As I said in my previous post there are a lot of great TV characters, and there are a lot of great TV protagonists, but I’ve narrowed it down to 15! I’ve already done Part I, so here it is everyone, Part II of My Top 15 TV Protagonists!
*WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
10. Michael Westen (USA’s Burn Notice)
Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) is one of the most exciting and bad-ass characters ever to hit our television screens. He is a former Army Ranger who is later recruited by the CIA and ends up becoming the CIA’s top operative. While Michael is on an assignment in his hometown of Miami, Florida, he receives notice that he has been burned and blacklisted by the CIA, and that all of his financial accounts have been frozen. Michael is stuck in Miami, having no money and while trying to find out answers about who burned him and why, he becomes a freelance private investigator to those who need his help. Michael along with his ex-girlfriend Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), who is a former IRA agent and his old friend Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), who is a former Navy Seal are able to put their skills and experience to good use helping those in need. Michael is forced to live in an abandoned loft above a nightclub, which becomes his home and base of operations. He is shown to have an affinity for Armani suits, eats yogurt and drinks beer, and works out a lot to stay in top shape for the various freelance assignments he finds himself involved in.
The more you see Michael and his team in action, it becomes clear that being a spy/former spy can get you out of most situations, especially really dire ones. Michael is able to adopt an alias and create a convincing cover story, which helps him in various situations from his experience being a spy for the CIA. He is very good at hand to hand combat and is able to hold his own in a fight.
Michael is a very kind, sweet, caring, thoughtful and trustworthy man and is shown to be very loyal to his friends and family. He really does enjoy helping people through his freelance work and is willing to help Fiona and Sam when they find themselves in trouble as well. All Michael really wants is to be a spy working for the CIA again, because it’s the only thing he is really good at, and this becomes his goal once he discovers who burned him and why.
Michael is shown to go to any lengths to protect those he cares about and when he finds his friends and family in danger he becomes a force to be reckoned with. You do not want to see Michael on his bad side, because that’s when he becomes extremely dangerous.
Michael Westen can be a very good ally because of his various skills from being a CIA operative, but this can also make him a very dangerous enemy. His determination in regards to stopping bad people and protecting the innocent, and the fact that he is just a total bad-ass are what make him one of the best protagonists on TV.
9. Harvey Specter (USA’s SUITS)
The hotshot New York lawyer who is a Junior Partner at the prestigious law firm, Pearson/Hardman and later Senior Partner at Pearson/Specter. Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is one of the coolest and awesome characters on television. He is a Harvard Law graduate, who is known as “The best closer in New York City” because of how many cases he has closed as a lawyer and Assistant District Attorney.
He is a suave, slick, smooth, charming, confident and at times arrogant man, who because of how successful he has been as a lawyer, feels that no one can beat him. Harvey is shown to be very good with women and to be somewhat of a playboy, but does find himself in the occasional relationship. He is shown to be very intelligent, tough, and also a bit of a wise-ass, especially when it comes to dealing with his boss Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres). Through his interaction with his boss Jessica and associate Mike Ross, it’s clear he has extensive knowledge of movie lines and quotes, being able to quote films such as The Godfather, and Top Gun.
When Harvey finally is promoted to Senior Partner at Pearson/Hardman he is told by his boss Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) that he must hire a new associate. While Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) is running from the cops at a hotel, he meets Harvey Specter and once Mike is able to prove that he is a genius, knowing everything about the law without even having to consult a law dictionary, Harvey is impressed with Mike, despite him not having gone to law school. Harvey sees a bit of himself in Mike and believes he can teach him to become one of the best lawyers anyone has ever seen.
On the surface Harvey is a tough, strict, emotionless man who is a hard-ass and can be a bit of a jerk sometimes. However, deep down he is a thoughtful and caring man and is shown to care for Mike Ross and is a sort of father/brother figure to Mike. Harvey’s confidence can be a strength that can help him win legal cases, but can be also be a weakness when he takes it too far and it turns into hubris.
Harvey Specter is the guy everyone wants to be and the guy every woman wants to be with and he is kind of a bad-ass lawyer making him one of the best television protagonists.
8. Sam and Dean Winchester (CW’s Supernatural)
Brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) hunt everything supernatural, whether it be vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts, and sometimes even gods and goddesses. They have been through quite a lot together and it has made them tougher and strengthened their brotherly bond.
Sam has been possessed by a demon and an angel, addicted to demon blood, and even possessed by Lucifer himself. He has been to Heaven, Hell, and even Purgatory. He has died numerous times all due to very weird and crazy circumstances.
Sam is a tall, smart, sweet, kind, loving, caring and sensitive man (a fact for which Dean makes fun of him on many occasions). He is shown to be loyal to his friends and family, especially his brother Dean. Sam will do anything for his brother and has shown to go to great lengths to protect and save Dean, including killing a Cross Roads Demon to get Dean out of a deal where he sold his soul to resurrect Sam.
Sam is very intelligent, good with computers and is very good at doing research that pertains to cases that him and Dean are trying to solve. Sam is good with women, but not on the same level as Dean and has had potential relationships, but they never last because of his duty to hunting supernatural creatures.
Sam has been shown to have a dark side when he drinks demon blood, and it turns him into quite an unstoppable force. He cannot control himself on demon blood and becomes corrupt and power-hungry. Sam is very tough and can hold his own in a fight, and his tall and muscular build makes him a very intimidating opponent.
His experience as a hunter make him a very valuable ally, but an even worse enemy. Sam along with his brother Dean have become legends in the hunting community and are feared by demons and other supernatural creatures. They are considered to be the best Hunters by those in the hunting community and referred to by both friends and enemies alike as “The Winchesters,” and “The Winchester Boys.”
Dean is Sam’s older brother and has quite a lot of experience hunting supernatural creatures. He is not very educated, but is very tough and very skilled with various types of firearms. Dean due to his experience being a hunter, carries various types of law enforcement uniforms and has various fake ids and badges, so that him and his brother Sam can disguise themselves as FBI agents, park rangers, etc to investigate supernatural cases without alerting law enforcement. He is shown to be very good with women, and is able to hustle other people at pool to help him and his brother Sam fund their hunting lifestyle. He has an affinity for cheeseburgers and other greasy foods, and enjoys beer and pie. Dean enjoys classic rock, and rock n’ roll and really enjoys the song “Dead or Alive,” by Jon Bon Jovi.
Dean, much like Sam has also been through quite a lot. Dean has been to Hell, Heaven, Purgatory and even been in limbo, which is where you go when you are on the verge of death. Dean has also died numerous times due to some really crazy and weird circumstances. Dean unlike Sam became a demon due to the Mark of Cain and The First Blade.
Dean is shown to be very good at torturing his enemies, due to his time spent in Hell, and is very ruthless when anyone he cares about is threatened or harmed in any way, especially his brother Sam. Dean is not outwardly emotional and refuses to talk about his feelings even to his brother. Dean does not confront his problems, but rather tries to bury them, turning to alcohol and women. A good example of this is when he returns from Hell and still has nightmares of his time spent there and instead of talking to Sam about it, he drinks constantly and sometimes he does not sleep. Dean admits guilt for torturing souls in Hell for what to him felt like 30 years, even though in real time only 3 months had passed. Dean later admits to his brother Sam that he enjoyed torturing souls in Hell, something that scares him and Sam.
Dean is shown to be a good hunter because of the fact that he is a killer and that is his true nature, something which Dean firmly believes. When Dean is given The Mark of Cain, he is shown to be very power-hungry, and unstoppable and he revels in this knowledge, enjoying killing different enemies. This is something that frightens and worries both Sam, and Sam and Dean’s friend, the angel, Castiel. Dean is a proficient mechanic and takes very good care of his car, a 1967 Chevy Impala that was given to him by his father.
Dean having sort of raised Sam, believes he is responsible for his younger brother and must care and protect him. Dean is shown to be very loyal to Sam, willing to sell his soul to resurrect his brother, and is willing to do whatever he must to save and protect Sam.
Sam and Dean are a dynamic hunting duo who can handle anything that is thrown at them and it’s exciting to watch them in action, which makes them two of the best protagonists on television.
7. Raymond Reddington (NBC’s The Blacklist)
Criminal mastermind Raymond Reddington is one of the most fascinating, intriguing, and compelling characters on TV right now. One could argue that he isn’t really a protagonist, but for the purposes of my list and based on what actions he has taken up to this point, I will consider him a protagonist.
Raymond Reddington (James Spader) is a criminal mastermind who after years of being on the run from the FBI decides to surrender himself to the FBI, with only one request that he only speak to Rookie FBI Profiler, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).
Reddington is a very smooth, charming, slick, confident and intelligent man. He enjoys living the high life, drinking wine, reading and just relaxing under the sun. Red has an affinity for fedoras and expensive suits and enjoys fine cuisine. He is shown to be very loyal to those he cares about whether it be friends, contacts, or Agent Keen, who he clearly has some close connection with, whether Red is her father remains to be seen.
Raymond Reddington has also been shown to be very ruthless, killing those he considers to be a threat to him, his former lovers or Elizabeth Keen. From his days of being a criminal, Red has ties and connections with various criminals, and connections with former friends and allies. These connections with criminals makes him a very valuable ally, but an even worse enemy.
Due to his criminal past, Red is extremely difficult to trust and even though he claims to be trying to help the FBI, Agent Keen doesn’t really know what his true motives are and what his end game is.
Red does not take orders and does whatever is necessary to catch and deal with various types of criminals on his “Blacklist,” even if that means murder.
Raymond Reddington is unpredictable, cunning, and ruthless and kind of a bad-ass which makes him one of the best protagonists on TV.
6. Doctor Gregory House, M.D. (Fox’s House)
Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) is one of the most intriguing, exciting and fun characters to ever grace our televisions. Doctor Gregory House is a Diagnostician at The Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey and along with his team of Doctors he tries to solve the most bizarre and unusual medical cases.
Doctor House is widely regarded as one of the best medical minds in the world and is considered a medical genius. Despite all of this, he is extremely hard to work and deal with, because of his personality. House is rude, mean, arrogant, condescending, and misanthropic, which bothers his boss, best friend Doctor Wilson, doctors, nurses, and patients and their families. House had to have part of his thigh muscle removed to save his life, leaving him in constant pain and forced to use a cane to walk around with. This has left him a bitter, angry, and miserable man, who takes it out on others because he is in constant pain. House has become a drug addict due to the constant pain he is suffering and has developed an addiction to Vicodin. Much like Sherlock Holmes with his Opium addiction, House is able to work more effectively while on Vicodin.
Doctor House is shown to not follow the rules and regulations of hospital procedure, refusing to wear a lab coat, and does not do his mandated clinic hours, which makes him butt heads with the hospital administrator and Dean of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Cuddy. House has an obsession to solve medical cases, and refuses to let people die, even when it is the patient’s wish, like in the case where House resuscitated an elderly man, who signed a DNR. Doctor House enjoys playing the piano and the guitar and being right, especially in regards to medical cases.
House is an atheist and this sometimes becomes a problem with patients who believe in God or are just very spiritual. Doctor House feels the need to insult them for believing in a God and believes there is no Heaven or paradise and will do anything to prove this. For example, there was a patient House was treating who died and believed he would go to Heaven, and to prove him he was wrong, House stuck a knife in an electrical socket killing himself for a few seconds. When House is revived, he finds the patient’s body in the morgue covered in a white sheet. Doctor House removes the sheet from his face and says “Told you,” and then covers the patient’s body again.
Despite being a miserable jerk most of the time, House cares about people and wants to help them, but doesn’t like to show it. Doctor Gregory House is an interesting character who you root for because he is a “lovable asshole,” and it’s exciting to see his genius mind at work when he is trying to solve various medical cases which makes him one of the best protagonists on television.
Well that concludes Part II of My Top 15 TV Protagonists, Part III will be up shortly!
What say you? Do you agree/disagree with my list? Who do you consider one of the best TV protagonists? Whatever your thoughts let me know!