Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Criminal Minds

Go To

    open/close all folders 

     Season 1 

  • "The Fox": When Frank Fielding (a mentally delayed man, who is the brother of one of the first victims) realizes that he saw the killer, and misinterpreted his sister saying "help me" as "go away". His cries of anguish as he beats his hands against his head and has to be restrained by four of the BAU agents is just heart-wrenching. Additional Fridge Horror: It's mentioned that he's bipolar and off his meds. Combined with the guilt over his sister's death, he is at very high risk for suicide.
    • Tony Todd playing the Red Herring. On the surface it's Nightmare Fuel, because of his behavior around Reid and the fact that it's Tony Todd. However, his behaviour is really because he's in anguish that his ex-wife and children have been slaughtered. A crime he himself was accused of committing.
    • The end of the episode. The killer has murdered two families, taking the husbands' wedding rings as trophies. The team manages to save a third family and apprehend him. They need to find his trophies to link him to the previous two families. Hotch locates the killer's trophy box and dumps out its contents, revealing EIGHT wedding rings. The killer had already murdered six other families that had never been linked together. If they had, they could have caught him much sooner.
  • "Poison" opens with a man who starts hallucinating an attacker and naturally fights back... except it's his son! His breakdown when they're questioning is heartbreaking.
  • "Riding the Lightning":
    • Throughout that whole episode, Sarah Jean is just the nicest and kindest woman on death row ever. She tells Reid that his mother should be proud of his being a doctor so young, she tells Gideon that he has a lovely smile, and she and the Warden get along so well that he's willing to talk to her about his children. And despite the fact that she was innocent, she still dies.
    • The last half of the episode. Particularly that one point where Sarah Jean begs Gideon to let her be killed in the electric chair in order to give her son, whom she claimed she killed to protect him from her sadistic husband, a better life. She stood for 15 years in prison and then dies to protect her son. This may be the most selfless act evident in the series to date. The last ten minutes are the worst part.
      Sarah Jean: Would it be too much to ask if yours is the last face I see?
  • "The Fisher King, Part 1":
    • The episode begins with the team going on vacation (excepting Garcia and J.J.). Elle and Morgan are at a tropical resort, Gideon's in a remote cabin, Hotch is home with his wife, and Reid... is visiting his mother at the sanatorium.
    • This is where the start of Gideon's breakdown that leads to him leaving the BAU begins; his cabin, as he describes to Hotch, is his sanctuary - the one place that is completely isolated from his job, where he can get away from it. That all changes once the Fisher King has an Asshole Victim's head delivered right to his front door. Gideon laments that now he has no safe haven.

     Season 2 
  • "The Fisher King, Part Two". Near the end, Reid comes to tell his mother that she helped to save the life of a kidnapped girl, and she doesn't recognize him and thinks she's still working as a teacher.
  • "P911". The breaking point is the end, when the woman sees her kidnapped son for the first time since he was one year old. He introduces her to his action figure, named Jack, and (badly) holding back tears, she says, "Hello, Jack. My name is Jackie."
  • "The Perfect Storm":
    • The father of one of the victims died of a heart attack after witnessing the video of his daughter's rape and murder.
    • The Guilt-Ridden Accomplice committing suicide in front of his wheelchair-bound father.
  • Nathan Harris sitting in church, thinking the only way to help people in the future is to kill himself in the episode "Sex, Birth, Death". At the end of the episode he picks up a prostitute and and, instead of playing out his fantasy, he attempts suicide to prevent himself from hurting others. He fails.
  • In "Profiler, Profiled", Morgan is accused of murder and has been refusing to explain parts of his past that would clear him. The team still believes in his innocence, even when he apparently breaks out of his cell and escapes. Then we find out that he broke out to go and talk to a boy that is being sexually abused... by the same man that sexually abused Morgan as a child.
  • "Revelations": Especially for all the Spencer Reid fangirls out there who need to run and purchase a box of tissues whenever this episode comes on.
    • One moment in particular, that verges on horrific: Gideon is talking to Reid over a one-way video feed, telling him he's strong and he can hold out, and Reid just... stares blankly at the screen, almost catatonic, looking like he's already broken.
    • Garcia has been trying to trace Hankel's video feed, and then she ends up having to watch him torturing and killing Reid.
  • "Distress":
    • To anyone who has family that survived war, it's hard not to watch this episode and not remember the struggles and challenges that they have to contend with. It's a saddening and sobering reminder of the price those in the military pay in serving their country.
    • Considering that this is one of the episodes where Reid really starts to struggle with the aftermath of his own abduction in a pretty classic PTSD way, this blink-and-you'll-miss-it exchange between him and Hotch takes on a whole new light:
      Reid: He's definitely suffering from PTSD.
      Hotch: He's trapped in his own head, reliving the worst moment of his life over and over again. He must be terrified.
      Reid: Y-yeah.
    • A veteran with PTSD believes himself to be in a war zone. When the cops find him he sees a young boy and, believing that there is shooting going on, he runs toward the child and is shot when his action is misconstrued. As he dies he can only ask if the boy is all right.
      Roy Woodridge: It wasn't safe.
      Gideon: I know.
      Roy Woodridge: Is the boy all right?
      Gideon: Yes, sergeant... Yes, the boy's all right.
  • "Jones":
    • The UnSub's backstory is heartbreaking. She was raped by two men, and La Montagne Sr. was the only person who believed her, which is why she contacted him. The trauma led to her dropping out of medical school and killing men, writing that they were asking to be stabbed, ripped, killed, just like they claimed she was asking for it.
    • At the end, William LaMontagne Jr. talks the woman who's been killing the men down by telling her his name and saying that she knew his father. The woman, who's been close to tears, cries when she finds out that William LaMontagne Sr. died during Hurricane Katrina.
  • "Ashes and Dust":
    • While not the most extreme of tearjerkers, the woman in the beginning of "Ashes and Dust" has her own depressingly optimistic moment. She has suffered burns so severe across her body that Hotch tells Prentiss that they should lie about the death of her family, because she will not survive to find out otherwise. Prentiss is barely able to keep up the lie without crying, and the woman passes her final few moments of life believing that she and her family will live Happily Ever After.
      Doctor: I'm giving her as much painkiller as I can. She asked about her husband and son. She passed out again before I had to answer.
      Prentiss: She doesn't know?
      Doctor: Whatever you tell her, she won't live long enough to know different.
      [and not much later...]
      Mrs. Cutler: Where are they? Are they okay?
      Hotch: They're fine. They're just outside in the waiting room.
      Mrs. Cutler: I don't want them to see me like this. I'm not ready.
      Hotch: Agent Prentiss will tell them. I can stay with you until you're ready.
      Mrs. Cutler: I'd like that.
      Of course, it might border a little bit on Fridge Heartwarming. If you believe in an afterlife, you could say that her family is waiting for her outside, and that she is about to see them, and that all they're waiting for is for her to be ready. And no, they won't have to see her like this, which is what she was afraid of.
    • Hotch's interactions with Evan Abbey. He's able to relate to him as an absent father who works for the government in some way. It gets even more tragic when Hotch is informed that Evan is dying from leukemia, causing him to relate more when his own father was suffering in the same way. Not to mention Hotch being forced to watch the benzene fire, knowing that the man he's related to so much performed a Heroic Sacrifice and a Murder-Suicide.
  • Depending on where the turns of events in the second half of "Open Season" leave you, the episode can be downright agonizing to watch. The younger UnSub dying and Gideon comforting him. Him begging Gideon not to hurt his brother because he is all he has left and him knowing his brother was shot and killed before dying himself. Remember he and his brother kidnapped, hunted, and killed people in the woods - but Gideon's choice to treat him as a panicked and lonely dying kid in need of consolation in the circumstances despite knowing all that still manages to cast an oddly sincere and poignant light on the scene.

     Season 3 
  • "In Name And Blood": Gideon's goodbye letter to Reid, ending with the words, "I guess I'm looking for it again. The belief in happy endings." and set to "Barely Holding On" by Wes Nickson.
  • "Seven Seconds":
    • The episode has a pretty major one when they're trying to revive Katie Jacobs. Not to mention the mother pleading over the mall intercom to get Katie back.
    • The killer of Jessica Davis is still out there, and who knows if or when justice is brought for her.
  • In "Identity", the main investigator working with the team promises one of the yet-to-be-found victims' young son that they will find his mother, as the main suspect has committed suicide and there is chance the woman is still alive as her body hasn't been found yet, only to find the woman killed by the perpetrator accomplice soon after.
  • All of "Penelope". Garcia almost dying on the table. Morgan not picking up his phone and his absolute despair at finding out Garcia's been shot. Battle trying again and Morgan pushing a crying Garcia into the corner and giving her his gun. Garcia talking about how everything has to happen for a reason, and if she stops believing that, then nothing makes sense.
  • "True Night": This is one of the few episodes where the UnSub isn't evil, leading to several of these moments.
    • The trigger: Frankie Muniz (of Malcolm in the Middle) plays a comic book artist who gets caught by a gang and forced to watch as they gang-rape and kill his pregnant fiancée, which causes him to have a psychotic break and run around systematically butchering the perps. Rossi says it best regarding said perps: they're animals.
    • The heart-wrenching way the UnSub says "they made me watch".
    • The final scene has him sitting in a padded cell, calling his dead fiancee's cell phone over and over, just so he can listen to the away message. "Hey, this is Vicky! I can't come to the phone right now because I'm out living my life." He thought up the away message for her.
  • "Birthright" has one of the victims, Julie, plead to another victim, Molly, to promise that if Julie doesn't make it out alive and Molly does, she'll never tell their parents what the UnSub did to them. Right afterwards, she's dragged away to be killed by the UnSub, with Molly pleading at the UnSub and screaming for Julie as she cries out that she will keep that promise.
  • Reid's face in "3rd Life" after he watches Jack Vaughn kill his daughter's kidnapper. Like the saddest puppy in the world. The way he follows it by whimpering, "I tried... I tried, but I couldn't..." doesn't help.
  • "Damaged":
    • The ending, when Rossi says goodbye to the Galen siblings, having finally caught the man who murdered their parents twenty years earlier.
    • The arrest of the UnSub is difficult to watch. "Daddy!... Daddy!" It's hard not to feel bad for Joe the clown with the state he's in, especially since he has the mental capacity of a young child and the only reason he went to the Galen house was because he wanted to play with the eldest daughter. Unfortunately he went into the parents' room by mistake and the father, believing Joe was there to hurt them, attacked in self defense. Joe, being a rather a large man with no idea how strong he really is, retaliated out of fear and ended up killing the parents. Then there's the fact that Joe's father (the circus owner) tried to protect him by cleaning up the crime scene, taking Joe away (likely because he knew Joe would probably never survive prison), and making Joe pick a toy for each of the siblings from the circus booth in an attempt to have Joe make amends to the Galens. Poor Joe and his father.
  • "Elephant's Memory":
    • The audience is led to believe that a sympathetic, teenaged UnSub is about to get cut to pieces in Suicide by Cop. And then they start playing Johnny freaking Cash.
    • Reid tells Morgan about a particularly cruel prank played on him in high school; while in the library, a girl told him that another girl, the prettiest in school, wanted to meet him later. Going to the meeting place, Reid found the girls, the entire football team, and several other students all there. Stripped naked, Reid was tied to the goal post and despite all his begging, no one helped him. When he finally got loose around midnight and went home he discovered his mother, who was having one of her episodes, didn't even notice he was missing. Did we mention he was only twelve at the time?
    • Reid, (poor Reid), his speech at the "Beltway Clean Cops" meeting.
      Reid: That kid's face is really, uh, stuck in my brain. It's really, uh, I can't... and I... I wanna forget about him, and... I want to escape. note 
  • The situation of the wife in "The Crossing". She was submitted to her husband's psychological abuse for years. Her kids treat her like dirt because she's "a poor housewife". She doesn't go to their functions and games because she thinks she'll embarrass them. She lived in constant stress, day after day, until she finally snapped and killed her husband. The most difficult part to watch is when she tells the Federal prosecutor why she cleaned the blood in her room after the kill: her husband would be furious if she let the police in the house with that mess.

     Season 4 
  • "Mayhem":
    • Morgan and Garcia on the phone, when Morgan is in the ambulance with the bomb about to go off:
    Morgan: There's something I really want you to know, Garcia.
    Garcia: Save it! Just get out!
    Morgan: No, no, no, I'm not quite there yet.
    Garcia: Morgan!
    Morgan: Just listen to me.
    Garcia: Morgan, please!
    Morgan: You know what you are, Garcia? [the bomb goes off]
    Garcia: Derek?!
    Morgan: [having jumped out at the last minute] Garcia? I'll tell you what you are to me. You're my God-given solace. Woman, you promise me one thing - whatever happens, don't you ever stop talking to me.
    Garcia: [crying] I can't right now, cause I'm mad at you.
    Morgan: That's all right. I can wait.
  • The end of "Normal" is gut-wrenching at least. The UnSub had a psychotic break after his youngest daughter died after being hit by a car, and was convinced everyone blamed him. The climax of the episode has him forcing his family to get into his car to run away when his motive is revealed, and he snaps and crashes his car at high speed after his wife screams at him for killing their little girl. He's caught when he gets out of the wreck and tells the police his family are still inside. Then he realizes they were dead all along, because he'd already killed them. He completely breaks down when he remembers and is arrested screaming "I'm sorry, I'm sorry".
  • "Zoe's Reprise": Zoe's mother's reaction to her daughter being murdered. Any parent who has a child would sympathize with her, knowing that learning about their child being murdered would provoke a similar reaction to hers, if not worse.
  • "Pleasure Is My Business": The ending unites Alas, Poor Villain and Sympathetic Murderer.
    Megan Kane: You're the first man who didn't let me down. Will you stay with me?
    Hotch: Yes.
    Megan Kane: Promise?
    Hotch: I promise.
  • The ending of "Demonology", with Prentiss standing outside the church while the snow falls. It becomes even more poignant with her quote from Joyce's The Dead.
  • "Conflicted":
    • Adam/Amanda. Abused by his step-father until he developed DID. The second personality, Amanda, regards it as her job to protect him and takes over when she realizes that, if he can be found competent, he'll go to jail for the crimes she committed. Reid's desperate "Adam?" and Morgan replying "He's gone" is heartbreaking.
    • You eventually find out that the Framing Device has been Reid talking to Amanda the whole time. Some time has passed, and she is clearly still keeping Adam locked away.
  • Re-watching "A Shade of Gray" once you know The Reveal. Those scenes at the beginning become absolute wet-works. The family holding a press conference, asking for the return of their son that they know will never come back. The way the mother leaves the interview with Prentiss, saying only "I have to lie down." The husband and wife embracing each other the whole time, trying to keep up their act while hiding the grief in their hearts. One more thing that could possibly be terrifying instead is watching the reactions of their other son throughout the episode. The way he abates his gaze at the press conference, or leaves the room to go play during the interview... they seem poignant at first, but once you know he's the UnSub, the sadness becomes something else. This kid has absolutely no remorse for his actions, and his innocent kid brother died meaninglessly. Seeing the callous actions of the surviving brother just makes the victim's death more horrible to stomach.
  • The entire last half of "The Big Wheel" is one big tearjerker. Especially when Vincent gives the speech to Stan before dying, and when Stan finds out that Vincent was the one who killed his mother, and how innocent and caring Vincent really is. This becomes especially painful when you realize that Vincent was so traumatized by his mother's death that he was forced to relive it - to take on his father's role - over... and over... and over... The sentence about taking on his father's role is even more tragic when you consider that at the end of their ride on the Ferris wheel, even after Vincent has all but confessed to murdering Stan's mom, the boy still tells Vince "I wish you were my dad." Now meaning that Stan has witnessed the deaths of both his mother and his "father".

    This exchange is especially heartbreaking, particularly when you take into account the fact that the team has figured out that Vincent is devolving because something happened to make him realize how terrible the things he was doing were — and the fact that Stan is blind.
    Vincent: You said that you wished you were dead. You can't ever think that. [...] You're going to hear some things about me soon. You're going to hear some bad things. But you can't ever wish to be dead. You can't do that. Because you're special.
    Stan: How am I special?
    Vincent: Because you helped me to see.
    After four years of sexual sadists, sociopaths, and every other kind of disturbed individual, Vince is probably the most tragic villain yet. While his acts are horrible, he's really a victim of his traumatic past and his mental illness, and is so consumed with remorse for his actions that even when he falls back into his old habit, he provides evidence for the police and FBI to use to catch him.
  • "Amplification" has Reid leaving a recorded message for his mother to hear in the event that his being infected with anthrax proves fatal. Understandably, he has trouble keeping it together, as does the audience.
    Reid: Hi Mom, this is Spencer. I just, um, I just really want you to know that I love you and I, I need you to know that I spend every day of my life proud to be your son.
  • The ending of "...And Back" has a very powerful impact when Hotch narrates the cost of the murders. The killer (who was manipulated by his quadriplegic brother into killing and had the mentality of a child, so he didn't understand what he was doing) was gunned down by the cops, a victim's brother (a disabled war vet who crashed into a guard station just to get the FBI to actually look for the victims, including his sister) will go to prison for avenging his sister's death, and the surviving victim (a teenager who befriended the man-child just before the police gunned him down) has to live with the trauma of what happened and lost the last of her innocence. When the team is flying home, you know that this case affected them deeply.

     Season 5 
  • "Nameless, Faceless": This episode is one of the saddest.
    • The UnSub is one of the most tragic in the show, a grieving father who blames the doctor he's targeting for his son's death (his son was brain dead and on life support when he arrived). He tries to commit Suicide by Cop.
    • The part when Hotch has to say goodbye to Jack at the end.
  • Hotch watching Jack playing in the playground through a webcam in the beginning of "Reckoner". Oh, Hotch. Also when Garcia chokes back tears as Hotch says "Happy birthday, buddy", to Jack on the camera.
  • In "Cradle to Grave", the moment when the grandmother realizes that her grandchild's adopted parents are the child's parents, and that taking the child away will break their heart and the child's. While her husband is still determined to get their murdered daughter's child back, the grandmother immediately has regrets.
  • Tamer than most other examples on the page, but it can be quite upsetting to see Paul Davies, AKA Dante, from "The Performer" break down in tears in his manager's arms - and this is before he realizes that the murders are linked to him in any way. Watching him spend the episode desperately trying and failing to keep up his celebrity alter ego and knowing that it's driving him to drinking and taking drugs until he can't even remember what he spends his nights doing makes you wonder about the mental states of real life celebrities. Davies even asks if he has to attend a party "as him", and the actor's tone makes it clear that Dante isn't considered a character any more; he's a person who's taken over and completely ruined the life of a performer who used to genuinely enjoy their work.
  • The soldier in "Outfoxed" coming home from the war to discover that his whole family has been murdered while he was away.
  • "100". All of it. Especially THAT phone call, where Hotch listens to Foyet torturing his ex-wife and son, and as Foyet kills Haley. If you aren't crying then, you sure will be when Hotch gets to the house, finds Haley's body, and beats Foyet to death with his own hands, then sobs over Haley's body while Morgan holds him back. The entire episode seems to delight in ripping your heart out through your chest.
  • "The Slave of Duty" takes things to an extreme for Hotch and Jack. Especially the funeral, Hotch's eulogy and quoting from "Pirates of Penzance", the team having to leave the funeral to work a case, and Jack watching the home movies of himself and Haley, so he doesn't forget her.
  • "Mosley Lane": "He was alive yesterday?!"
    • Just the way Stephan's father says it as it dawns on him that his son had been alive all those years, only to die just before the children were rescued.
    • Let's face it, the whole end of that episode. Dry eyes are impossible.
  • "Exit Wounds"
    • Garcia, when one of the victims dies in her arms, and later, when she and Morgan discuss if her being able to handle blood in person means she's losing her humanity.
      • Garcia explaining that the reason she ran to the dying victim despite the danger it put her in was because when she was bleeding out from being shot, she despaired that the last person she would ever see would be the person who killed her and she couldn't let someone else die believing the same thing.
    • This episode has one of the woobiest UnSubs ever who kills people who leave town because of SEVERE abandonment issues and has a home life that redefines 'terrible'.
    • Also, when suspect Josh is told that while he had been locked up, the serial killer struck again, which means it's not him. Unfortunately, the victim was his mother, his lone surviving relative. Kudos to Eric Ladin (Josh).
  • The entire ending dialogue in "Uncanny Valley," culminating in one of many Crowning Moments of Awesome for Reid:
    Samantha: "Don't leave me."
    Victim: (just recovering from paralysis) "Let us go."
    Samantha: "I can't."
    Reid: (walking into the room) "Samantha? Hi. My name's Spencer. I'm with the FBI. Listen, I know what your father did to you, and I want you to know that he can never ever hurt you again."
    Samantha: (mechanically) "He never touched me, he's a good father, he loves me."
    Reid: "I know that he probably forced you to say those things, punished you if you got it wrong, send you to the 'room with the lightning'?"
    Samantha: "Yeah."
    Reid: "The dolls that your father gave you, after he hurt you, what would happen to them?"
    Samantha: "He... he kept them in his office with the other toys."
    Reid: "And that's where he let you play with them?"
    Samantha: "When I moved out, I had to take my friends with me, I couldn't... leave them behind."
    Reid: "Of course. So you went to get them. What did... what did you find?"
    *Flashback of adult Samantha walking into her father's office, seeing him stroking the hair of a little girl holding her dolls*
    Reid: "Yeah. He gave them to another girl, didn't he? (Samantha nods) you want them back?"
    Samantha: "He couldn't. He said they were gone for good."
    Reid: "He lied. He's been lying to you for a very long time. Do you want to see them?"
    Samantha: "... Can I?"
    Reid: "Yeah! Yeah, do you want to play with them?"
    * Reid wheels out a child's suitcase and opens it, showing Samantha's dolls. She walks over with such a smile of childish delight as to inspire Manly Tears. She picks one up and starts to cry while cops and paramedics stream in.*
    Reid: "Listen, Samantha? You need to go with these men. But your friends can go with you, okay?"
    Samantha: "They won't take... they won't take them away?"
    Reid: "I promise, no one will ever take them away again."
  • In "Roadkill," Coakley realizing that he was responsible for his wife's death, resulting in him driving off the cliff. As he goes over the edge, he thinks he's holding his wife's hand again.
  • In "Risky Business," when the teenaged UnSub who turns out to be the real UnSub's most tortured victim and fully intends on killing himself to escape it all, Christopher gives Garcia his earring.
    • J.J. pushing the case and having a ridiculous amount of insight as to why she believes the victims didn't commit suicide, revealing at the end that her sister killed herself when J.J. was eleven after giving her the necklace she'd worn throughout the entire episode.
  • Poor Jodie Hatchett in "Solitary Man." Not only was her father the criminal of the week, he ends up killing himself in the end. Not only did she lose her mother sometime back, but she lost her father also. It's even sadder that even if he had lived, he would had been thrown in jail. Even if he didn't do those horrifying acts, they will never really be a true family as his job prevented him from properly taking care of her and Child Services agreed that wasn't a good idea, deemed him as a unfit parent and had her be put in foster care until she could be adopted. The only reason why her father did these things was so he can find the perfect woman to be a mother to Jodie so he didn't had to be separated from her. Not only that, the family that was going to adopt changed their minds and only thanks to an aunt taking her in that she didn't have to stay in the foster care system and have a chance at normal life.

     Season 6 

  • Just a little thing, but Morgan shouting at Garcia for not doing well enough in "The Longest Night". Scary and saddening because he'd never done that before, and it showed just what a bad place Morgan was in. He makes up for it later, though, by begging for her forgiveness.
  • The last ten minutes of "JJ." Seriously, show? Did you really have to have J.J. have a heart-to-heart with Garcia, with both of them crying, and then go to a montage that was basically "Why J.J. Is Awesome"? *cries*
    • The part where J.J. says goodbye to the BAU family with Reid quietly repeating "They can't just take you away."
    • Also the bit after Ellie is rescued, and we learn from her mother that she's been blaming herself for getting kidnapped even though she is in no way to blame.
  • The UnSub's backstory in "Devil's Night". Everyone he knew and loved, including his girlfriend, abandoned him after a fire left half of his body horribly disfigured. At the end, he discovers that he and his girlfriend had conceived a child before the accident, and seeing his son is what gets him to surrender.
    • Shortly before this, we have this dialogue during the stand off.
    Hotch: You move, you die.
    UnSub: I'm already dead!
  • "Into the Woods" One Word: Sad. Sad made even worse by the UnSub getting away.
    • The scene after the little girl is found by Emily's team. She's sitting in her mother's lap sobbing as she tells them that she left her brother behind at his own request so that she could escape and the mother, also sobbing, holds her tight and tells her she did the right thing.
  • "Coda": for some reason, Ali Sparks' breakdown over her husband's body was especially heart-wrenching. Dead bodies are pretty common on this show, but this one is especially painful.
    • Not to mention seeing Sammy at the end of this episode.
  • "Valhalla": Emily's tearful, surreptitious departure from the BAU. Also, she has a few sweet interactions with her teammates, including the following exchange with Garcia:
    Garcia: Are you okay?
    Emily: Oh... um... yeah. I'm good.
    Garcia: I'm not a profiler, but...
    Emily: Don't start. (sees Garcia's hurt look) I'm sorry. I'm—I'm gonna be all right.
    Garcia: Okay. I'm just really worried about you. The flu is going around... (new thought) Are you pregs?!
    Emily: (laughs) No. No, I just... I'm not sleeping. I'm having this nightmare. It's a recurring nightmare. There's a hill and there's a little girl on top of the hill... She's, like, six years old, dark hair... and she's just dancing in the sun. But somehow I know she's waiting for me, so I start to walk up the hill, but the hill gets steeper and steeper, and by the time I climb to the top, the little girl's gone. And I, I look everywhere for her, and when I can't find her, I start to panic, and I panic because I know what's waiting out there for her. I know what the world can do to a girl who only sees beauty in it. Like you. (Garcia is taken aback, touched.) Somehow, you... you always make me smile. And I don't think I've ever thanked you for that.
  • "Lauren." Just... "Lauren." To explain, Emily goes rogue to keep the team safe, hunting down a terrorist she believed she'd put away years ago. She's captured by Doyle, branded, tortured, and almost killed, but Morgan gets to her in time. The team (with the exceptions of Hotch and J.J.) are told that she died on the operating table, in order to put her into Witness Protection. The ending where we see the team at her funeral physically hurts to watch.
    • All of Emily's flashbacks from her time undercover. She seems genuinely heartbroken that she can't have a life as Doyle's wife and Declan's mother; especially once viewers realize that it's effectively the second time she's given up her chance at having a child.
    • The moment when it dawns on them why Prentiss has been keeping quiet about this problem:
    Reid: Why didn't she tell us? We're her family. We could have helped her!
    Rossi: Doyle has been KILLING families...
    • The team's reaction, particularly when Reid tried to leave and J.J. stops him.
    Reid: I didn't get to say good-bye. (J.J. embraces him; he starts sobbing on her shoulder)
    • Also, during her one-woman stakeout, Prentiss chokes up to hear the following voicemail message:
    Garcia: Come home. Please. God, Emily, what did you think? That we would just let you walk out of our lives? I am so furious with you right now! But then I think about how scared you must be, hiding in a dark place all alone. But you're not alone, okay? You are not alone. We are in that dark place with you, we are waving flashlights and calling your name, so if you can see us, come home. If you can't, then... then you stay alive. Because we're coming.
    • This is made a million times more touching simply because of how REAL it is. For anyone who's ever had a friend in danger you can't contact, or a missing person... it just hit the nail on the head so devastatingly perfectly.
  • "Hanley Waters". Sad in the parts revolving around the team elaborating grief for the events of Lauren. Sadder when the UnSub has her husband express his grief for their son's death. Extremely sad when the UnSub finally breaks down when Hotch talks to her about her child.
    • Reid's reaction to grief counseling is particularly gutting. "I mean, what are we doing? If we can't even protect one another, then what's the point of it?" Of course protecting one another is their first priority.
    • As well, the title is quite poignant. Everyone remembers the UnSub, but never the victims.

     Season 7 
  • Morgan's eyes during Prentiss' return.
  • Reid acting horribly cold towards J.J. in "Proof", because he feels like she betrayed his trust. And then we find out how he reacted to Prentiss' death.
    Reid: I trusted you. I came to your house ten weeks in a row, crying over losing a friend. And not once did you have the decency to tell me the truth.
    J.J.: I couldn't.
    Reid: You couldn't, or you wouldn't?
    J.J.: No, I couldn't.
    Reid: What if I had started taking Dilaudid again? Would you have let me?
    J.J.: But... you didn't.
    Reid: Yeah. I thought about it.
    • Especially shocking because Reid never, ever says the word "Dilaudid" out loud. The whole team knows that he's in recovery, but he NEVER talks about it.
    • And later, Prentiss:
    "You mourned the loss of a friend. I mourned the loss of six."
  • From the same episode, Matt as he talks to Cy and learns just what a Psychopathic Manchild he is (he knew Cy was mentally handicapped, but always thought he was completely harmless). Cy tells him (in his usual cheerful, childish voice), how he "did things" with Matt's daughter and then burned away her ability to feel with sulfuric acid, and makes it clear that he's always hated his supportive and patient brother. When Matt eventually asks why Cy didn't hurt him instead, Cy then tells him that he planned to burn away his hearing, after making him listen to his daughter and wife's screaming. Ultimately, Matt forces himself to watch the tape Cy made of torturing his daughter, and tries to close his eyes and cover his ears when Cy burns her hands.
  • In "Dorado Falls", the UnSub, Luke Dolan, was a highly decorated Navy SEAL who had gotten out of the service but had walked into his former CO's tech business and executed everyone in the building. He then kidnaps a high-ranking General and behaves like he's suffering from a paranoid delusion that there is a massive government conspiracy that only he can unravel. He later visits his parents, but kills them after he believes that they are impostors. Reid deduces that he has Capgras Syndrome after suffering head trauma in a recent car accident, which makes him believe that everyone he sees is an impostor or fake. He is talked down by his wife and daughter via intercom and he surrenders peacefully. He is convinced to keep his eyes closed and is ready to be blindfolded to head to the hospital when his daughter enters the room and speaks to him. He opens his eyes and sees his wife and daughter and instantly believes them to be impostors. He is then dragged from the room kicking and screaming. It is heavily implied that now that the UnSub has connected his family into his delusion that it will be almost impossible for him to ever see them as "real" again.
  • The revelation of the UnSub's motive in "Painless". If only the school principal had chosen him to appear on TV. If only the survivors had the balls to tell the truth that it was the UnSub who had saved their lives during the original bombing. If only the bomb had not made the UnSub unable to feel pain. If only the girl had invited him to join the survivors.
  • The last scene in "From Childhood's Hour." Rossi's first wife reveals that she has ALS, and she asks him to be the one to pull the plug when the time comes. Especially jarring for Rossi since the case they just finished working dealt with an UnSub who thought he was helping children by killing their mothers.
    • Even more poignant and heartbreaking when you remember that Rossi is Catholic. Suicide, even assisted suicide, is a mortal sin. He's now faced with a hell of a Sadistic Choice; does he watch the woman he loves die and do nothing to help her, or does he commit a mortal sin and help kill her?
  • The third mother in "From Childhood's Hour," saying truly awful things to her teenage daughter to provoke the girl into killing her, because she believes it's the only way the UnSub won't kill them both. She's in tears even as she does it.
  • The end of "Epilogue," where Rossi's ex-wife Caroline takes the assisted-suicide decision out of Dave's hands by revealing she did it ten minutes ago. She dies in his arms, which is what she wanted.
    • The heart-wrenching continues when Caroline asks Dave "will he be there?" Dave tells her yes, but it's not until the final scene of Dave at her grave that it's revealed that the "he" she's speaking of is their son who died in infancy. Their graves are next to each other.
      • There's a callback in 8x02 "The Pact" where he remarks that the loss of a child either brings a couple together or breaks them apart. He would know.
    • Also from "Epilogue," Prentiss' revelation that when she briefly died the previous year, she didn't see anything but darkness and cold. Given her very complicated history with religion — and the fact that Reid remembers warmth and bright light from his near-death experience, even though the place he died wasn't warm or bright — it's clear that the implications are scaring her.
      • The UnSub's similar Near-Death Experience, which got him desperate enough to drown others to near-death repeatedly (inevitably killing them), hoping they can tell him how to get Reid's version instead. This, mixed with a terminal illness and No Sympathy from an abusive dad, gives us a textbook Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • J.J. telling her son a bedtime story over the phone, because she's trapped in Kansas overnight as a result of the weather.
    • And she's got it entirely memorized. Not just the gist, but word for word.
  • In "Hope," the episode begins with Garcia talking about her parents' death. They were killed by a drunk driver while out looking for her. She had broken curfew again. It is interesting to know that the happy character has such guilt weighing on them.
    • That whole episode was a huge Tear Jerker (with heaping helpings of nightmare and Nausea Fuel as well). Just the fact that Monica never gave up looking for Hope only to learn that she's dead. And then there's the circumstances of Hope's death. She was kidnapped and raised by said kidnapper; when she hit her teens, he started raping her with the intention of getting her pregnant, and when she did get pregnant, she killed herself to escape the misery and the shame. Then there's the scene where Monica finds Hope's mummified body. *cries*
      • Also Hope's childhood friend, who blames herself for what happened (not helped by the fact that the UnSub left her a note thanking her). As if all that wasn't enough, the UnSub truly believed himself to be in love with Hope. It devastated Monica, having to be told by the UnSub how her daughter was kidnapped, seeing the place where she had to live with him and then learning of her pregnancy and suicide...
  • "The Bittersweet Science": Hotch is in the room while the UnSub tells his cancer-stricken son that it is okay to "let go" of the pain and die. Hotch's eyes water, and then he sheds a single tear. It's especially tearjerking when you realize that Hotch shows emotion the most around his son Jack, and watching another man lose his son might be hitting Hotch closer to home than his single tear lets on.
  • "True Genius". Reid's self-doubt throughout the episode is utterly heartbreaking.
    'I just... don't know why I'm in the FBI.'
  • In "A Thin Line" the Un Sub murders families with children and then kills African American men and undocumented immigrants to try and let them take the fall for the murders to help a bigoted racist win election for Mayor. The murder of the families and the innocent fall guys would be bad enough on it's own but in the opening scene in which the second family is killed Mackenzie, the young daughter, is instructed to call 911 by her father while he goes to check out the situation. As she is on the phone with the operator we hear gunshots and her family screaming until finally, Mackenzie herself is dragged out from under the bed and shot dead. To make matters even worse, we later find out that her younger brother was only six months old and he died as his mother tried to shield him with her own body.
  • The father from "A Family Affair" is far from an angel as he too was involved in disposing of the women's bodies but the fact that the only reason he's doing this is to try and appease his abusive wife and try to work through the guilt of causing his son to become wheelchair-bound due to a car accident only to ultimately committ suicide and try to take the blame for the murders is pretty sad.
  • Morgan and Angel, the escaped victim in "Foundation." Angel has been mute, after the trauma of being abducted and held captive by a sadistic killer, and attempted suicide. Morgan tells Angel the story of fighter pilots in World War II, how they knew each other when taken captive by the coins they carried, and the first words Angel speaks are to ask what happened to them. It takes a turn for the heartbreaking when Morgan tells Angel about Carl Buford (from "Profiler, Profiled"), the man who raped and abused him. He confesses that he thought about suicide himself, and that while he wished the shame could go away, he and Angel are the only ones who can punish men like Buford and the man who took Angel.
  • Garcia and Kevin's break-up in "I Love You, Tommy Brown" is pretty sad as well as they had been a cute couple for four seasons and the only reason it didn't work out in the end was because Kevin was ready for marriage and Penelope wasn't. They never even seem to talk it out, it's just over after that fight.
  • The ending of "Heathridge Manor" is a truly heartbreaking Hope Spot. After the UnSub is defeated, we see his sister Lara in their home. She is putting away all of her mothers old costumes, she's wearing white pastels, the sun is shining outside, and the mood is fairly calm and relaxed. Then the doorbell rings... "I've been waiting for you for so long, Lara. You have to come with me now." Also doubles as major nightmare material.
  • In "Profiling 101", after making a deal with the UnSub to get the names of all his victims, Rossi personally goes to each family to report the tragic news. It is a rough scene to watch.
    • He gets those names on his birthday.
    • In a Fridge Horror kind of way, all of those killings could have been avoided had the UnSub been in a better family and was treated with love and affection instead of being relentlessly abused for his whole entire life, especially since the person abusing him was pretty much an Ax-Crazy maniac who did things like put him in a dress, shove him through glass, beat him relentlessly, tell him he's a curse and that he shouldn't have been born, probably worse. His real mother, who died giving birth to him, probably would have treated him better, and had she lived, he might have come out differently. (Not only that, his grandmother may have blamed him for his mother's death)
  • "The Company" is a rare tearjerker on the positive side. Morgan reuniting his presumed dead cousin, Cindi, with her family after eight years. The scene at the end and Morgan tearing up is the clincher.

     Season 8 
  • The ending of Zugzwang. Poor Spencer Reid. Talk about a Yank the Dog's Chain.
  • During the aftermath of "The Wheels on the Bus" as Trent's body is wheeled out of the warehouse, Addyson has a look of pure shock and sadness on her face since she was she was forced to kill him during the game.
  • The UnSub's father in "All That Remains" is a walking Tear Jerker. The man grew up with an alcoholic father and became an alcoholic himself. He started to get help when he got married and had two daughters, then found out his wife was having an affair and fell Off the Wagon. Shortly after that, his wife disappeared during a blackout where his other personality emerged. Then, one year later, he wakes up one morning to find his daughters missing. The police are fairly certain it's him, and they soon find his youngest daughter's body. As the police prepare to arrest him, his oldest daughter is found. When they talk, she blames him for the death of her sister and accuses him of killing her mom as well. Then at the end, we learn that both his wife and younger daughter were killed by his older daughter, who planned the entire thing and framed him.
  • Some sympathy can be thrown at Donnie Bidwell in "Carbon Copy." Before he become The UnSub of that episode, he was suspected and thrown in jail as he was suspected be the UnSub by the law enforcement in the area and the BAU for killing four nurses in 1998. While he was eventually exonerated and set free with the real UnSub being caught, his reputation was basically ruined and was made a pariah by the media. Not only that incident where a man who still thought he was a killer attacked him which left him with a serious head injury that left with with chronic seizures and eventually led to a nervous breakdown. Combined with being bankrupt from paying all the legal fees and lawyer, losing his business in the process, his wife divorcing him , taking their children with her, remarrying and becoming pregnant with that man's child and can't seemed to hold a job, it is no wonder he snapped and became easily manipulated by the Replicator. While it doesn't totally excused his actions and he did have a charge on his record, there is some truth in his words when he shouts ""Hard? Hard? You ruined my life" at Alex during interrogation.
  • "The Replicator." Pretty much all of it. Strauss is killed by the Replicator, which pretty much breaks Rossi, who had been seeing her, for the entire episode. At one point he, in tears, pulls a gun on Morgan when evidence implicates him, then hallucinates Strauss being in his office because he ends up poisoned with a lower dosage of the same poison that killed her.
    • Strauss's death scene is just so heart-wrenching. She's crying about how she doesn't want to die alone and how she loves her kids and how she really does love them all equally, despite what Hotch claimed. Seeing Hotch and Strauss, usually composed, just frantic is absolutely gutwrenching. And then she begs Hotch to stay with her, so she won't die alone.
    • There's also the silent scene where Rossi breaks the news to her children, none of whom take it well.
    • In the same episode, the normally composed Penelope's Freak Out when the Replicator breaks into her systems. Being Mission Control is what she does, and now she can do nothing. Not to mention:
      Penelope: *With a Single Tear* He was in my house.
  • The killer in "Broken." He's killed six people, and at the end of the episode he tries to murder his father for the abuse he suffered after coming out, and then getting sent to a conversion camp. Later on he tries to make his best friend rape his father, to "turn him gay" in retribution for the abuse he suffered at the camp. In the struggle with his best friend for the handgun, the killer accidentally shoots him. He immediately regrets it, shoots his father almost as an afterthought, then starts clutching his friend's body and crying as he puts the gun to his own head. He's so horribly conflicted and desperate when the team arrives to talk him down that very few wouldn't sympathize with him. Especially with what he suffered at the conversion camp.

     Season 9 
  • In "Fatal", the unsub mentions that he went on a camping trip with his friend when they were six years old. It started to snow and they parted to search for more help. He made it out alive, but his friend did not and froze to death. Consequently, people said it was his fault, because they should not have split up, that is how they think his friend died. Granted, the unsub realizes that perhaps he made a mistake, but it left him scarred the entire ordeal left him with post traumatic stress older having him take antidepressants for most his life. Imagine being that young, stressed enough already that your friend died, and to make matters worse, people are blaming you for it. Thankfully, the discussion was quite brief and we do not see flashbacks, but still. The unsub did mention after that occurred, his teacher visited him in the hospital and gave him a mythological book, which gave him a perspective on life and death.
  • Reid's reply to a comment that he's good with kids is that he wanted to have some with Maeve. While he is assured there's still a chance for him to be a dad, his expression shows that he doesn't think so.
  • At the end of "Demons", Alex explains to Reid why she called him "Ethan" after he had been shot. Ethan was her son, who died at the age of nine because of a rare neurological disease. Alex is so traumatized by what has happened to Reid that she decides to quit the BAU. Lily Kershaw's song "Maybe", played during the final scenes, only makes it sadder. Finally, Reid caps it off with, "Goodbye, Alex."
  • The backstory of the unsub from "Strange Fruit". When Charles was younger, he was captured by a small group of teenage Klansmen and was hung from a tree where they proceeded to castrate him because they believed that he raped a female classmate of his. A tragic highlight is Charles crying for help while he was being surrounded and dragged away to be punished for a crime he didn't commit.
  • While they stop managed to stop the UnSub in "Rabid" and managed to administer the cure to one of the victims before the rabies virus progressed too far, one of victims who managed to escape, was far too long and she eventually slipped into a coma and die, leaving behind a husband and two daughters.\
  • The Day of the Dead celebration at the end of "In the Blood" straddles the line between this and heartwarming. The saddest moment has to be that while everyone gave an explanation of who they were honoring, Reid wordlessly displays a photo of Maeve.

     Season 10 
  • Garcia's B-Plot in "Burn". For the entire episode our happy-go-lucky, Genki Girl team member is in a constant state of depression as she tries to deal with her PTSD after the events of Angels/Demons by going to see the male nurse who tried to kill Reid in death row. Each time she goes to death row to see the Asshole Victim she becomes more distraught. It all comes to a head after she witnesses the execution when Garcia find Derek waiting for her at her house and she runs into his arms sobbing uncontrollably.
    • Garcia ends up seeing Greg die because he calls her after initially refusing to see her - because no one else cared enough to come and see him, and he doesn't want to die alone. His last words are even thanking her for coming to see him.
  • Imagine what the poor co-pilot must had felt in "A Thousand Suns." As one of the pilots of the plane it is his responsibility is to fly the plane and its passengers safely and in one-piece to their destinations. Not only he failed to do that, he is the only survivor of the wreck with his fellow co-pilot and passengers dead with him surviving just by pure-luck. It was already mentioned that he already received threatening calls because of him being the only survivor and briefly the BAU even considered him a suspect. Though it wasn't his fault as the Unsub hacked the plane and crashed it, it is doubtful it would give him much comfort.
  • JJ's subplot in "If The Shoe Fits". Before she leaves her parents' house for the case, Henry finds out about Rosalyn via a picture of his mother and aunt that his grandmother showed him. JJ gets into a little argument with her mother, telling her that she and Will wanted to wait until Henry was older before telling him about his aunt. Her mother argues that she should tell Henry about Rosalyn sooner than later, especially since she and her husband regret not helping her when she was still alive. Her mother even makes a bitter comment about JJ's refusal to properly talk about Rosalyn.
    "Go. We're fine. Avoidance is what this family is best for."
  • The UnSub in "Anonymous" who was trying to get his daughter a liver transplant that is needed to save her life and targeting people who are organ donors in hopes that the organs will donate will be given to his daughter. He even went as far to kill people who were ahead of her on the wait-list in hopes to improve her chances of getting a liver. While he eventually was prevented from killing his latest victim, he commits suicide in the end so his daughter can have his liver and live.
    • Also in "Anonymus", David Rossi's old friend Harrison Scott dying - not to mention that an episode later David's other old friend Jason Gideon dies as well. Poor Rossi.
  • "Nelson's Sparrow". Just. "Nelson's Sparrow". The episode deals with the BAU having to solve the murder of their former colleague, friend, and Team Dad, Jason Gideon. Needless to say, tears abound!
  • While investigating murders in a prison in "Lockdown", the team notices an inmate named Devon White is missing, who is linked in some way to the murders. To find out more they questioned the inmate named Sam who worked with him in the library. They bonded quickly, Devon even stole a book for him after Sam had his taken away by guards, but sadly everything went downhill when two corrupt security guards arrive, making an underground fight club, causing Devon to be killed and covered up by said guards. Sam misses Devon, reading the book he gave him and the note left for him. After they find the murders and Devon's skull, Rossi gives Sam's books back. Sam is on the verge of tears. Coupled with sad music and great acting, this is amazingly bittersweet.
  • In "A Place at the Table" Hotch's father-in-law is diagnosed with Alzheimer. Aside from still blaming Hotch for his daughter's death, he says that his illness is a blessing in disguise, so he can seemingly find peace while forgetting everyone else.

     Season 11 
  • William Taylor's story from "Awake". He was driving home with his five-year-old daughter after working a double shift. To prevent an accident due to his sleep deprivation, he pulled into a rest stop to shut his eyes for a little bit. When he woke up, his daughter was missing. Unable to cope with the guilt or to move on, he targeted random men, believing that one of them is the man who took his daughter. Things aren't much better when he found his daughter's dead body during a search. There's also the song associated with him and his daughter: "You Are My Sunshine". Not only that his daughter will not get real justice anytime soon as it is revealed that the man he suspected took his daughter is still real and still active and the BAU had a hard time believing that the Unsub is real as they brush it off as the man being sleep-derived.
  • The old couple in "Future Perfect." The elderly lady was suffering a neurological disease that was terminal with her being given months to live and she and her husband were desperate to find a cure. The Unsub promised them a "treatment" and they eventually agreed to it. At the end though the "treatment" came at the expense of others and it will most likely wouldn't had work anyway. The old lady eventually died the next day with her husband deeply mourning her death as the team looks on.
  • As awful as the UnSub was in "Inner Beauty", it's hard not to sympathize with him after learning he was in love with a disfigured girl with anxiety and working to make her feel beautiful and confident. After helping build her up he brings her to a public place to help her with her anxiety, she feels as if everyone is staring and laughing at her. When he leaves to get their favorite wine for not two minutes, she has a panic attack, runs away and turns up dead two days later. Just imagine the sheer amount of guilt he could carry, for someone he was trying to help and love unconditionally.
    • Danielle's crying for why she was staying sober for her little brother is also heartbreaking.

     Season 12 
  • In "Sick Day", the team was only able to save two of three victims that the UnSub kidnapped for his endgame. The mother's reaction of losing her daughter and JJ having to deal with the grief and trauma of being unable to save all three them is heartbreaking.
  • In order protect Jack from Mr. Scratch who had started stalking him, Hotch places himself and Jack into Witness Protection and decides to resigned from the BAU in order to spend more time with Jack and deciding he had enough of having his son being endangered because of his job. Because of the circumstances as Hotch left on a supposed assignment when he was really placed in Witness Protection, the team weren't able to say a proper goodbye to him and Jack and depending on how long it would take for them to capture Mr. Scratch, they might not able to see him and Jack for a long time.
  • "The Anti-Terrorism Squad" has a small one. The father crying over his dead son, saying over and over again "My son, my boy, he's dead." The kid may have been somewhat of an Asshole Victim but he was still just a teenager.
  • In "In the Dark", the team dealt with an absolute Woobie of an UnSub. As a child, he was abused by his father and always had to be taken along to brothels and drug dens, where he was exposed to a lifestyle of sex and drugs. At one brothel, he was molested by a prostitute, his father didn't care, and worse, it didn't seem like anyone was prosecuted for it. As an adult, he started killing Asshole Victims who reminded him of said father, but because he sleepwalks, he unknowingly continues killing at night to seek more of the release he gets from murdering. The worst part is that these victims are completely innocent people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the UnSub realizes this, he does all he can to stay awake, only to fail. By the time he's arrested by the BAU, he breaks down horribly, especially after learning how many people he actually killed. Considering how pretty much everything in his life went wrong, you'd feel nothing but sorrow for this guy.
  • The UnSub in "Hell's Kitchen" is incredibly pitiable, due to the condition that basically makes him allergic to sunlight. After Walker shoots him to save his latest victim, his walks him through a Sri Lankan meditation to calm him as he dies. The UnSub telling Walker about being a prisoner to his disease and how he's grateful not to be dying alone and forgotten is heartbreaking.
  • Three words: Reid in prison. Almost the entire experience is miserable to witness, with him being subjected to beatings, corrupt guards, being forced to move drugs, and watching a fellow inmate he'd befriended get his throat slit. Reid begins keeping a journal after that, and writes about how he's losing himself in prison, and doesn't know if he'll be able to make it out alive.
    • He became so used to prison life that he has to be reminded that a door is unlocked after release.

     Season 13 
  • "Wheels Up" has the death of Stephen Walker. His wife, Monica identifies him in the morgue and breaks down in Luke's arms. The funeral for Walker is simply the icing on this cake of sadness.
  • In "Killer App", the UnSub, a former civilian drone operator, learned that he bombed a elementary school instead of a presumed insurgent camp, which killed 372 kids all under the age of 12. He was consumed by guilt and hatred towards the company that contracted him, who not only covered up the incident to save their own butts but made it seemed more like a game (especially since he was a gamer in his spare time) and the casualties as just numbers (each operator is sent letters about how many people were killed during each mission) without consideration of the lives that were taken and how most of the civilian operators don't have access to the same accessible and adequate mental healthcare compared to their military counterparts to help deal with the stress of killing so many people.
  • "The Bunker" has Joanna Miller reuniting with her sister Chrissy (who had been missing for years) at the end and also has Joanna finally meeting her nephew Joe.
  • Penelope's PTSD in "Lucky Strikes" due to the team revisiting the Floyd Feylinn Ferell case, which they had worked on the day she was shot.
  • In "Bad Moon on the Rise" the UnSub's son putting himself in the line of fire for his mother and dying in the process.
  • In "Full-Tilt Boogie" the police chiefs wife being buried alive and later detoxing in the hospital as her daughter watches in horror. In addition to that it has the Un Sub's drug-addict sister who only wanted to be with her daughter and is coerced into giving herself and overdose.
  • "Ex Parte" sees Matt's wife Christy being held hostage and Matt nearly loosing his mind because he is unable to help her.

     Season 14 
  • In "The Tall Man" we finally get to meet Rosalyn Jareau through flashbacks. JJ reveals to Rossi that the day Rosalyn committed suicide JJ was unable to act due to being in schock and now, during the present-day investigation which is taking place in her home town and is indirectly connected to Rosalyn, she is having that exact same feeling and is afraid that she will mess up the investigation by being unable to provide important information.
  • Oh "Luke", just...the entire thing. Poor Phil. Also the ending when Lisa is about to leave Luke and he finally opens up to her and lets all of his emotions out.
  • "Twenty Seven" has two UnSub's who attack innocent people with machetes in the middle of the street, the reason behind that being that they wanted to see how fast emergency services would react as a year prior, their younger brother was shot in front of a night club and the ambulance took twenty seven minutes to arrive at the scene. By that point their brother had already died. The sad tear jerker here being not only the younger brothers senseless death but also the fact that his brothers were with him the entire time, desperately waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
  • The UnSub in "Ashley" killed parents and kidnapped their daughters because they reminded him of his own daughter Ashley, who had died due to a genetic disease a few years prior. In the end, after he is apprehended, Ashley's mother, who had given her up for adoption, watches a video of her daughter and breaks down as she never truly met her daughter when she was alive.
  • The recovering addicts in "Broken Wing" who either complete the programme or get thrown out of the institution if their medical insurance doesn't cover their stay there anymore then get killed.
  • In "Night Lights" Nikki's fiancé J.P. being killed and her reaction to it. The only reason they were even in that situation in the first place was because the UnSub's intented victims had rented out the house to them.
  • In "Hamelin" the UnSub kidnapped kids with the intent to keep them away from their parents because his son had comitted suicide after his dad was accused of being a pedophile.
  • In "Chameleon", Krystal asks Rossi if he's truly okay when he comes home after a hard case. Rossi being Rossi at first claims he is fine and after remembering the things that happened during the case he breaks down in Krystal's arms saying "I couldn't breathe."


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: