Grey's Anatomy: The 10 Most Heartbreaking Scenes From Season 1

Of all the TV dramas, Grey's Anatomy would definitely fit in the "heartbreaking" category. If this was its own genre, the hospital show would win, hands down. For almost 16 seasons, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and her coworkers/friends have loved hard, experienced loss, and kept hoping even though sometimes it seemed like things were especially dire.

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Even though sometimes the show is lighter and Meredith and Cristina are dancing it out or the other doctors are laughing hysterically, there are a lot of tough, dark moments. Here are the 10 most heartbreaking scenes from the first season of Grey's Anatomy.

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10 Izzie Gets Dumped

It's hard to even remember that Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) had a love life before meeting Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Those are her two most important (and most heartbreaking) romances.

But back in the first season, Izzie had another boyfriend, and in the episode "Shake Your Groove Thing," he dumps her. Why? Because now that she's going to be a doctor, he feels that she cares more about that than him. It doesn't help matters that she scrubs in on a surgery when she's supposed to be hosting a gathering for him... but it's still pretty sad to watch this sweet character get dumped.

9 Alex Discovers Izzie's Modelling Days

From the moment that Izzie is introduced, it's clear that she's very attractive. As it turns out, she used to be a model.

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Alex discovers this part of her life and tries to embarrass her by letting everyone at the hospital know in the episode "No Man's Land." He puts photos in the locker room and she's now "Dr. Model." This is a super mean thing to do and just proves that Alex has quite the change of heart as he becomes such a good person later on in the show.

8 Bailey Learns About Derek And Meredith

It's clear from the pilot when Meredith and Derek hook up (and then learn that they're both working at the same hospital) that someone is going to learn what's going on. When Derek and Meredith hang out in his car in "Shake Your Groove Thing," it ends up being Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) who sees them.

This is not only an awkward scene but also breaks our hearts when think about it since anyone would think that it's unprofessional for Derek and Meredith to date. But as true fans of the show know, these two are meant to be together and have a real love story (that, of course, ends in tragedy). It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Derek and Meredith have to follow their hearts, and thankfully, they do.

7 Zoey, The Pregnant Woman With Cancer

In the first season episode "Save Me," Cristina meets Zoey Glass (Joan McMurtrey) who has become pregnant even though she didn't think it was possible. While that would of course be a happy occasion, she also has breast cancer.

Making matters even more heartbreaking is how Cristina deals with her. Cristina can't believe that Zoey wants to keep her baby knowing that she will die from her cancer. Cristina has her own personal connection to this subject as she's expecting a baby herself but has never wanted children, so she's having difficulty coming to terms with this.


6 Annie's Case

In "If Tomorrow Never Comes," the doctors have a case that is truly heartbreaking: a woman with a big tumor that has been getting worse and worse. Annie Connors (Alex S. Alexander) tells George the truth: she didn't get it seen to because hospitals freak her out and she has lost too many people.

If that's not sad enough, she doesn't survive the hospital visit. It's always tough to watch the doctors struggle to save someone, and this was one of the worst medical cases of the first season.

5 Izzie's Patient In "The Self-Destruct Button"

In the season one episode "The Self-Destruct Button," Izzie has a patient who, at first glance, might be meant to make audiences laugh. His storyline is a little silly: JP (Bill Birch) actually ate the keys to his girlfriend Athena's (Ever Carradine) place because he's so in love with her.

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But this is actually really sad, and he took his love to such a crazy extreme that it affected his breathing and it's super serious. It's tough to think about actually doing something like this, and it's a reminder that a lot of the patients who come into the hospital on Grey's Anatomy are in a lot of emotional (as well as physical) pain.

4 Derek Picks Meredith For A Big Surgery

In the pilot, "A Hard Day's Night," Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) is about to perform surgery on a teen girl and picks Meredith... but, oops, Meredith had already picked Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh).

While at first this might not seem like a very big deal, it's actually heartbreaking when we consider the dynamic of Cristina and Meredith's friendship. From the very beginning, they're each other's "person" and they always get each other. But they are also both fiercely ambitious, brilliant, and competitive, which means that sometimes, that's going to get in the way. We can definitely feel the tension here.

3 Cristina's Pregnancy

Cristina Yang has never wanted to be a mother, which has led to some tough times in her relationship with Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd). The character has an abortion, which is widely praised as a brave TV moment.

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In the first season, Cristina is pregnant, which wasn't planned and it's not something that she is prepared for. This is one of season one's toughest, most heartbreaking moments as Cristina has to deal with a lot of emotions on this topic. She knows that she's not ready to be a mom and that having kids isn't in the cards for her. While it's a really hard situation to be in, the show deserves a lot of credit for portraying a woman who is listening to her gut and making the right choice for herself.

2 Fans Learn About Meredith's Awful Family Life


In "Shake Your Groove Thing," Meredith goes to see her mom, Ellis Grey (Kate Burton), and fans learn about Meredith's really difficult upbringing. It becomes clear that Ellis has Alzheimer's and isn't able to truly connect with her daughter anymore.

Unfortunately and tragically, the two never had a typical mother/daughter relationship... or even anything resembling a bond at all. When Meredith was little, her mom always chose the hospital over her, and Meredith never felt loved or cared for. As Grey's Anatomy goes on, fans will discover that Meredith was there when her mom tried to kill herself.

1 Derek Is Actually Married

The most heartbreaking moment in the first season of Grey's Anatomy has got to be when fans (and Meredith) learn that Derek is actually married. When Addison Montogmery (Kate Walsh) is suddenly at the hospital, it turns out that (whoa) she's Derek's wife.

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This was such a massive moment on the show and really started moving Meredith and Derek's relationship in a new, super dramatic direction. Now Meredith has to deal with her feelings and figure out what's going to happen next.

NEXT: Grey's Anatomy: 10 Storylines That Were Never Resolved

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