Seasons available: 1-5
Stars: Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Noah Bean, Tate Donovan, Ted Danson, Zeljko Ivanek, Anastasia Griffith, Marcia Gay Harden, Martin Short
Much has been made about the modern-day TV revolution's lineup of strong male characters—Tony Soprano, Walter White, Don Draper, Vic Mackey. It hasn't only been a boys' club, though. Giving the small-screen movement a much-needed dose of don't-fuck-with-me estrogen, cutthroat lawyer Patty Hewes (as played by Emmy winner Glenn Close) stomps through the critically acclaimed FX drama series Damages with authority, grace, and an omnipresent intimidation factor. She's not deplorable like, say, Walter "murderer/meth dealer" White or Don "cold-hearted womanizer" Draper, but Patty's nonetheless an imposing force of nature.
What makes Damages, which aired from 2007 through 2012, so damn compelling is Patty's complicated relationship with her younger, less harsh underling Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). In a way, she's the Jesse Pinkman to Patty's Walter White, though with much less life-threatening and literally homicidal manipulation issued out by the latter in this case.