In long-running TV shows, viewers attach themselves to the relationships between the characters, whether those are romantic or platonic. Unlike stand-alone movies or franchises, television allows audiences to spend much more time getting to know the characters and their relationships, which is why it hurts so much when a relationship is betrayed.
While betrayal is expected in television drama, as it heightens the emotion, close personal friendships in television often feel like a safe space for fans and the characters. Seeing that safety and trust be broken can be heartbreaking, but it can make for some great television.
Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of physical assault and drug abuse.
10 Hanna Marin’s Best Friend Terrorized Her (Pretty Little Liars)
Pretty Little Liars was one of the most popular teen shows of recent years. Over seven seasons, Pretty Little Liars followed the mystery of who was terrorizing the protagonists under the moniker “A.” The most memorable reveal of Pretty Little Liars saw the moniker being used by Hanna’s best friend Mona Vanderwaal, who had come into Hanna’s life after the death of Alison DiLaurentis.
Mona confessed that she became “A” because she felt like the girls stole Hanna’s friendship from her. However, terrorizing Hanna drove an even greater wedge between the two, and Hanna never fully forgave or trusted Mona again.
9 Chandler Bing Was Betrayed When Ross Geller Kissed His Mother (Friends)
Recognized by many as the least favorite Friends character, Ross Geller betrays many friends and loved ones throughout the sitcom’s ten-season run. This includes his on-again-off-again girlfriend Rachel, with the famous “We were on a break” storyline. Ross’ dishonesty in relationships begins in the very first season in The One With Mrs. Bing when he gets drunk and kisses Chandler’s mom.
Not only is this a terrible thing to do, but Ross continually lies to Chandler afterward and even attempts to blame Rachel’s new boyfriend. By betraying others and refusing to own up to his mistakes, Ross became a universally disliked character in a beloved sitcom.
8 Kara Danvers And Lena Luthor Betrayed Eachother (Supergirl)
In the Supergirl fifth season episode Tremors, Lena Luthor confesses to Supergirl that she killed her brother. Lena deeply regretted this action, as he finally revealed the truth about Kara’s identity. Lena cries to Kara that she feels betrayed and as though her trust, which took so long to build, had been shattered.
Lena makes matters worse by taking Myriad, a mind-controlling technological program. Lena contains Kara in the Fortress and leaves her trapped. Kara’s unable to explain her side of the story to the woman she thought was her best friend.
7 Emily Dickinson’s Lover Married Her Brother (Dickinson)
The LGBTQ+ community had an extremely hard time existing in the 1800s, which the AppleTV+ series Dickinson makes very clear. After Sue Gilbert’s last remaining family member dies, she is forced to marry to survive. This would be fine, if her future husband was not the older brother of her best friend and lover, Emily.
It is devastating but understandable that Sue had to marry, although it broke Emily to see the woman she loves marry her brother. Emily was left feeling abandoned by the person closest to her.
6 Buffy Was Evicted From Her Own Home (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
Buffy and Willow Rosenberg go through so much together during the seven seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Together, they slay vampires, Willow comes out, Buffy loses her mom, and Willow battles with addiction. They remain by each other’s side until Willow turns against Buffy when she needs her the most.
In the seventh season, a failed attack on a Buffy villain leaves slayers dead and Xander badly injured. When everyone else questions Buffy’s ability to lead, she looks to Willow for support. However, Willow (and everyone else) simply stands by and watches as Buffy’s sister forces her to leave.
5 Andy Herrera Deserved Captain But Maya Bishop Took The Role (Station 19)
Station 19 is not unlike its parent show Gray’s Anatomy when it comes to drama between characters. In season three, Andy’s father’s interference stops her from being named Captain of the Station. The role is given to Andy’s best friend, newly-promoted Lieutenant Maya Bishop.
Although Maya did not technically steal the role from Andy, she knew that Andy was better suited to be Captain and how hard she had worked for the role. Still, Maya took the role happily and without question. Fans often note that Maya’s ambition often prevents her from being a true friend/partner. This betrayal is a prime example of that.
4 Joey’s Girlfriend Fell In Love With Chandler (Friends)
Joey, despite his flaws, is a kind and understanding character in Friends. When Joey was dating Kathy, Chandler developed feelings for her that she reciprocated. Chandler never told Joey about his feelings but if he had, Joey would likely have stepped aside and let them be happy together.
Chandler went behind Joey’s back and kissed Kathy while she was still with Joey. When Joey found out, he said to Chandler “I would never do that to you” and many fans agree. Joey would never betray his friends in the same way they betrayed him.
3 Enzo Was Left To Burn (The Vampire Diaries)
In a flashback episode in The Vampire Diaries, viewers see Damon Salvatore become friends with Enzo in 1953. The two are captured and tortured together. What keeps Damon going through it all is Enzo’s selflessness and friendship. Enzo sacrifices his rations of blood to Damon, so Damon can gain strength and escape.
In the process of escaping, Damon causes a fire and is unable to free Enzo. Damon has to turn off his emotions to leave Enzo, which shows that he truly cared about him. However, he still leaves Enzo to die and endangers so many more in the process.
2 Spencer Reid Thought His Friend Was Dead When JJ Knew She Wasn’t (Criminal Minds)
In the sixth season of Criminal Minds, Agent Emily Prentiss moves to Paris. With the help of Agents Aaron Hotchner and Jennifer Jareau, Emily uses her time in Paris to fake her death so she can ensure her safety. While this affects the entire BAU, it hurts Spencer Reid the most. For ten weeks, Spencer cries to JJ about the loss of his friend and almost relapses after getting clean from opioid addiction.
When Emily returns, Reid is angry and feels betrayed. While he’s also angry with Hotchner, he is especially upset with JJ because he felt safe enough to go to her for comfort after Emily’s death. Although it is understandable why JJ kept this a secret, it hurt Reid that he wasn’t trusted to keep that secret too.
1 Maddy Perez Thought Cassie Howard Was Her Best Friend (Euphoria)
The first season of HBO’s Euphoria was particularly harrowing, especially when Maddy experienced physical and emotional abuse and manipulation from her ex-boyfriend Nate Jacobs. Following her and Nate’s breakup, Maddy believed that her friendship with Cassie was the last stable relationship in her life.
However, Cassie betrayed her best friend by starting a relationship with Nate, despite knowing how he treated Maddy. Maddy’s raw vulnerability when she found out was out of character, but it made viewers truly feel her pain. As season two closes, fans wonder if Maddy and Cassie’s relationship will ever be able to return to what it once was.
NEXT: Euphoria: 10 Biggest Betrayals Of The Series, Ranked
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