Being a Crapsack World, many people live unpleasant lives in Criminal Case, but these people take the cake for how miserable theirs are.
- The player character's journey with the three police forces hasn't been an easy one. Not only are they always at the crime scene when tragedy strikes, but half of the time the victim is someone who they've met and even befriended beforehand. And that's not even noting how many times someone has been trying to hurt or kill them on the spot, the betrayals of two very close friends in the Pacific Bay PD and the Bureau, the deaths of people the player has worked with, like Frank or Michelle and having to leave their good friends when they're done restoring peace to a region. Despite all this, the other characters' dialogue implies that they always manage to pull themselves together and not give up on their morals.
- David Jones, the player's partner during Grimsborough and The Conspiracy, is constantly hit with wave after wave of misfortune, especially in the latter series. In the first season, he gets the short end of the stick with many of the suspects he and the player interrogate (with one of the few suspects who liked him trying to poison him to keep from getting arrested), and is always the one who gets scolded by Chief King. He also gets splattered with blood during Chief King's suicide, which clearly traumatizes him for the remainder of the season. He is seemingly more well-adjusted and calm when the player returns to Grimsborough for The Conspiracy, but the season forces a far worse Trauma Conga Line than anything the first season had to throw at him. His girlfriend goes missing for several months, then she suddenly returns with no memory of him. When she does remember him, she also regains horrible memories of what happened to her when she went missing, which causes her to unwillingly murder a scientist and sent to a psychiatric hospital, causing Jones's mental health to deteriorate. It gets bad enough that Tony Marconi, his rival, notices and tries to get him help, but Jones still doesn't trust him which leads to him being suspected of Tony's murder later on, and the shame from that makes him nearly leave the police force. After that, Zoe's murder drives him to try and commit suicide, and after he survives that, he is put on the brink of death again when he's caught in an explosion in the finale and loses an eye. After what he had to go through, Jones deserves more than a few cookies...
- James Savage, a hunter from the Historical Center, is a loner who does not get along with many residents of the district. His tendency to be around in the wrong place and the wrong time made him an easy prime suspect in no less than four murder cases and his constant refusal to cooperate with the police had gotten him detained during one of the investigations. During the last one of the four cases he got involved in, his husky, who is his only friend, got killed. Even Jones admits that he's probably the unluckiest guy around.
- Chad Baker in the University Arc goes through an awful lot. He starts out as a Jerk Jock, but crushes on queen bee Madison Springer adorably, even when she doesn't appear to love him back, and he mellows out. He's always helpful in every case he's a suspect in, fixes up the patrol car after Jones gets a flat tire, and finally gets his dream girl when they are crowned Prom King and Queen. Then, Madison's tiara explodes, drenching Chad in blood. He also realized that Madison did in fact, care for him, but due to her Amish upbringing and Secret Identity, couldn't let him get close.
- The Hersberger siblings from "The Devil's Playground" (Case #36). The case victim was Hannah's lover, who was killed by her father for not being an Amish, and his death turned her into a suicidal mess until the player helped her snap out of it in the Additional Investigation. The murder was witnessed by her younger brother Isaac, and the shock traumatized the young boy so much that he began to see the killer as a monster, and refused to speak to anyone aside from Grace. Then he's told that the "monster" is actually his father, and Grace and the PC have to help him cope afterwards.
- There's Adam Bentley from Maple Heights. He is first introduced as an Upper-Class Twit with a disturbing hobby of "copying" the richest and most influential people in the district, who conveniently gets killed off once he had a falling out with them. Not only is he innocent of all the crimes he was a suspect of, he's actually a rather pathetic character who is desperate to fit in the glamorous crowd, even changing his name and identity, but no one else took him seriously because he lacks an affluent background. The only person who might have cared for him is his foster brother, whom he was forced to deny (to hide his background as a Foster Kid), before the latter was murdered. Then, in the very next case, Adam himself was killed.
- Sabrina Kingston from "Good Girls Don't Die" (Case #48) is another example. Pressured to attend Harvard to avoid disownment by her parents, she bought drugs from Mayor Johnson's niece Veronica to boost her study performance. Because top colleges enforce drug tests on applicants, Sabrina asked her best friend Abigail Price to borrow her urine sample so she could pass. When Abigail refused, she tried again by creeping into the treatment room during Abigail's facial and threatening her with a laser gun. Unfortunately, she lost control of the gun and accidentally killed Abigail. When told that the drugs she took were actually duds, she was horrified at what she had done and broke down crying and begging Abigail for forgiveness. Even Grace admitted that meeting Sabrina was heartbreaking.
- The Aloki tribe from the last district of Grimsborough. They've been discriminated by other Grimsborough citizens for centuries, and the city was actually built on a mass murdering of their people during the Pilgrim ages, all for a gold mine that rightfully belonged to them. In the present day, they're confined to what's left of their native lands and are constantly paranoid that the city would take even more of it away, or that they'll be sent far away.
- Piotr Golovanov, one of the suspects in Chapter 11 (Heartless), is perhaps one of the nicest persons the player could encounter, who unfortunately happens to be related to Ivana Golovanov, a domineering, ultra-racist politician. Ivana apparently bullies him with her pro-Russian/Anti-Chinese propaganda, and imposed the family with radical Russian lifestyle to the point that Piotr suffers hepatitis from excessive vodka consumption. To make things worse Piotr fell in love with a Chinese woman — whom he secretly married — but Ivana found out about it and murdered the girl because she could not stand the idea of having Chinese blood mixed in her heritage. Unlike most of the examples here, we never find out how he was doing after the investigation is over.
- Andrew Kamarov. In his first appearance in Chapter 15, he lost his mother and was kidnapped shortly afterwards. His nanny, whom he seems to care about, was arrested for the murder. In Chapter 17, he was orphaned when his father was also murdered.
- The "character arcs" of Pacific Bay invariably shapes the team member they focus on into Woobies.
- Hannah goes through a lot of stress when her past ties with an anarchist group, the Inner Chaos, was revealed. She was visibly traumatized when she was forced to kill Fredo Mancini, the group's leader, before he could blow up the court house during his trial.
- In Jazz Town, we get to see Yann's Dark and Troubled Past as he reveals that his parents were murdered by a serial killer. When he heard of the killer's return, he becomes obsessed with hunting them down despite Chief Marquez's pleas to leave them be, to the point that he gets detained as a suspect when the killer did murder someone else in Case 24. The serial killer in question is later revealed to be Freddie Alonzo, someone he's on a friendly terms with.
- Even Amy, who initially has nothing but good memories of her home town — the White Peaks — slowly becomes disillusioned by it when her ex-boyfriend was arrested for murder and cannibalism in chapter 28, and her childhood friend gets brutally murdered in the very next case. Then comes case 30, which forced her to treat her brother, her mother, and her crush as suspects, which makes her so distraught she tries to leave the police force. At the end of the case, (in which her brother — the only member of her family who had ever loved her — was revealed to be the District Killer) was over, she suffered a massive Heroic BSoD and had to be put on leave for almost 4 cases.
- Frank is starting to shape up as one as he begins to open up to the Player in Ivywood. The guy is estranged from his children, and apparently hasn't been in contact with them for years. He wants to become a better father to them, but not knowing what they are like, his initial attempts to make amends to them got rejected. Even when he's revealed to be a killer and had set up his own team members, it's hard not to feel sorry when he really was doing this to keep his family together and see his daughter again. Sadly, it's revealed that one of his daughters died in a car accident that drove him to drink and eventually divorce his wife. His other daughter contracted meningitis some time between the events of Ivywood and Paradise City which was so severe that she is now in an irreversible coma with no hope of awakening. Before he dies, his wife is killed by Alden Greene and not long after Frank kills Alden, Bobby Prince shoots Frank in the head.
- The player's duties in Ivywood was not a very pleasant experience for Russell either. Having been raised by a group of cultists called the Utopians (which is quite obviously based on Scientology), he gets uncharacteristically emotional whenever the team encounters the group during their investigations. He also has some issues with his father, a devout member of the cult, and seems unable to think straight around him. His obsession with bringing down the cult has also got him in deep trouble when he was abducted by one of their members in one of the Additional Investigations.
- Even Chief Marquez isn't exempt when it comes to this. We find out in her home district, Rhine Canyon, that she is seen as a liar after seeing a UFO when she was six years old. Colonel Spangler is sent by the government to deny her claims and it alienates her from everyone, leading to her having trust issues even after 39 years. She ends up being a suspect in Spangler's death though she is found innocent and doesn't get peace of mind until the final Additional Investigation of Rhine Canyon.
- Elliot is revealed to be a Jerkass Woobie in one of the Sahara cases. He turns out to have suffered severe parental neglect for a while, with parents who sent him away just for the sake of going on vacations and forget to call their son when he works at the Bureau. All this prompts Elliot to call out Benjamin Scott on running away from a family that really loves him. It all culminates in Case 32 where Elliot is taken hostage and badly beaten by the criminal. Only a Big Damn Heroes from Jonah prevents a messy ending. And even worse, Elliot tries to pretend he's fine for Carmen's sake; she doesn't buy it for a second and wraps him in a tight hug. The look in his eyes the entire time proves that he's anything but fine. This memory comes back to haunt him in Case 42, where the woman who defended his kidnapper is suspicious that he's a SOMBRA mole, and the player can't do anything to defend him. Elliot is so hurt and shocked at this that he locks himself up in Dupont's library, refusing to talk.
- Andrew Stern, the Ambassador's son from the Sahara Region. He's an innocent little boy who just so happens to be in a war zone at the wrong time, and ends up kidnapped as part of the Sword's plan to trap the Bureau. After the team rescues him, he's traumatized until Lars helps him feel better.
- Marina Romanova, the profiler of the Bureau, discovered a corruption scandal of the Russian president in her youth, which nearly cost her her life. Luckily, the hitman, Jonah Karam missed due to some reasons. It doesn't help that she starts to distrust Russian officials, including her mom. Her conflict with her mom is so bad that Chief Ripley threatens her of suspension if another case will involve her mother. Even worse is that she turns out to be right, but no one believes her until Natasha reveals herself to be on SOMBRA's side.
- Yelena Tereshkova. Yes, it was wrong of her to murder the Senator at Natasha's behest, but when it was clear that the man was the only thing standing between Yelena and her dream of going into space, as in he was the one who rejected her applications, the fans felt for her. In addition, the character is always helpful to the player character in the missions, and even helps the player find Nikolai and stop SOMBRA's satellite. Her unusually harsh sentence struck many as cruel.
- Angela and Lars during Case 21. There's an epidemic sweeping through an Indian city, and the two worked for weeks to help research and find a cure, sacrificing their health and sleep in the process. At the beginning of the case, Jack laments that he can't do anything to help them despite the research taking a huge toll on their well-being. It gets worse as the case progresses, with Lars starting to become delirious and eventually, he's revealed to have been infected as well, and spends the rest of the case on the brink of death. Angela is forced to witness all this, and her reaction to the fact that her husband has just a few hours to live is extremely heartbreaking. In spite of how dangerous the circumstances are, the two refuse to give up and try their best to stay strong and helpful toward the player.
- Sanjay Korrapati, a street kid that the player encounters in India. While he isn't above stealing and annoying the Bureau, his life on the Indian streets is implied to be pretty harsh, to the point where he carries a knife to defend himself. In the first case he appears, the victim had tried to call animal services to take away his elephant, who seems to be his only friend. In the second, he travels to Bollywood hoping to draw inspiration from the stars there, only to be crushed when one of them called him a street rat and tore up a photo he bought with his pocket money. The latter incident was enough to drive him to tears when the player talks to him about it. In the last case of the region, his elephant dies, and he runs away to Tibet where he struggles even harder to survive. Later, he himself nearly dies in an avalanche. He does reappear in East Asia looking much better, but in reality, SOMBRA's influence had made him a Stepford Smiler. In the last two cases, he gets brainwashed into cutting off his own finger and participating in a game where children kill each other for someone else's benefit. His life takes a real turn for the better since being adopted by Carmen, but it's clear that his time with SOMBRA is still haunting him.
- He becomes one again in Case 42, when Carmen is accused of being the SOMBRA mole. He runs up to the player tearfully begging them to not take her away from him again.
- The Tsukada siblings from the East Asia arc. Both were orphaned at a young age, and joined a gang to survive. However, while Chieko quits gang life to make an honest living, her brother Hiroshi chases after a promise of a better life which turns out to be SOMBRA. The two argue over it and Hiroshi runs away, leaving Chieko to regret what she said and spend four years searching for him. In the last case of the district, Hiroshi is revealed to have refused to kill other children on SOMBRA's orders, and is promptly murdered. To make things worse, Chieko is the one who finds his body and is utterly devastated by his death.
- Baxter Fraser from the Oceania arc. At first, he seems like a simple boxing champ, but then it's revealed that he was experimented on without his consent. His only close friend, Riaja, was killed when she tried to escape. By the time he's encountered, he's a panicky wreck Properly Paranoid that someone is out to get him. When Elliott attempts to have him overcome his rage, it instead makes Baxter worse, and he runs away. He returns in the finale, working as a bodyguard for the US President, only to have the Vice President, a SOMBRA lieutenant, use his SOMBRA programming to force Baxter to kidnap the President. Frightened over what he had done and what others could make him do, he's found having a nervous breakdown in the middle of Times Square.
- After the end of the southern Africa segment, Lars. He's already been nearly killed by a plague, but now, his beloved wife Angela is revealed to have been a mole for SOMBRA, since even before he knew her. He confronts her in prison about this, and she is fairly aloof. He remarks coldly that she doesn't even care about their children because of what SOMBRA does to kids. Her facade cracks later, when she reveals she's always loved Lars, and even took great pains to keep the good things like her charity out of SOMBRA's clutches. By the end of the saga, Lars is a completely broken man.
- When he reappears in "Murder, He Wrote", Lars has transformed into a drunken mess and is threatening suicide by the end of Chapter 2!
- Edson Caetano from "Cheaters Never Win". His jealousy towards the victim (who was his rival in the Olympics) and resentment towards his steroid use led to him being easily manipulated by SOMBRA, who tricked him into giving the victim a lethal drug dose. While it had been wrong of him to do so, he wasn't even aware that SOMBRA existed or gave him a murder weapon until the deed was done, and after he's arrested, he cries over what he's done and is cooperative when the player interrogates him in prison.
Mysteries of the Past
- Harriet Patrick is a 16-year-old Irish immigrant who came to USA to find a better life for herself and her cow. Instead, she had to deal with difficult immigration officers who refused to allow her cow in, harassment from a fellow passenger, fed only potatoes by her cousin who felt that taking care of her was too expensive, being exploited by her rich employer, and to top it off, murdered the case right after the one she was introduced in.
- Jordan Wilson, a friendly banker who attended a party to meet a woman he had been exchanging correspondence with. Only to discover that she had duped him. The woman, Lucrezia, had sent Jordan a picture of her sister instead of her. When Jordan was angered by the deception, he tried to leave, only for Lucrezia to grab him and, in an accident, she fell to her death from the lighthouse while he tried to free himself. While one could argue his reason for disliking her was shallow, it remains that Lucrezia did deceive him, and the death was a complete accident.
- Seamus O'Neill is another Irish immigrant who tries his best to make a decent living in Concordia, but is constantly screwed out of luck. He was first "sold off" to an abusive employer by someone whom he thought he trusted. Then, when he finally escaped the immigrant exploitation scheme, he got involved in an Irish Gang, and is made to do many of their dirty work, such as helping a convict, Fiona Flannagan escape from custody. Then he fell in love with the heiress of the Italian gang. That didn't go so well, and he is later arrested for murder when he is forced to kill her enraged father in self-defense for trying to get her elope with him. He is then set free by the Irish Gang members and is made to be their leader, while still being a fugitive. But he is eventually killed by a subordinate who discovered that he was still romantically involved with Guiletta.
- Giulietta Capecchi, big time. After the end of the Crimson Banks arc, her father, little sister, and her love Seamus are dead, and her mother tried to kill her with a bomb for having fallen in love with Seamus. She even tries to commit suicide., but is thankfully stopped by the Player Character. Right after deciding to go on vacation and take a break from all the tragedy, she returns a few cases later as the leader of the resistance against Justin Lawson, only to murder Inspector Jaubert of The Justice Corps by accident, and to go on the run with Enzo. Will someone please get the girl a cookie?
- Bernadine Rochester is pressured by her family to use her relationship with Chief Wright to spy on the Flying Squad. When she refuses to do such a thing, the patriarch threatened to lock her up in an Asylum. She's also experienced a lot of grief due to the death of her uncle Leopold, which she felt partly responsible for and almost overdosed on antidepressants because of the stress.
- Adelia Baldwin, the late Commissioner Baldwin's daughter, is forced to go to an institution for fallen women for being pregnant out of wedlock, only being so because her fiancee was murdered. When we see her in Capitol Peak, she is destitute as a result of being evicted from her home and forced into prostitution.
Travel In Time
- Noah Lowe, the first victim when the team arrives in 1969, is a complete aversion to Asshole Victim. A typical country boy attending Woodstock, he fell in love with a male poet, James Henderson, and planned to move to New York City with him. Unfortunately for him, James was unwilling to commit to a full relationship and rejected the offer. When his father Alfred found out about his affair, he kicked him out of the house, which Alfred would later come to regret after his death. He then hit it off with musician Ian Devine, only to be scared off by Ian's bad trip. And to make it worse, his entire death was an accident - His killer, Major Perkins, had a PTSD flashback while debating with Noah and accidentally hit his head too hard against a van's door while trying to protect him from what she thought was gunshot, resulting in Noah dying of blunt force trauma.
- Orlando, the team's historian, gets hit with this in the Altered Present. When the team joins forces with the resistance against the totalitarian regime, Orlando meets their historian, Sirius Atwood, and realizes that he was his husband in the original timeline, who died years before the events of Travel In Time. However, Sirius doesn't know who Orlando is, meaning that they never married in this timeline. Orlando is visibly filled with grief for the rest of the Altered Present Arc, to the point where it distracts him from his duties. He also has to deal with the fact that they must eventually fix the timeline, which means he'll have to lose Sirius again. It gets bad enough where he can't find closure and writes a letter to Sirius to tell him about their relationship and his death in their timeline, which is luckily intercepted before anyone can read it. When all is said and done, he moves onto the next district with the team without getting the chance to see Sirius again or say goodbye to him. Not helping matters is at the end of the season, while everyone else is overjoyed to be home, he is still saddened by the memories of Sirius, and knows he must come to terms with them.
- Simone Severine, a former employee of Henri Pelletier from Case 25. She is very courteous and polite towards the team, and mentions that the victim would be horrible to his employees, including herself. When she is revealed to be his killer, she breaks down and reveals to the team that she had actually been his slave when he was young, which subjected her to even worse cruelty than she had previously mentioned from him. Simone's family had been torn apart by the victim when he sold her parents off his tobacco plantation, and when she and her sister had tried to escape, Pelletier caught Simone's sister and whipped her to death while she watched from a distance, causing Simone to swear to get her revenge on him one day. Even Jack says that he probably would've done the same thing if he had been in her shoes.