20. Thor 'The Swede' Gundersen (Christopher Heyerdahl) on Hell on Wheels
2012-2013 Rank: 19 (-1)
At the end of the second season, there was a question as to whether or not Mr. Gundersen was even alive. Bohannon went to hang The Swede and he jumped off a bridge. A few episodes into the last season our questions were answered (though everyone probably suspected correctly). The Swede first befriended a Mormon family who were crossing the Midwest on their way to a Mormon camp. After a few episodes, he killed the family and took up the identity of the father. He would eventually arrive at the Mormon camp and be mistaken for a minister and he would take up a position of power there. The importance in all of this is that Bohannon would end up at the Mormon camp on trial and would be at the mercy of The Swede. Gundersen is an evil man and somehow keeps finding a way to survive.
19. Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) on Fargo
2012-2013 Rank: New Show
Speaking of evil...Lester Nygaard was for a longtime a schmuck who couldn't stand up for himself in any situation. All of this would come to a boiling point when he unintentionally arranged for one of his bullies to be murdered and later murdered his own wife. He would go on to elude the police by framing his brother and reinvent himself as an important person. Lester was a really interesting and disturbing character, played brilliantly by Martin Freeman (who I very much enjoy as an actor). It was hard to take him seriously at first (as he typically does comedy) but he did a great job.
18. Elam Furguson (Common) on Hell on Wheels
2012-2013 Rank: 18 (-)
Elam fought to keep Eva and "their" child in his life throughout the season and maintained a position of power at Hell on Wheels. HE then went on to fight a bear and the season ended with a question of whether or not he survived. Later the show was renewed and it's safe to assume he is still alive.
17. Nelson Van Alden / George Mueller (Michael Shannon) on Boardwalk Empire
2012-2013 Rank: 22 (+5)
After running away from the FBI, Van Alden (now known as George Mueller) took up residence in Chicago with his new wife and baby. Mueller spent some time as a salesman but was not very successful. He stumbled into employment with an Irish mobster and later turned on him to work for Al Capone. It was never really his intention to become a mobster, but it turned out he could do a pretty good job of it.
16. Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) on Blue Bloods
2012-2013 Rank: 11 (-5)
Blue Bloods continues to move forward with the same formula (as most procedurals do) and it works for the show. The only problem is that for someone like me who generally prefers a long term linear storyline in my dramas, it becomes difficult to stand out. I still enjoy the show and its characters (especially Danny), but I'm just not drawn to it as I am the other shows on this list.
15. Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) on Boardwalk Empire
2012-2013 Rank: 17 (+2)
Richard has been a favorite of mine on Boardwalk Empire for a few years now. He's mysterious, has a good heart and is really good at being a bodyguard/hitman. Unfortunately after his friend Jimmy was killed at the end of season 2, Richard's value on the show has diminished. After protecting Jimmy's mom and son for a while, he almost started a family of his own. This has always been a dream of his, but since part of his face was blown off in the war it can be difficult to find suitors. Richard's story came to a conclusion this past season when he was shot trying to assassinate Narcisse for Nucky and Chalky.
14. Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thorton) on Fargo
2012-2013 Rank: New Show
As I mentioned in previous Fargo character write-ups, the show made it difficult to root against the bad guys. They were really interesting and compelling. This especially holds true for main baddie Lorne Malvo. Malvo seemed to be a hitman who likes to stir the pot just to cause trouble for other people. He is amused by other people's misery. Malvo is also a bit reckless, not seeming to care too much about being seen and eventually being caught. One of his earliest scenes was when Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) pulled him over (before anyone knew who he was) and basically scared Grimly into letting him go. Grimly later realized that Malvo was in fact a dangerous man responsible for many murders. He was able to make up for it at the end of the season by finding Malvo's hideout and killing him.
13. Adam Braverman (Peter Krause) on Parenthood
2012-2013 Rank: 12 (-1)
Adam has always very successfully juggled a lot of things in his life. This past season he stood by his wife while Kristina ran for mayor (and lost). This was after she battled cancer. Adam's business, The Luncheonette, which he co-owns with his brother Crosby, decided to go from just being a recording studio to being a management company as well. They signed their first band and there was much to learn and overcome throughout that process. Finally, Adam and Kristina found another direction for Kristina to go in, opening and running a school for children with disabilities. That doesn't even cover how much he does to help and support his siblings and parents through all of their life challenges.
12. Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman) on Person of Interest
2012-2013 Rank: 21 (+9)
Fusco made a full transformation from when he first appeared in season one to the end of season two. He went from being a dirty cop to helping take the dirty cops down and focus on doing good. Though he isn't a star in the "Machine Team" (I'm trying it out), he is an integral part as their man on the inside of the police. Now that HR, the group of dirty cops (and a politician), have been taken down, Fusco doesn't have to live in fear that they will take him out. With the rest of his team (Shaw, Reese and Finch) on the run and in hiding, what will he do to help get them back on track?
11. Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul)
10. Walter White (Bryan Cranston) on Breaking Bad
2012-2013 Rank: 2 (-9), 13 (+3)
Breaking Bad brought some of the most exciting characters and drama to television in recent years. Unfortunately the ride had to end and it did on their terms. The two main characters, Walt and Jesse, went through many ups and downs throughout their time together as meth cooks. This past season saw them become as far apart as ever as Jesse worked with the DEA (specifically Walt's brother-in-law Hank) to try to take down Walt. In the end, Walt did his best to help Jesse and it appeared that Jesse might have gotten away with a happy endings (at least as happy as he could have considering the circumstances). Walt didn't fare as well, though he accomplished what he wanted to before the end.
9. Mozzie (Willie Garson) on White Collar
2012-2013 Rank: 14 (+5)
At one time, Mozzie was strictly Neal's main point of contact in the conman world to help solve cases with the FBI. Throughout that time Mozzie has continued to try to lightly convince Neal to run away from the FBI, though he has gotten softer along with Neal in helping the good guys. Mozzie did come dangerously close to being "caught in the act" so to speak by Agent Barrigan until she went into labor and he was the only one there to help deliver her baby.
8. Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) on White Collar
2012-2013 Rank: 10 (+2)
The beginning of this past season was probably the most trying time in Peter's life. The previous finale found him getting arrested for murder, which Neal's father had committed. Peter was in danger of losing everything. Fortunately with the help of Neal and Mozzie, he was able to get off with forged recorded confession from Neal's father (re: from Neal). He was later given a promotion to run the New York White Collar branch and was forced to pass Neal on to a different handler.
7. Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) on Boardwalk Empire
2012-2013 Rank: 6 (-1)
It has become more and more difficult for Nucky to maintain himself as a top bootlegger with all of the competition wanting to take over control. Nucky put motions in place this past season for a new source that was still mostly untapped...Cuban rum. With one final season remaining, will Nucky get away clean and have a long and happy life, or will his enemies catch up with him and finally do him in?
6. Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) on Justified
2012-2013 Rank: 3 (-3)
At the end of season 4, Boyd had recently proposed to Ava and vowed to get out of the criminal business when Ava was arrested for murder. This past season, Boyd spent most of his time trying to figure out how to get her out while also trying to maintain order with his current crime ring. The Crowe family from Florida arrived in Harland looking to take over, the Detroit mob continued to make a push and Boyd's cousin Johnny turned on him for his own gain. In the end, Ava did get out of prison. What Boyd doesn't know however is that she struck a deal with Raylan to take Boyd down for good, which I imagine will unfold in the upcoming final season.
6. Harold Finch (Michael Emerson)
5. John Reese (Jim Caviezel) on Person of Interest
2012-2013 Rank: 8 (+2), 9 (+4)
The boys (well all of the characters) of Person of Interest had a big year. Finch started off the season kidnapped by Root, though by the end of the season they'd be working together. They continued to take on "numbers" and help people while also battling two big enemies. The first group was HR, who were made up of a bunch of dirty cops. The fight would come to a pinnacle when their partner and friend Detective Carter was murdered by them. They made it a point (especially Reese) to take them down. They succeeded. The other group was led by politicians looking to find The Machine and make it their own. It eventually turned out they were making a new one and by the end of the season it had become active. Now Reese and Finch's identities (as well as their partner Shaw) are in danger and they are on the run.
2. Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) on Justified
2012-2013 Rank: 1 (-1)
The three-year reign of Raylan Givens as #1 on this list has ended, but mainly because the new #1 was so good this year. Raylan did however continue doing what he does best, taking down bad guys in sometimes questionable ways. At the end of the season, Raylan made a deal with Ava to help take down his former friend/nemesis Boyd. This will no doubt culminate in the upcoming final season.
1. Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) on Hell on Wheels
2012-2013 Rank: 5 (+4)
Cullen began the season travelling to New York City with Elam to convince the backers of the railroad to put him in charge. Thomas Durant had just been arrested for corruption and Cullen took it upon himself to seize a great opportunity. Things mostly seemed to go well throughout the season for the railroad, though early actions would later haunt him. Cullen was forced to hang a child for murder though he knew the boy's father was guilty and couldn't get him to confess. The man was a Mormon and Cullen would find himself later captured by them and forced to marry the man's daughter, who he impregnated. Just when things were looking up.
21. Lip Gallagher (Jeremy Allen White) on Shameless
22. Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) on Blue Bloods
23. Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) on Fargo
24. Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher) on Shameless
25. Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) on Blue Bloods
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