Detective Stabler and Detective Benson, Law and Order: SVU
Played By: Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay
Not all procedurals are created equal. Stylish performances like those given by Hugh Lory on House can make an otherwise dull show shine. Normally, the leads we love on these shows have some quirky trait that separates them from the pack. In the case of Meloni and Hargitay, they just acted the hell out of their roles. There was genuine emotion, and thus the illusion of stakes.
When Meloni walked away and Hargitay took a step back, it was evident how important they'd been to what made the show bearable.