- During The Chinese Maze Murders the military official whom Chiao Tai has sworn to take revenge on is murdered; after the case is wrapped up Chiao Tai comes in to the Judge's office and tells him the whole story of his desertion (precipitated by the actions of the aforementioned official). By the end of the story, Chiao Tai, who began in a flat and toneless voice "as if he were reading from a military report," is sobbing. So, perhaps, are you.
- The scene where the judge's assistants learn of the sergeant's murder in The Chinese Nail Murders. They have to turn away when they see the judge tearing up.
- Less sad, but still depressing, is the judge realizing at the end of the book that his days of close relationships with his lieutenants are now over due to his new prestigious position.
- The ending of Murder in Canton, as Chiao Tai dies, struck by the judge's sword as he predicted in the first book.
- The death of Mrs. Kuo after she saves Dee's career and life in The Chinese Nail Murders by essentially confessing to the murder of her first husband, a drunken brute. Made even worse by the fact that Dee wanted to save her, but his usual attention to detail in his official records would have doomed her anyway.
Tear Jerker / Judge Dee