Ranking Television’s Saddest Character Backstories

Features Writer
05.25.16 10 Comments

Warning: This post contains a lot of spoilers, so read at your own risk.

A good backstory can take character development to the next level. It can explain motivations, emotional baggage, and add a depth to the story. A well-told backstory can make you sympathize with a character you previously hated, or make you love your favorites even more. Flashbacks, when done well, can be a great way to show instead of tell, and have become a particularly effective device for television writers to deploy.

However, they can also break your damn heart and send you into an emotional tailspin. If you haven’t ended up in a fetal position, weeping and contemplating calling in sick to work the following day after a particularly heartbreaking reveal, you just might be dead inside. “Hold the door” or a piece of rotten fruit will never be the same thanks to these particularly tragic origins, so let’s count down the most heartbreaking backstories on TV. Let us know which flashbacks made you snot-cry in the comments

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