2010-2011 Rank: 6 (-4)
After learning to trust his partner over the last couple of years, Peter spent a better part of this past season trying to uncover whether or not Neal had the stolen submarine treasure. Neal did, but he felt bad about lying to Peter. The two have become close not only as partners but as friends. Besides dealing with Neal, Peter had the low point of seeing his wife kidnapped. The worst part was she was kidnapped by Neal’s adversary because Neal had the treasure. At the end of the season Neal cut his ankle bracelet and fled the country. It was a tough year for Peter.
2010-2011 Rank: 9 (-)
Speaking of tough years, Adam lost his longtime job just before his wife had a new baby. After some thought, he eventually went into partnership with his brother Crosby to open up a music studio. Adam doesn’t know anything about the music industry, but Crosby doesn’t know much about business so the two go well together. There of course has been conflict between the brothers/partners, which peaked when Adam wanted to sell the studio for a lump sum of money and Crosby didn’t because it was his dream job. In the end they seem happy and the studio is remaining in their hands. Why not, they already attracted Cee-Lo Green to record there.
2010-2011 Rank: New Show
The main protagonist of the new AMC period drama, Cullen Bohannon, is a former Confederate soldier who freed his slaves before the war and is hunting down the Union soldiers who killed his wife. As a murderer on the run, he found temporary refuge as the foreman for the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. Throughout the season he has continued to track down those who murdered his wife, befriended a former slave, earned the respect from the head of the railroad Thomas Durant, battled with various people and eventually went back on the run after the head of security (The Swede) discovered who he really is. Hell on Wheels had a fun first season and established a great main character in Bohannon.
2010-2011 Rank: 4 (-3)
Though there are four major characters on Blue Bloods, Danny is most often the focal point and gets the most air time. He is the eldest of the Reagan siblings and a detective in the NYPD. Usually the weekly case involves him and his partner Jackie. Danny often will bend the rules in order to capture the bad guys and he usually gets the results he’s looking for. A couple major moments this season included accidentally shooting a cop and having his family shot at during an altercation.
5. Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) on Person of Interest
2010-2011 Rank: New Show
Finch and Reese have made for one interesting team. Finch built what is known as “The Machine” for the government. The Machine can predict when bad things are going to happen and pinpoint it to a social security number. It is unknown whether the number represents a victim or a culprit, but the number always indicates some form of involvement. Finch hired Reese, a former special agent for the CIA, to carry out the physically demanding deeds of stopping these unknown bad things from happening. The unlikely duo likes to keep secrets from each other and in turn have been trying to find out more about their partner. Even with the secrets though they have definitely formed a bond and probably trust each other more than they trust anyone else.
2010-2011 Rank: 3 (-1)
Neal has continued to be an outstanding asset for the FBI’s division for white collar crimes. As a former high-end thief, Neal knows all the tricks and often utilizes them to catch the bad guys. Throughout this past season Neal and Mozzie were sitting on a stolen treasure that they couldn’t do anything with because the FBI had a close eye on them. Mozzie kept pushing Neal to run away with him and the treasure, but Neal has built a life he can be proud of in New York and doesn’t really want to leave. Due to certain circumstances however, Neal cuts his ankle monitor and flees the country at the end of the season.
2010-2011 Rank: 5 (+2)
Nucky spent the better part of this season dealing with legal troubles. He was facing trial that could send him to prison for a long time. He also was forced to battle his former protégé Jimmy who decided to challenge Nucky for unofficial leadership of Atlantic City. Jimmy was backed by his father the Commodore who once ran Atlantic City before Nucky. He also brought Nucky’s brother Eli to his side as well as many of Nucky’s supporters. When all seemed lost for Nucky he still managed to find a way. He went to Ireland to trade guns to the IRA for good Irish whiskey. He also took on a new body guard (Jimmy’s old job) in the form of Owen Slater, a tough Irishman with a mysterious background. He was not only able to keep Chalky and the African American community on his side, but also his counterparts in New York (Rothstein) and Chicago (Torrio) to stick with him and eventually take back power. The defining moment came in the closing scenes of the season when Nucky agreed to a meeting with Jimmy but instead of making peace shot Jimmy in the head. Murdering the man he once raised as a boy turned Nucky from a reluctant gangster into a full-fledged mafia boss. A compelling moment indeed.
2010-2011 Rank: 2 (-)
Though there are a lot of law-related shows on this list, I just realized that six of the top eight men and twelve of the top twenty are men that in some way go against the law. It’s really interesting how many of these men who are doing questionable things can be truly likable characters. Boyd is sort of the running bad guy throughout the series of Justified, but he generally is also going against each season’s main villain and therefore can be easy to root for. Though in season two Boyd tried to become a law-abiding man, he has gone back to his old habits and is trying to take over the criminal activities of Harlan county. The Bennett family no longer has power with Dickie being the only remaining member of the family. This led to three major players trying to take over in the county. Boyd, Robert Quarles and Ellstin Limehouse. Limehouse still sort of sits in the background and gives support to anyone who wants to pay. So the main showdown was between Quarles and Boyd. Though Raylan and the US Marshalls are trying to stop everyone, Raylan still has close ties to Boyd and therefore tends to lean on his side a bit.
2010-2011 Rank: 1 (-)
Speaking of Raylan, the best looking Marshall in a cowboy hat had many things to deal with this past season. There was the three-way battle (and sometimes four-way when Dickie Bennett got out of prison) between all of these criminals trying to take advantage of a region that thrives on criminal activity. Since all but one of them came out alive (R.I.P. Robert Quarles), you have to think Raylan will be dealing with them again next season. Through all of this Raylan also dealt with trying to make things work with his pregnant ex-wife Winona, but part way through the season she bolted just as they were getting ready to move in together. Aside from the personal problems, Raylan is such an interesting protagonist who is flawed yet successful at his job. He has a steely resolve that no one can break. He was a bit shaken when he was almost killed by a woman and was forced to shoot her. He has killed many people over the years but that was his first woman. Nobody seems to face death as often as Raylan, but he just calmly stares it down every time and thankfully for him draws a gun faster than anyone.