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Tear Jerker / Burn Notice

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This show mostly goes for funny, awesome, and heartwarming...


  • Michael's first meeting with Carla in "Do No Harm" starts out the usual way: snark and flippant. It escalates into Michael Suddenly SHOUTING! about wanting Nate out of jail and demanding answers, but the sad park is when he quietly says, "I want my life back."
  • Gabriel the Doctor's story about how his daughter died.
    • "Bread Pudding".
  • "He's wrong. I didn't raise my son like that."
  • In 4x01, Michael finally sits down and gives Madeline a (somewhat limited) explanation as to what he's up to and where he's been. The heartbreaker comes when he tells her about Simon, and how he laughed and said that Michael would end up just like him. Donovan shows off his acting chops with his understated tears.
  • In season 4, episode 7: The conversation between Michael and Paul at the end of the episode shows how Paul became a damaged alcoholic from years of covert ops.
    Michael: [Holding up a large iron key] There's gotta be a story here. What? Did you do a job in a German castle or something?
    Paul: ...I don't remember anymore.
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    • Earlier in the episode, Paul casually asks Michael whether he wakes up repeatedly during the night. Paul mentions what he does still gives him nightmares and that he drinks to deal with it.
  • The entire end of "Blind Spot", where Madeline is packing for Tampa, to visit a friend she doesn't even like because she can't stand to live with Jesse when she knows who burned him and she can't stand to watch Michael lie so easily about it and Jesse is waiting for Fiona at Michael's loft with a gun to her head - he knows Michael burned him and he's taking her involvement personally. He comes within a breath of shooting her, but doesn't, letting her live so she can tell Michael and Sam he's coming for them.
  • Sam finding out his cop buddy who was framed as dirty is dead in "Dead or Alive," and having to tell the man's widow that he's dead, not missing. Only made worse by Michael's voiceover commenting that there's no way to make it easier, smoother, or faster, and that the only way to deal with that sort of pain is to decide what you're going to do to make it right.
  • The season four finale will jerk your heartstrings back and forth like a taffy pull. There's a reason it's titled "Last Stand."
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    • Michael's goodbye to Jesse is a sincere apology for getting him burned, remarking that he never said it outright, but he is truly sorry for what he did to him.
    • Fiona in tears as she hears the continued gunfire from where Michael is pinned down and runs back to what she knows is a deathtrap considering that Michael is holding a bomb to save him. Bonus points for Michael's horrified reaction when she dives in next to him.
    Michael: What the Hell are you doing here?
  • Most of the scenes in "Bloodlines" where Madeline poses as a nurse to get information out of a Yakuza boss, with Michael basically pretending to be his father. He verbally and physically abuses Maddie, even going so far as to hit her, all with the subtext that this was exactly how Frank used to treat her.
  • The sudden murder of Max in "No Good Deed," when approximately 100% of his screentime was dedicated to showing him as a competent, nice guy who was on Michael's side. The poor guy's last words are about his wife!
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  • Michael's old friend Ricky losing his brother Andre to gang violence, after Andre got out of prison and turned his life around. When Ricky confronts the man who killed his brother and tells him they've just framed him for trying to kill his own gang, the man immediately starts weaseling, trying to offer Ricky money.
    Dion: I can make it up to you, man. I can get you money. Andre's little girls, man - I'll set them up for life!
    Ricky: I want my brother back. Can you make that happen?
  • Sam and Mike's conversation in S06x 01, when they're too late to stop Fi from surrendering to the FBI. Michael has tears in his eyes as he tells Sam that Fi was the only thing he had left to fight for.
    • Even Sam sounded close to tears as he pointed out to Michael that he was about to betray his friends and country.
  • Michael visiting Fiona in prison in "Last Rites", with the both of them in tears. Michael reminds Fiona of the bar in Ireland where they met, and uses his "Michael McBride" accent from that cover.
  • Nate in 6x2 revealing that his wife left him and took their baby. Given that we know his father was abusive and the Thousand-Yard Stare Nate has, you can tell that Nate was thinking "Did I become Frank? Is that what drove her away?"
    • And then in 6x6, Nate gets killed by a sniper taking out Anson.
      • Season 7 reveals Ruth was a recovering alcoholic. So from alcoholic father to alcoholic wife. And worse, after Nate's death, she falls off the wagon and Maddie is fighting for custody of Charlie.
  • The entire scene between Tom Card and Madeline in "Desperate Measures", when Maddie begs Card to let her see the file on Nate's death, along with the bottle analogy (Frank "broke" both Michael and Nate; Nate smashed into sand, Michael shattered into a jagged edge) capped with Card's reminder that Maddie is responsible for all the good that came out of her sons.
    • Which is completely shattered by the revelation that Card has betrayed Michael and very likely ordered Nate's death.
  • One in combination with an Oh, Crap! moment in the season six two-parter. They have to bust a crooked cop who has it out for Ayn. It's hinted at with his habits, but half-way through the episode; the cop decides to reform himself, implying that he was in a depressed rut for being unable to cope with his partner's murder. The Oh, Crap! comes in when he decides to head towards an area against a team of fully armed gangsters with the intent for getting them arrested for killing him which will screw up any hope of keeping Ayn free from jail.
  • Things go to hell in "Dead to Rights" when it looks like Fiona caused a massive explosion that killed two security guards. Later at the loft, a guilty Fiona admits she lied to Sam about what she was doing and that she couldn't bear the look on his face when he found out what happened.
  • Most of "Under the Gun" is about Sam being taken hostage by Rebecca and trying to get out of this mess. Towards the end, he manages to get to a cellphone and tells Michael wear he is. After that, though, he makes another call that goes to voicemail, and he barely get the words out.
    "Hey, Elsa, it's, uh, Sammy. Listen, um, I don't think I can get there for dinner tonight, so uh... I'll try and call you later, but... in case I don't, uh, I just wanted to say I love ya, baby."
  • Michael and Sam's interaction at the end of "Down and Out." Sam realizes that his loyalty to Michael has basically cost him everything, including the woman he loves, and all Michael can do is offer an inadequate-sounding apology. Sam's been pissed at Michael ever since he decided to shoot Card, and now he's looking to be at the end of his rope.
  • Did everyone just forget the end of the season 6 2 part finale? Fi is pissed not wanting to answer anymore questions and wanting to know where Michael is only to be led right to him, she asks him if it's really finaly over and they can finaly be together in peace. Then he tells her that he made a deal, watching her completely break down made me completely lose it. I cried twice as much over that then when Nate died, don't get me wrong that was sad too but Fi crying kills me.
    • Made even worse in season seven when it's revealed that Mike was actually underselling how bad the situation was before he made the deal. The CIA was basically going to put everyone in a hole forever unless he made that deal, which was a deep cover gig that is gradually tearing Mike apart as a person.
  • The sixth season mid-finale brought us the death of Nate Westen. Honestly, it came out of nowhere and was kind of heartbreaking.
  • An episode late in season six sees Jesse's capture by Olivia Riley. She tempts him with answers he's been looking for his entire life regarding the death of his mother. The entire time, she was lying, and he almost went for it. The look on Jesse's face when he finds out is heartbreaking.
  • From the beginning of season 7, Fiona's been under the impression Michael made the deal with the CIA only to get his job back and absolutely furious with him. When she finds out the truth, her moment of flabbergasted shellshock, while brief, is absolutely heartbreaking.
    Fiona: My relationship with Michael is over. We've talked twice in the last year. I want nothing to do with him and I want nothing to do with his mission!
    Strong: Well, you should. You know the deal I made with Michael. Your freedom depends on him doing-
    Fiona: Getting exactly what he wanted in the first place! Working for the CIA.
    Strong: I think maybe Michael left out a few details.
    Fiona: ...What do you mean?
    Strong: This is about a lot more than him getting his old job back. This deal is mission-specific. If he fails to take down this terror network, you, his friends, his mother, you all go back to prison for a long, long time. Now, he didn't mention that?
    Fiona: *speechless, shakes her head, mouthing no*
    Strong: Well, maybe he wanted to protect you.
  • In "Down Range," Maddie is forced to denigrate Nate's memory in front of his bookie as part of the plan, admitting that yes, Nate was a screw-up who couldn't be relied on. Later on she privately admits to Fiona that a lot of it was true. Nate was her baby boy, but he was not without flaw, and she feels it reflects as much on her failures as a parent as on his as a person.
  • Michael's breakdown at the end of "All Or Nothing." Sure, some of it was played up to fool Sonya, but not much...It hurts all the more because right when he yells "I HAVE GIVEN UP EVERYTHING!" he throws one of Fiona's snowglobes against the wall.
  • From "Tipping Point," the moment Simon shows up. You can just about see the exact moment Michael's faith in the CIA snaps like a dry twig.
  • The series finale Maddie's heroic sacrifice and Michael and Fiona's funeral. Thankfully we learn that they live.
  • Also from the series finale, the fight between Michael and Sam. After so many years spent fighting on the same side, it's a really sad moment seeing these two best friends slugging it out. Even worse, it is crystal clear at this point that Michael is truly lost to his friends, as seen when he cheapshots Sam with an elbow to the face. The fact that Sam can barely keep himself from crying when telling Fiona that the Mike they knew is gone really drives the point home as well.
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