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The Most Powerful Women on TV

It seems as though every year there’s a new crop of really strong, tough, intelligent female characters on TV. Whether they’re donning combat boots and an AK-47 or gracing the hallways of the top floor of an ad agency, these feisty femmes pull no punches. We thought we’d pay tribute to the most powerful women on TV.

Sarah Manning and her many clones (Tatiana Maslany) in Orphan Black
Okay, so we may be cheating a little bit here by including all the clones portrayed by the oh so very talented Tatiana Maslany on the sci-fi programme Orphan Black – but in our defence they do share the same DNA. Central clone Sarah has certainly proved her mettle by masquerading as cop clone Beth, going head-to-head with crazy clone Helena and keeping it all together for her young daughter. 

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in Game of Thrones: She’s the Mother of Dragons, need we say any more?
The very young Daenerys was exiled from her home and sold into  slavery and rape by her own brother. Daenerys had everything against her but took charge of her life and was reborn as the Mother of Dragons. Though her idealism often does more harm than good, Dany is set on making the world a better place – and burning down all those who get in her way.

Kono (Grace Park) in Hawaii Five-0: For a young cop Kono has certainly seen some heavy duty action. Don’t let her deep tan and sea-swept hair fool you: this former surf champ is actually an integral part of HPD’s special task force. So far she has survived a near-drowning, literally kicked ass, gone undercover for long periods and stood by her man.

Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) in The Good Wife: Kalinda is a bit of a smoking hot connundrum – just when you think you’ve got her pegged, she boggles the mind once again.
Kalinda has been the definition of powerful since the legal drama premiered. Whether she’s flirting with multiple partners (of multiple sexes), getting inside information from the police and the FBI or simply using her own intuitive investigative skills to do everyone’s jobs at Lockhart/Gardner, she’s always in control. Did we mention that fans refer to her shoes as “boots of justice?” 

Katherine Beckett (Stana Katic) in Castle: When last we saw this leggy NYPD detective, she was standing at the edge of a ditch watching her fiancĂ©’s car go up in flames, while in a wedding dress. There’s a reason a mystery writer would want to shadow Beckett: She’s one awesome cop. Forever shaped by the murder of her mother, Beckett seeks justice for New York’s victims, often putting herself at risk to crack the case. Whether surviving sniper fire, or staring down corrupt politicians, Beckett never flinches in the face of adversity. And don’t even think about lying to her in that interrogation room…

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) in The Fixer aka Scandal: All the whimpering, puppy dog eyes and crying aside, while Olivia Pope may not physically kick butt, she’ll sure do it metaphorically. Whether she’s rigging elections to get Fitz in office or taking down anyone who goes up against her clients, Olivia does her best to wear the white hat – even though that means getting her hands dirty once and a while.

Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) in Revenge: Emily Thorne has perfected the art of revenge. Lying to everyone while becoming your adversaries’ worst nightmare is no small feat – doing it while impeccably dressed in the highest of high heels with a perfect smile on your face is just sheer discipline. And while she’s great with a red Sharpie, her martial arts and weapon skills prove you don’t want to cross her.

Katherine (Nina Dobrev) in The Vampire Diaries: She may be dead but don’t count her out. Move over, whiney Elena. As one of the oldest vampires in town, Katherine, waltzes in, kills people, manipulates and seduces men, and leaves before anyone realises she’s there.

Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) in Covert Affairs: Annie possesses such go-getter fearlessness, quick thinking and mad linguistic skills, you’d never have guessed in the show’s early years that she was a newbie to the spy game. But that’s precisely why she’s climbed the ranks so quickly. It also helps to always have sky-high Louboutins.

Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) in Homeland: As bipolar CIA agent Carrie Matheson, Claire Danes treads the line between steely focus and all-consuming obsession as Mathison hunts terrorists and tries to determine if Nicholas Brody has been turned by al-Qaeda (while falling in love with him). She’s not afraid to put her life and career on the line to do what she thinks is right. Her behaviour is reckless at times, but we wouldn’t want to be sitting across from Carrie in an interrogation room.

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) in Mad Men: Don Draper may be the handsome man at the centre of Mad Men, but the rise of Peggy through the years is the show’s most remarkable journey. Using her good ideas to crack into the all-boys club of advertising, Peggy refuses to be treated any differently because she wears a dress. Whether saving a pitch with quick thinking or putting her drunk boss in his place, there’s a reason the two biggest creative directors in the business fight over her: she’s the future.

Red (Kate Mulgrew) in Orange is the New Black: Red is a huge fan of tough love, but it’s clear the Litchfield chef is a major softy – especially when it comes to her girls. Red will always take a stand to protect herself and those she cares about, even if it’s against a prison guard. And one has to give her credit for creativity: the tampon McMuffin will haunt us for ever.

Michonne (Danai Gurira) in The Walking Dead: She has a Katana sword – need we say more? Fine, the lone wolf has earned her place in Rick’s group by hacking up walkers with ease. Using the sword to stab The Governor’s zombie daughter in the head before using a shard of glass to stab the ruthless leader of Woodbury in the eye will go down in history as Michonne’s most badass moment on the series.

Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) in Law & Order: SVU: After spending 14 years on the gruesome sex crimes beat in the NYPD, Benson, herself a product of rape, has pretty much seen it all. Although she empathises with victims, she’s never been afraid to set anyone – a suspect, a lawyer or even someone on her own team – straight if needed.

Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer) in Killer Women: Molly Parker is a badass member of the Texas Rangers, a legendary (and traditionally male-dominated) law enforcement agency that tamed the Texas frontier and now serves as the elite investigative unit of the state police, the only female Texas Ranger on an elite squad committed to justice. Translation: She kicks a lot of ass. 

This article was published on the 3rd August 2014 issue of the Sunday Tribune SMtv 

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