2010-2011 Rank: 8 (-2)
Erin continues to be the opposing opinion at the Sunday family dinner table full of cops. She gets the least amount of major storylines among the other main characters (Frank, Danny and Jaime), but she tends to be involved in some capacity. She became connected with an art thief who seems to like her and is trying to earn her trust while the FBI is trying to get information out of her. Other than that the most time she gets is when a case she’s working on coincides with something one of the other characters is tied to.
2010-2011 Rank: 9 (-)
Of the one hundred or so members of the Braverman family (that’s a bit of an exaggeration), Julia probably had the most dramatic storyline going on throughout most of the season. She found out she probably can’t get pregnant again. She meets Zoe, a coffee girl at her firm who is pregnant and planning on giving up her baby. Against her parents’ wishes, Julia decides to ignore the proper adoption channels and informally makes a deal with Zoe to get the baby when it is born. The end of the season was incredibly heartbreaking for her and her husband Joel as Zoe backs out on the deal after the birth and decides to keep her baby. Julia makes a deal with the adoption agency saying she’ll take anything that’s available instead of waiting for a newborn baby, and she ends up with an eight year old boy. Not exactly what she was expecting. Julia is a strong and successful woman, but season three really humanized her.
2010-2011 Rank: Previously Didn't Watch
The eldest of the Gallagher children does the most to raise her family in place of their deadbeat dad Frank. She almost ran away with Jimmy/Steve at the end of season one, but decided she couldn’t leave her family. In season two she continued to work hard and even decided to go back to school. It’s hard to find good qualities in the characters of the aptly-named Shameless, but Fiona does carry most of what morals do exist.
2010-2011 Rank: 4 (-3)
Elizabeth is an incredibly pleasant character on White Collar. She has always seen the good in Neil while her husband Peter has only slowly grown to that opinion. She doesn’t get into too much trouble as she is not in the FBI with her husband, but her hands have gotten dirty a couple of times. This past season Elizabeth was kidnapped by Neil’s nemesis Keller. While Neil, Peter and Mozzie had to work with Keller to recapture the stolen submarine treasure, Elizabeth was crafty enough to get herself out of captivity. In a later episode she decided to play spy when she noticed some suspicious activity from new neighbors. She might not have as much going on as most of the other women on this list, but she is the one who causes me to smile the most.
2010-2011 Rank: 7 (+1)
Jackie came on as Danny’s partner in season one. The two have formed a successful partnership as detectives. Jackie is a tough woman who lives alone and can handle her own in any situation. She always has Danny’s back when he has to make tough decisions that may go against protocol. You sometimes have to wonder if there is a deep subconscious romantic connection between the two, but Danny loves his family too much and they each have too much respect for each other for anything to happen. Jackie did look good when she went undercover as a prostitute to find a killer.
2010-2011 Rank: 3 (-2)
Since her brother Crosby got married in the finale this season, Sarah is now the only unmarried sibling of the Braveman adults. She is however romantically involved with a much younger Mark, who’s played by the very talented Jason Ritter. In fact there was a connection a while back, but then Jason Ritter went to star in The Event. Though I enjoyed The Event, the show’s cancellation had the positive of bringing him back to Parenthood. Anyway, Sarah had an up and down year, but mostly pretty good. She helped her alcoholic ex-husband and father of her children get into rehab. This made her think about the idea of getting her family back together, but decided it was best to not be with her ex. She wrote a play that ended up doing well as a show. The last we see her she is contemplating marrying Mark, but left the viewer waiting until next season for an answer.
2010-2011 Rank: 5 (+1)
Margaret has had a tough second season. Nucky was on the verge of going to jail and in the wake of the trial began to show signs of darkness. She had naughty thoughts about Nucky's bodyguard Owen and eventually slept with him. She tracked down her family that she ran away from in New York City and they want nothing to do with her. Worst of all, her daughter contracted Polio. Even through all of this, she married Nucky and in a moment of disgust for what Nucky has become, she took all of the money Nucky had for a road to Atlantic City and gave it to the church. Nucky will not be happy when he finds out.
2010-2011 Rank: 2 (-1)
At 18 or 19 years old, Amber is the oldest “child” of the Braverman clan. Even though she is just a teenager who just graduated high school, Amber is more mature than most young adults. She has dealt with a lot of heartache in her life, whether it’s having an alcoholic father who walked out on her family or not getting into college out of high school. At the beginning of the season Amber made the decision to move out of her grandparents’ house where her mom, brother and she were staying. That was the best move for her as she is definitely ready to be an independent young woman. Amber is hardly ever a focal point among the sprawling ensemble cast, but her material is just as heavy as the adults’. Besides moving out on her own, Amber took in her deadbeat father for a while, struggled with money, landed a job with her Aunt Kristina’s campaign office, got involved with her boss and eventually was forced to end it by her Aunt. Mae Whitman is incredibly talented and helps make her character Amber one of the deepest and most interesting characters on Parenthood.
2010-2011 Rank: New Show
The top two spots belong to women from new shows. Lily Bell is really the only major female character on Hell on Wheels though there are two other female characters with much smaller roles. Ms. Bell was married to a surveyor for the railroad who was killed by an Indian, who she ended up killing herself. Upon her return from near death, she was dubbed the “Fair-Haired Maiden of the West.” This was meant to garner support from investors for the Union Pacific Railroad. She has a rich and proper upbringing but has shown she can get dirty when she needs to.
2010-2011 Rank: New Show
At the time I’m writing this, I have not yet completed this season of Person of Interest. Carter, who began by trying to catch Reese, is now helping him and Finch with their endeavors. She is trying to play by the rules of her job as a detective, but she seems to understand that what Reese and Finch are doing is good and she wants to be able help people. She still doesn’t know that her partner Fusco is also working with them, but I think it’ll be fun when the two detectives find out. Carter is the epitome of a good person and it’s hard to find a character anywhere with more morals than her.
11. Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) - Justified
12. Debbie Gallagher (Emma Kenney) - Shameless
13. Sheila Jackson (Joan Cusack) - Shameless
14. Jasmine Trussell (Joy Bryant) - Parenthood
15. Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol) - Boardwalk Empire
16. Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter) - Parenthood
17. Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason) - White Collar
18. Eileen Ran (Anjelica Huston) - Smash
19. Zoe DeHaven (Rosa Salazar) - Parenthood
20. Eva (Robin McLeavy) - Hell on Wheels