10 Saddest Blue Bloods Episodes That Broke Fans’ Hearts, Ranked


Blue Bloods is known for intense storylines that coincide with heartwarming family moments. The formulas Blue Bloods has created have made it one of CBS’s most successful police procedurals. As part of the series intense storylines, Blue Bloods has featured plenty of heartbreaking episodes that left fans in tears while watching their favorite police procedural.

Fans have to watch the Reagan family go through losing friends, loved ones and colleagues being killed in the line of duty, and the hardships surrounding everyday people, no matter their careers. Blue Bloods focuses on family, and it’s that familiar connection to the characters that makes many viewers feel as if they are going through the same feelings of loss as those on screen.

Updated on March 27th, 2024 by Fawzia Khan: Blue Bloods has remained a beloved police procedural since 2010. With the show ending officially after the second part of Season 14 premieres in Fall 2024, fans have started reminiscing about the best episodes of Blue Bloods, both victorious and tragic. This list has been updated with better formatting, new images, and further information about the same.

“With Friends Like These” Offered a Realistic Look at Caregiving

“With Friends Like These” highlighted the division between firefighters and police officers, but the saddest element of the episode came from Jamie and Eddie. When responding to a person in distress, Eddie and Jamie find a woman who left her home and is struggling with her mental health. With no support system, the woman’s struggles with schizophrenia and no aid makes for an emotional watch that relates to the real world in heartbreaking fashion.

The episode gave an honest look into people’s lives who can not get the help they need to care for themselves. “With Friends Like These” also discussed how being a caregiver can be overwhelming. Taking something from the real world and adding it to the episodes of Blue Bloods made the show feel more real to viewers, but it lands at the bottom of the list because there are several episodes even more heartwrenching than “With Friends Like These.”

“Two-Faced” Depicted A Father’s Love And Its Consequences

Few things are as tragic as a child’s death, which is the case that Erin has to tackle in Blue Bloods Season 9’s “Two-Faced”. Dr. David Peterson tried everything possible to cure his daughter, who was afflicted by an autoimmune disorder, but his unconventional methods caused her to die. What was considered an accidental death is later revealed, by the doctor himself, as deliberate poisoning that his daughter had requested him to do to escape the pain.

The moral dilemma faced by Dr. Peterson, Erin, and the doctor’s ex-wife makes for a compelling but gloomy watch. Blue Bloods redefined what it means to love and care for each other through this episode, and the limits one would go to for family.

“Little Fish” Showed The Reagans Deal with Their Failures And Their Real World Consequences

Police procedurals are known for being dark, and Blue Bloods is no different. The first season showcased how guilt plays into the role of being in the version of the NYPD the show created. In “Little Fish,” Danny and Frank face similar feelings of helplessness when they can’t help victims they had been connected to previously. When remains are discovered at a construction site, Frank is plagued with the feeling of failure as the remains belong to a kidnapped child from a cold case Frank worked on early in his career.

He returns to his detective days as he personally revives the cold case to find the real perpetrator, his interaction with whom is intense and emotional. Danny tries to help a sex worker who helped him in a case before, but she is killed before he can find her. The heavy episode shows the more vulnerable sides of the Reagans that the show hadn’t explored in the first season yet.

“The Greater Good” Saw Frank Tussle With Moral Dilemmas

“The Greater Good” set the tone for season 7 as many episodes were heavy in tone and left fans reaching for tissues. Frank Reagan faced a moral and ethical dilemma that touched on his grief from losing his son Joe, who died in the line of duty. When a mother begs Frank not to let her son graduate from the NYPD Police Academy, so he won’t be put in danger, Frank understands her pain.

At the same time, he also understands the son’s desire to follow in his father’s footsteps, who died on the job. Seeing the usually stony Frank grapple with a problem he has faced personally was difficult for fans to watch. They were also touched by the mother’s love but upset that she would harm her son’s career. At the same time, Danny has to convince a Grand Jury that his shooting of a serial killer may serve society better than to have him alive, bringing up the moral dilemmas of death and justice, and gets to mete them out.

“Love Lost” Delved Into Humans and Assisted Suicide

“Love Lost” is another episode of Blue Bloods that brings a real-life issue into the show and makes fans change their perspective. Danny has to investigate a c ase that involves a woman who was suffocated by her husband. By the end of the investigation, it is revealed that the woman wanted to die and tried to have medically assisted suicide to end her pain from cancer.


However, complications with the medications cause her not to die, so her husband ends her life to help her out of her pain. Viewers see the sorrow in the husband as he deals with the grief of losing his wife and being the person who ended her life, which is heart-wrenching. “Love Lost” presents many moral and ethical dilemmas but plays to the human emotions in every viewer. Additionally, viewers also see Erin dealing with personal loss, as her ex-husband decides to defend the person she is trying to convict, culminating in an episode that tests the depths of conjugal relationships unlike any other storyline.

“Unfinished Business” Reopened A Closed Case

“Unfinished Business” wove a storyline of problematic police and their practices into Blue Bloods for the season. With Frank reopening a case that was closed, he may allow a convicted serial killer to be released. However, the most moving part of the episode came from the case Danny was working on.

As a veteran, Danny was significantly impacted by the suicide of a fellow veteran, but also as a father, as the veteran he was trying to help had a son. As with many of the emotional cases on the show, this one developed Danny’s character as a father and explained a good deal of his past. This episode had an excellent portrayal of PTSD and how it can irreparably change the lives of Army veterans and their families, through a turbulent case that also affected Danny himself, landing it in the middle of the list.

“Pain Killers” Tested The Bond Between Baez and Danny

“Pain Killers” capitalized on the emotional start to season 8 of Blue Bloods, with Detective Baez narrowly surviving an accidental drug overdose. The possibility of the loss of a beloved main character stirs something in viewers, which was the case in “Pain Killers.” The episode expanded on the grief that Danny was feeling from losing Linda in the helicopter accident, so losing his best friend and partner would break him.

Seeing Danny cry next to Baez’s bed and begging her to survive was a heartbreaking moment as it showed how close they had gotten as partners. With Danny going through so much in one season, it was hard for viewers to see him experience the potential loss of another person he loved. The episode also touched on child abuse and its perpetrators, and how murky the system can be regarding sensitive topics like these.

“Partners” Put Baez and Her Loss in The Spotlight

Police procedurals often use the cliché of involving family members in the main characters’ cases, where they become a victim or an informant. Season 5 of Blue Bloods did this but made the episode emotional. Javier is introduced in an earlier episode as Detective Maria Baez’s protective older brother, who, after being down on his luck and getting sober, works as an informant.

When the brother and sister reconnect, Javier is killed by taking a bullet intended for Maria in a heartbreaking moment. Baez feels guilty as she felt she could’ve done more for Javier in the past but wouldn’t get the chance after he died. This was one of the few times fans saw Baez affected by loss and not one of the Reagans, and her survivor’s guilt was something that was incredibly real and relatable. THe inner world of a cop is always colored by their job, which came through in the loss in this episode.

“The Blue Templar” Saw Justice for Joe Reagan

The best police procedurals include a case that started off the show and is solved in a later episode. This was the case with “The Blue Templar,” as the episode gave fans more information about Joe Reagan’s death and gave closure to the rest of the Reagans. This case was not just another cold one — the personal connection of the family made it the most sorrowful, but also the most important case.

Joe’s death was the primary catalyst of the show, so seeing the people who murdered him be brought to justice was emotional for fans, as they saw the Reagans finally feel they let Joe’s memory rest in peace. Much of the episode has a bitter-sweet feeling as they are happy to have caught the people responsible for Joe’s death but are sad he wasn’t there to see the case he was working on come to a close.

“The Thin Blue Line” Had One Of The Most Calamitous Plots

“The Thin Blue Line” started one of the most devastating storylines in Blue Bloods. This episode is the first meeting of Danny and a dangerous drug cartel that puts a hit on him and his family. As the finale of season 7, it seems that another Reagan may be killed due to their involvement with law enforcement. While this does happen, it wasn’t who fans expected, which provided the ultimate shock factor. Linda died in a helicopter crash between “The Thin Blue Line” and season 8’s premiere.

Fans were shocked because the death was unexpected, and they never saw the crash happen. Later in season 9, it is revealed that the cartel was after and Danny tampered with the helicopter, causing the crash. This made episode 22 of season 7 much more emotional in retrospect, as Danny blamed himself for the crash, knowing that his wife would still be alive if he hadn’t been on the case. As one of the most shocking series’ deaths, “The Thin Blue Line” ranks as the most heartbreaking episode of Blue Bloods to date.