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Top 10 Saddest Grey's Anatomy Moments

VO: Lisa
Script written by Q.V. Hough Pain, trauma, and seasons of life support.Join MsMojo, as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Saddest Grey’s Anatomy Moments. For this list, we’re counting down the most tragic moments of Shonda Rhimes’ iconic series, some a little bit more disturbing than others. Oh, and given the nature of this list, a spoiler alert is definitely in order. Special thanks to our users Suzanne Harvey, Ellen Kennedy, estrangdspydr and Joshua Estrada for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at

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Top 10 Saddest Grey’s Anatomy Moments

Pain, trauma, and seasons of life support. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Saddest Grey’s Anatomy Moments.

For this list, we’re counting down the most tragic moments of Shonda Rhimes’ iconic series, some a little bit more disturbing than others. Oh, and given the nature of this list, a spoiler alert is definitely in order.

#10: Preggo
“Start Me Up”

Once married to George and later beginning a relationship with Erica, Callie seemingly found a soul mate with new co-worker Arizona Robbins. But there’s a wildcard… and his name is Mark Sloan. So, when Ms. Robbins comes back from Malawi and begs for another shot at love, Callie fesses up to being pregnant, leaving a look of absolute devastation across the face of Arizona. A door closed? Well, not exactly, even after a horrifying car accident later in in the season, with Adele’s “Someone Like You” providing an extra amount of drama.

#9: The Last Dance
“Things We Said Today”’

Speaking of Adele, that was also the name of Richard Webber’s life-long valentine. Played by Emmy-winning actress Loretta Devine, Adele’s life took a drastic turn after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In Season 9, a visibly morose Richard arrives at Bailey’s wedding after working on his wife, and though his co-worker is preoccupied with her big day, Meredith, who operated on Adele, notices something wrong. The awful news is revealed, and a heartbreaking transitional shot takes us to the beginning as one solitary tear drips down Richard’s face. It’s without a doubt a devastating and heart wrenching moment for viewers.

#8: Elevator Heaven
“Now Or Never”

In season 5, there was the harrowing scene when Izzie discovers that she has cancer, but then came the Season 5 finale. Another brain tumor brings Izzie to the operating room, and it seems to be the end once she flatlines. No more Izzie? But there’s a twist of sorts, as a parallel storyline reunites Izzie with George, who’s also battling for his life in another room. Each faced with a certain death, the two once again find themselves eye to eye, in somewhat of an elevator heaven, as Izzie discovers a reawakening as the newly discovered 007 simultaneously drifts away forever.

#7: McDreamy Moves On
“How to Save a Life”

For just over 10 years, Derek Shepherd, aka McDreamy, warmed our hearts and even made us cry at times given all the emotional moments shared with Meredith. But none of those moments ever struck us as much as when the unexpected happened. On his way to D.C.–for one last time – a random roadside accident sets in motion a series of disturbing events, which leads to an incredibly sad moment when viewers realize that its the final chapter of Mer and Der’s relationship. It’s not easy to see Meredith say goodbye like this, especially when you factor in the new life within her.

#6: He’s Gone
“Didn’t We Almost Have It All”

On a wedding day, plenty of unexpected moments may leave lasting impressions. Some bring laughter; some brings stress – kind of like the entire relationship of Preston Burke and Cristina Yang. But on the biggest day of their lives, the bride comes to the shocking conclusion that her man has, well, left… for good. [“He’s gone.”] And while that in itself is sad, Cristina’s reaction unveils a moment of surprising relief combined with utter confusion, as she’s now free to live her life and not the one that she might’ve concocted out of personal content. Meredith cuts to the core of Cristina’s stress, just as she managed to calm her in season 7 when PTSD set in.

#5: The Proposal
“Losing My Religion”

As one of Dr. Burke’s patients seeks a heart transplant, Denny Duquette forms a unique bond with Izzie during season 2. However, this obviously wasn’t your typical love affair. For one, Izzie had to take drastic measures once Denny had an LVAD wire inserted to sustain his failing heart, and how about when Izzie actually cut the wire, simply to get the appropriate assistance? Sad as that moment was, nothing could have prepared viewers for the season finale, in which Denny offered his hand in marriage, only to endure yet another stroke and die in Izzie’s arms to the sound of Snow Patrol.

#4: Sinking Slowly
“Walk On Water”

After reigniting the flame with Derek, Meredith unexpectedly finds herself at the darkest of crossroads after a ferryboat tragedy. Due to an accidental fall in the water, Dr. Grey nearly drifts away – permanently– but thankfully, McDreamy lives up to his nickname and saves the day… well, almost. Here’s the thing: Meredith dies. She actually flatlines and dies. And before she can return to a new life with her prince and shining armor, she reacquaints herself with some ol’ friends in limbo, or wherever things like this happen. It would’ve been a bold move to kill off the main character, but given the gravity of the entire collection of episodes, it actually seemed like it was going to happen.

#3: The Plane Crash

Near the end of Season 8, Alex makes a fateful decision by accepting a new position at John Hopkins while five of his colleagues continue on to Boise to help with a surgery. And though “Grey’sAnatomy” has its share of soul-crushing scenes, Shonda Rhimes took a page of out “Lost” for this one and even wrote the episode, which thoroughly made devoted viewers sob uncontrollably in their living rooms. Years after joining her sister at Seattle Grace, it was time for Lexie to say goodbye, given the extent of her injuries, and just days after going all in with her feelings for Mark. Sadly, he too met his end in the Season 9 premiere.

#2: Friday Night Lights
“As We Know It”

Before Meredith Grey technically died from hypothermia, and before a plane crash took her sister’s life, oh, and before Derek got hit by a car, there was that time when a man walked into her place of work with a bomb in his chest. And once she figuratively steps in to end the madness, the sounds of Anna Nalick’s “Breathe” transition to one of the series’ most explosive sequences. Of course, this led to countless amounts of water cooler breakdowns for viewers and definitively marked the end of the bomb squad leader’s character arc. But we all know that his spirit lives on through “Friday Night Lights,” which premiered shortly after.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Night Terrors
“Elevator Love Letter”

Christina’s Loss
“Deny, Deny, Deny”

Oh, Henry
“Dark Was the Night”

You Happened to Me!
“Wishin’ and Hopin’”

D.C. Discussion
“Fear of the Unknown”

The Confrontation
“Six Days: Part 1”

#1: The Shooter
“Sanctuary” & “Death and All His Friends”

Written by series creator Shonda Rhimes, a certain series of events from Season 6 managed to transcend the usual TV experience. Upset with Dr. Shepherd and pretty much everybody for the untimely death of his wife, Gary Clark arrives at Seattle Grace looking for vengeance, and he executed his plan. In doing so, “Grey’s Anatomy” touched on a painfully real issue that persists in America. Of course, both Alex and Derek were shot as well, and Cristina had a brush with death, but it’s the collective drama of Season 6’s final episodes that serve as a reminder of just how powerful television can be, as the shooter narrative, by far, provides the most unnerving moments of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

So, do you agree with our picks? What do you think is the saddest Grey’s moment? For more nostalgic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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