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Tear Jerker / NCIS: Los Angeles

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  • "Pushback." It turns out that the Russian woman Callen was avoiding out of suspicion in the "Legend" pilot was his little sister! (well, as good as.) She was there to warn him that someone was trying to kill him. And to make it all worse, she was killed in the beginning of the episode while trying to get revenge for Callen, who she thought had died when he was shot.
  • "Missing." Dom is kidnapped, and the team is unable to find him and have no leads by the end of the episode. The missing person report at the end only makes it worse.
    • It gets worse. "Found" is pretty much the definition of Hope Spot. They know where Dom is. He gets given a key and breaks out of his chains. They meet up with him in the middle of a firefight... only for him to get fatally shot when he's trying to run to safety.
  • "Sans Voir: Part 1 and 2" Agent Hunter and Agent Renko's deaths at the hands of the Chameleon, but easily the worst part about it is Hetty's reaction to both. Hetty is driven almost to tears at the news of Renko's death and Hetty enters a Heroic BSoD when Lauren Hunter dies.
    • Possibly the biggest Tear Jerker of the entire episode: In the aftermath of The Chameleon's attempt to kill Kensi, Sam and Deeks, Hetty and Callen have a conversation about The Chameleon and Hunter. It is revealed Hunter Was an orphan trained by Hetty, just like Callen and that she is affected very deeply by the death of her agents. This is arguably the closest the audience has seen Hetty come to a Heroic BSoD.
  • "Wanted" A continuation of the "Sidorov Arc" but by the end of the episode, a CIA agent is dead, they are no closer to finding the stolen nuclear weapons and Sam's wife, Michelle, was almost killed.
  • Seeing Deeks in his mentally broken, post-tortured state is not a pleasant sight. He does get better, but the first three episodes of Season 5 were brutal for anyone who actually liked Marty Deeks.
    • Just "Ascension" alone is this. When Sam and Deeks are found by Kensi and Granger even he is clearly disturbed by what happened to them. Sam can barely speak without coughing, and Deeks has blood covering the lower half of his face. And when Deeks wakes up he all but begs Kensi to get him out of there. She clearly wants to, but knows she can't yet.
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    • When they get back to Callen they're clearly shaken up. When Callen says that he keeps doing the math over and over again in his head to remind himself that the cost of failing the mission is greater than the cost of completing it, Granger replies that he does too.
    • When Sam and Deeks are finally rescued, the first thing Sam does is ask Deeks if he gave up Michelle. Keep in mind that just before, Sam pretty much said to his face that he didn't respect Deeks. You can see the desperation in his eyes when he asks, as well as the mix of relief, gratitude, and regret when Deeks insists that he didn't give her up.
    • While at the hospital you can tell that Deeks is shaken by the experience. He sees a hydraulic needle and is visibly terrified, and he's reluctant to even open his mouth to let the doctor see the damage.
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  • "Spoils of War" Kensi has been rescued but her captivity was brutal (to say the least) and she's barely hanging on. As a measure of just how much she had been through, she breaks down crying in front of the guys, something she has never done before.
  • Jemadar Thapa's heroic sacrifice to save Sam from being assassinated by a Gurkha mercenary in "Expiration Date". Double as a Shoot the Dog since rogue RAW agents were the mastermind behind the crisis.
  • The last minutes of "Chernoff, K" - Callen finds out that after his father was arrested & placed in a Russian gulag in 1974, he escaped & assumed the titular identity, before eventually dying in 2008. After visiting his father's grave, the scene cuts to Callen standing outside of a cafe he learnt his father had frequented after his escape. After Callen leaves, there's a brief fade to black which quickly fades back into the same shot, where an old man sits down at the table near the window Callen was just stood at. There's no dialogue & this scene lasts for roughly a minute, and the implication is clear - this old man is Callen's father, having faked his death in 2008.
  • Sam is heartbroken in "The Long Goodbye" after Jada decides to go back to Sudan despite the danger of her brother possibly killing her after shes goes back.
  • Granger's goodbye letter to Henrietta at the end of "Old Tricks" when Henrietta finds out that Granger has left the hospital unnoticed, all set to a cover of the Bob Dylan song "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", which is sung by Miguel Ferrer. The episode ends with a tribute to Miguel Ferrier.
    • Ferrer's real-life battle with throat cancer is the reason why his character was abruptly Put on a Bus and implied to be headed for a Bus Crash. He was dying in the middle of filming his last season, so it was reflected in his character, who would be destined to die as well after receiving a Lethal Diagnosis. Only, the writers didn't know when how long Ferrer was for this world, so they found it more tasteful to have his character last as long as he could, even when Ferrer died so unexpectedly that they had to write him out posthumously.
    • It is very sad to watch and hear Miguel's voice deteriorating into a very strained and raspy quaver as his cancer worsened over the course of the season. Unlike most shows where a character's illness is only portrayed through acting, his is genuine and he really is fading away. It becomes even harder to bear if you're a relatively new viewer who jumped into the series at this point and heard him all hoarse and downtrodden, then get acquainted to the character before he suddenly drops off on you. Or worse, you were with the show from the beginning, witnessed Owen at his peak when his voice sounded perfectly normal and eloquent, then suddenly it turned all scratchy and rattled in a true sickly manner that could not possibly be part of the act, and you just knew something was very wrong with the actor.
  • The way Owen's old war buddies later remark that if he hasn't died yet, he will soon.
    • All the veteran operatives performing a toast to Owen and remarking that as the years go by, more glasses will be unattended.
  • Michelle's death at the end of "Uncaged". Even before the heartbreaking reveal of her lifeless body, you can tell everyone at the crime scene has that telltale long face. Then Sam discovers his wife breathes no more... and collapses into tears. None of his team can even say anything to comfort him, and Kensi's lip is quivering on the verge of tears. Then, the whole room clears out to give him a moment of privacy to mourn. Kensi and Deeks linger for a moment before giving up and leaving, until Callen is the only one left, standing by the doorway. Looking on at Sam, the life drains out of him and he, too, leaves Sam alone. Unfortunately, being left alone only worsens Sam's pain. He can't handle the grief by himself and starts begging for her to come back to him with vain cries of "Please...", and his sobbing tapers off into the cut to credits.
    • The buildup to this loss was phenomenally painful. Michelle remarked how she wanted to be with Sam forever, and Sam mentioned how their daughter was only twelve and would not be able to endure losing her if the worst happened, and Hetty desperately tries to meet the terrorist's demands, red tape be damned. Nell even resorts to lying to federal agents to clear out at the risk of destroying her own career just because their presence is a liability to Michelle's survival.
    • The worst part is when Deeks and Kensi raid the warehouse where Michelle is being kept, and seem to be on the verge of a successful rescue but miss the entrance to the hidden room because it's too well-hidden as an apparent dead end to spy with a passing glance. Those precious few seconds they wasted doubling back to it counted. They could have meant the difference between Michelle surviving as opposed to dying.
    • The music played in the final scene is heartbreaking and makes it clear they're too late. "Gandalf's Fall" is not used for happy endings.
    • Perhaps the most sickening thing about this tragic moment is knowing the team was tricked into going on a wild goose chase when Michelle wasn't even taken out of the neighborhood. The callous taunting from Sam's arch nemesis becomes absolutely brutal knowing he succeeded in punishing Sam for taking away one of his loved ones by returning the favor.
  • Sam's completely unhinged state following the loss of his wife. He's prepared for a final showdown with his nemesis, and seems like he's made up his mind to die in the process.
    • Don't worry; he doesn't die. But he still has to bury Michelle.
  • In "Liabilities", it's finally confirmed that Granger has died, having spent his remaining days with his daughter and buried at her house.
  • At the end of "Warrior of Peace", Callen and his half-sister Alex are forced to watch as their father is traded to Iran in exchange for two kidnapped journalists despite all of Callen's attempts, knowing that Garrison is probably going to be tortured and killed once the Russians get their hand on him.
  • Throughout "Where Everybody Knows Your Name," Deeks has been talking of opening a bar. Kensi is naturally concerned about doing this before their wedding while the rest of the gang mock Deeks on his various failed business ideas. Deeks reveals he has bought a bar but then does a speech on how he wants it to be exclusive to military vets and give them a place they can come together and bond and maybe help each other out. Kensi is moved to tears as she embraces him.
  • So in the Season 9 finale, the team found the burnt remains of a body in Mexico, raising the question of whether or not it was Harley Hidoko, who went down south ahead of them. The Season 10 premiere answers that question: it is her. Alas, poor Harley, we hardly knew ye.
  • "Better Angels". A Syrian man has evidence on an encrypted hard drive of Assad ordering a massacre on his people. He's killed by Assad's men and the hard drive stolen by his killers. The team has to race to find them and get the hard drive before they escape and destroy it. Only the man isn't dead yet. His killers pinned him to a wall with a car and the car's keeping him from bleeding out until it's moved. All of the agents are affected but Kensi is the one who talks to him in his final hours, learns about his son who was killed in a chemical attack at age eight, is the one who has to tell him he is dying and is with him in his final moments. It's no wonder she breaks down crying as he dies and she learns the team couldn't save the evidence he'd died for.
  • "Til Death Do Us Part" has Kensi noting how Granger was going to walk her down the aisle.
  • In "No More Secrets", Callen (with the help of his friends) finally rescues his father and brings him back to America — and finds out that he's already dying. He doesn't last much longer.
  • The fate of JAG protagonists Mac and Harm's romance in "False Flag". You can just tell how two colleagues who have taken nine years to draw each other into an engagement are so obviously straining to not bring up the pain of their separation.

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