kid later dies on the operating room. While viewers are left to imagine the parents' shock, anger, and grief, and wishes for the fate of his killer, it is Reed's reaction that we see — him punching a locker door in frustration and breaking down emotionally — that, at this phase in his career (and it was something that would change 100-fold later in the series) shows that he takes these cases personally ... way too personally.
  • The ending of "Suspect No. 1". Charlie Bishop, an elderly "paper hanger"(a person who passes bad checks) who was Malloy's first arrest has been out of prison for a month. He calls to meet Malloy and weeps, telling him he can't handle the outside world and wants to go back "home" to prison. Basically he's like "Brooks" from The Shawshank Redemption, institutionalized. He asks Malloy what Federal prison is like and Malloy tells him more money is spent on prisoners with better food and facilities. Malloy becomes worried that Charlie is going to do something to get himself put in a federal prison. Reed and Malloy find a halfway house where Charlie can live and work. Later they get a call of someone robbing a savings and loan, a crime which is a federal offense and it's Charlie. He comes out with a bag of money and what seems like a gun in his pocket. Despite being ordered to hold his fire, the security guard who was out to lunch shoots Charlie. It turned out Charlie only had a smoking pipe in his pocket. As he's dying he looks up and asks Malloy if it was him that shot him and he tells him no. Charlie's last words are "I just wanted to go home."