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19 TV Scenes That Were So Well-Acted, They May Be The Best Ever

From Grey's Anatomy to Breaking Bad to Stranger Things, these scenes are ~almost~ better than the shows themselves.

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what they think are the best-acted TV scenes of all time. Here are the awardworthy results.

🚨Major spoilers ahead! 🚨

1. In Breaking Bad, when Bryan Cranston (as Walter White) had an emotional phone conversation with Skyler and had to pretend that he didn't know the police were listening in.

Walt and Skyler talking on the phone
AMC

"Walt's last call to Skyler was incredible. He was acting like he didn't know the police were listening to their call, so he claimed Skyler was innocent. Then he had to admit that Hank was dead, all while pretending that his heart wasn't broken over it too, just so the police wouldn't catch on. Bryan Cranston was crying so hard that his glasses literally fogged up. He was so good."

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AMC / youtube.com

2. In How I Met Your Mother, when Jason Segel (as Marshall Eriksen) was expecting to celebrate his father's recovery but then learned that he had a heart attack and died.

Marshall hugging Lily in the street
CBS / CityTV

"It was a pure moment of emotion that you really don't expect from a comedy series, but Jason Segel's reaction was heartbreaking. He wasn't told what lines Alyson Hannigan was going to be delivering, so he had no idea that his character's dad would die — he was only given a cue to react (apparently he thought the character was going to reveal she was pregnant). You can tell how genuine his reaction is because he goes from pure elation to a complete breakdown in disbelief. His delivery of 'I'm not ready for this' gets me every time I watch it."

katcloud

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CBS / CityTV / youtube.com

3. In The Newsroom, when Jane Fonda (as Leona Lansing) rejected everyone's resignations and declared she was ready for war against the employee who faked an interview.

Leona in the newsroom suite talking to Will and the other producers
HBO

"Say what you want about The Newsroom, but this scene is absolute perfection, thanks in large part to Jane Fonda. She delivers every single line with such purpose and depth and power that you can't help but smile. It's comical, serious, and extremely badass. I rewatch this scene often because it's Jane Fonda at her best — she's a force you don't want to mess with but never want to stop watching."

spenceralthouse

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HBO / youtube.com

4. In The Haunting of Bly Manor, when T'Nia Miller (as Hannah Grose) was left alone at the firepit and was forced to confront her own mortality and the fact that she's stuck at Bly Manor forever.

Hannah left alone at the camp fire
Netflix

Submitted by noradominick

This whole episode is so good yet so heartbreaking, all thanks to T'Nia Miller. The final scene revolves around a conversation between Hannah and Owen at the firepit. Owen talks about how people can't truly count on the past because memories fade, so they should make new memories. He invites Hannah to Paris, and she finally accepts, but it's too late. Owen has walked away, and Hannah realizes she's stuck on the ground forever and has missed her chance. She stands there, by herself, repeating what few memories she has left, as if they're a mantra that will help get her through an eternity of heartbreak and loneliness.

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Netflix / youtube.com

5. In Stranger Things, when Dacre Montgomery (as Billy Hargrove) was trapped in the sauna and possessed by the mind flayer, so he tried pleading for his life with Max.

Billy pleading for his life while shirtless and locked in a sauna
Netflix

"You can really see how talented of an actor Dacre Montgomery is in this scene, especially when he's trying to convince his younger sister to save him. When he gets mad and tries to escape and screams, it just shows how he portrayed the character in such a powerful way. So good."

sweetcrab87

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Netflix / youtube.com

6. In How to Get Away with Murder, when Viola Davis (as Annalise Keating) delivered her closing argument to the jury and finally got honest with herself about what kind of person she truly was.

Annalise wearing a grey suit and speaking to the jury in court
ABC

Suggested by yungiant

It's a fact that Viola Davis never delivers a bad performance, and this completely raw and emotional monologue during the Season 6 finale of How to Get Away with Murder is further proof that she's one of the best actors of our time. This scene is the first time Annalise decides to be real and honest to herself and the people around her. As she starts peeling away her mask, we're finally able to see her for who she is, not just who she wants us to think she is. Viola deserved more than just one Emmy for her work on that show, and this scene should have given it to her.

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ABC / youtube.com

7. In Lost, when Josh Holloway (as Sawyer Ford) let his guard down and emotionally revealed to Matthew Fox (as Jack Shephard) that he met his father before getting stranded on the island.

Sawyer talking to Jack in the woods
ABC

"I love this scene from Lost. Sawyer opens up to Jack and talks about the conversation he had with Jack's father before they came to the island. Their super-complex feud is brought to a temporary neutral zone by this one story, and both actors play it so well."

wolfganghoron

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ABC / youtube.com

8. In Grey's Anatomy, when Chandra Wilson (as Dr. Bailey) was hiding from the active shooter but needed to get Charles to the operating room, and she realized they were trapped.

Dr. Bailey holding Charles' hands before he dies
ABC

"In this scene, there's a shooter in the hospital who's specifically targeting surgeons, so Dr. Bailey pretends to be a nurse and is spared. Her character tries to rescue Charles after he's shot, but she realizes that they're trapped and Charles is going to die. Here she is, wrestling with the notion that she's the ultimate coward while also having to be a hero and comfort Charles during his last few breaths. You feel every sense of Dr. Bailey's powerlessness in this scene, which is nothing short of gut-wrenching."

spenceralthouse

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ABC / youtube.com

9. In The Comeback, when Lisa Kudrow (as Valerie Cherish) was nearing rock bottom, and her husband suggested that no one ever really believed in her.

Valerie and her husband arguing outside a restaurant
HBO

Submitted by tessafahey

The Comeback is an absolutely perfect show, and I'm constantly amazed that it didn't get the credit it deserved. Lisa Kudrow is absolutely hilarious in it, but Season 2 dove way deeper into some more serious topics, and this confrontation scene between her character and her husband is A+. Valerie Cherish has hit her rock bottom, and she's trying so desperately to be loved and liked by everyone, but her marriage is clearly falling apart. That's the one thing she's ever had real control over, so you can literally see her heart break when her husband delivers that final blow and suggests that no one ever really believed in her. Lisa Kudrow deserved seven Emmys for this performance.

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HBO / youtube.com

10. In The West Wing, when Martin Sheen (as Jed Bartlet) yelled at God in the church because he was so angry and frustrated that Mrs. Landingham died.

Bartlet alone in the church
NBC

"This scene from the 'Two Cathedrals' episode takes place when Jed Bartlet is alone in the cathedral and talks directly to God. There are a lot of excellent moments from the series, but in this particular scene you can see every emotion Martin Sheen goes through, and it hurts, even if you’ve never experienced anything like it before. He’s clearly struggling between the people he loves and his faith. It’s a heartbreakingly perfect scene."

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NBC / youtube.com

11. In Sharp Objects, when Amy Adams (as Camille Preaker) discovered a layer of human teeth in her younger sister's dollhouse, revealing that Amma was actually the killer.

Amy Adams finding a tooth in her sister's dollhouse
HBO

"The last scene of Sharp Objects is so beautifully acted. Amy Adams' character doesn't say a single word, but you can feel her character's shock and pain when she realizes that her younger sister is the killer. That's the sign of a brilliant actor. Amy Adams was robbed."

sophiearagonmd

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HBO / youtube.com

12. In Euphoria, when Zendaya (as Rue Bennett) was literally begging her dealer for some drugs, and when he refused she realized how much her addiction had impacted her life.

Rue begging for drugs outside of her dealer's apartment
HBO

"All of Zendaya's scenes in this show are great, but this particular one — when she’s screaming and begging Fez to let her in — is incredible. It's such an accurate and heartbreaking portrayal of someone struggling with grief and addiction."

jezabelg2

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HBO / youtube.com

13. In Penny Dreadful, when Eva Green (as Vanessa Ives) became possessed during a seance and had to act as several different people in one short scene.

A bunch of characters crowded around a table and performing a seance
Showtime

"She didn't nail this scene...she murdered it. She expertly played a handful of characters in just a few minutes — some of them deities, some of them dead, some of them different fragments of the main character she portrayed. It's a bone-chilling performance that one never gets over, made even better by the suspense of the narrative and quality of the surrounding actors."

kutles

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Showtime / youtube.com

14. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Emma Caulfield (as Anya Jenkins) had an emotional breakdown after Joyce died because she couldn't comprehend death.

Anya talking to her friends in her room
The WB

"The best piece of acting is in the episode 'The Body' when Anya broke down because she didn't understand why Joyce was dead, and nobody would explain it to her. It’s just a beautiful scene and makes you realize that none of us really understands death, and we don’t like to talk about it. It's such a subtle but obvious aspect of mortality that Anya, newly human, has to try to grapple with, and Emma Caulfield played it perfectly."

michaelt445

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The WB / youtube.com

15. In Jane the Virgin, when Gina Rodriguez (as Jane Villanueva) got a call that Michael had died, and she collapsed to the ground in horror.

Jane answering the phone and falling to the ground, screaming
The CW

"Gina Rodriguez's acting in response to Michael's death...I watch it and am immediately taken into that spot, that pain, that life. I know that suffering. I have been there, and to see it on screen again — my same response to a loved one's death — play out in the manner she made was too close to home. It was perfect. It was so raw and real."

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The CW / youtube.com

16. In Grey's Anatomy, when Sandra Oh (as Cristina Yang) told the panel exactly how she felt about her professional career, including how unfair it was for Burke to be praised for her own work.

Cristina Yang wearing her blue scrubs and talking to the panel
ABC

"There are so many amazing Sandra Oh moments on Grey’s Anatomy, but this speech always stood out to me. In this scene, she told the panel about her relationship with Burke and how hard it had been because he left and was getting all of these surgical accolades and awards, but she was still at the hospital and not even able to do surgeries because Hahn irrationally disliked her. She pointed out that she was the one performing Burke’s surgeries while he had his hand tremor, but it all meant nothing now. She was trying to keep it together and stay strong, but she was just so defeated."

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ABC / youtube.com

17. In Ozark, when Tom Pelphrey (as Ben Davis) stepped into the taxi and immediately bombarded the driver with all of his hopes and fears and what keeps him up at night.

Ben sitting in the backseat of the taxi as it drives along the countryside
Netflix

"His monologue in the taxi is one of the best-acted scenes in television history. His acting is so good that it sort of makes your eyes widen, especially when he delivers that final line and you realize what's just happened. It's just so good, and he portrays someone with bipolar disorder in such a real and accurate way."

brittanyarnett21

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Netflix / youtube.com

18. In This Is Us, when Sterling K. Brown (as Randall Pearson) opened up to Susan Kelechi Watson (as Beth Pearson) about how overwhelmed and sad he was, so she reminded him that he built his life out of tragedy.

Beth and Randall on the couch
NBC

Suggested by kaylayandoli

Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson will forever be my favorite parts of This Is Us. I desperately want them to adopt me, and scenes like this prove why. At this particular moment in the series, Randall glances away from the news about George Floyd's murder and the Black Lives Matter protests on TV, and he looks at his three Black daughters. He opens up to Beth about how tired and sad he feels, and Beth lets him sit for a moment before reminding him that all of his successes in life were built out of trauma and tragedy. She reassures Randall that she'll always be with him, fighting right by his side, and it reminds the viewer how real and natural and true their relationship is. Yes, there's joy, but there's also pain and heartbreak and sorrow, and that's why you can't help but root for them the way they root for each other.

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NBC / youtube.com

19. And in Doctor Who, when Tony Curran (as Vincent van Gogh) traveled to the future with The Doctor and was shown just how much of an impact his art had on the world.

Van Gogh crying while looking at his art in a museum in the future
BBC

"The entire episode is fantastic, but Tony Curran gave the most authentic performance ever, which both broke my heart and made me feel overwhelmed with happiness. His facial expressions were so subtle and perfect."

savvymarie

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BBC / youtube.com

Did your favorite scene not make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

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