Last week, we took a look at the best new primetime series on broadcast network television. This summer and fall have also offered a number of fantastic new characters on returning shows. Here are the best new additions, in alphabetical order by series. Beware of minor spoilers for the latest seasons of the shows listed.
Kat (Erin Way) – Alphas
This super-powered young woman hardly has a reliable memory, but she is able to learn just about anything in a matter of minutes, which makes her extremely valuable in a tight situation. She went from lab rat to field agent in a matter of weeks, and her youthful energy and spirit make her a spunky delight.
Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) – Boardwalk Empire
Gyp got off to a memorable start by beating to death the kindly stranger who stopped to help him fix his car and made the mistake of questioning his intellect. The heavily Italian gangster loves spaghetti and meatballs and setting sheriffs on fire, and he’s one alcohol smuggler you don’t want to cross.
Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser) – Breaking Bad
In her first appearance, Lydia revealed herself to be an obsessive-compulsive control freak with the calmest panicked face in history, and her desperate attempts to save her own life throughout the season, always certain of a mechanical solution to problems, made her even more fascinating.
Tom Card (John C. McGinley) – Burn Notice
McGinley brought his token demeaning sarcasm from his role as Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs to the spy world as the no-nonsense Agent Card, the man who trained Michael. It’s hard to imagine what kind of mentor shaped Michael into the cool, determined spy he is today, but meeting Card helped Michael make perfect sense.
Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski) – Dexter
We don’t yet know much about Hannah, the accomplice of serial killer Wayne Randall. In her first appearance, she seemed to share a bond with Dexter, and she may just stick around long enough to get to know the forensic expert since she probably doesn’t fit his code as a killer deserving death.
Isaak Sirko (Ray Stevenson) – Dexter
Instead of his usual pursuit of a serial killer each season, Dexter now gets to contend with a vast international criminal enterprise. At its top is Isaak, the ruthless gangster whose weapon of choice is a screwdriver to the eye and who seriously wants to get revenge on the lab geek who killed his beloved Victor.
Clarke Hayden (Nathan Lane) – The Good Wife
Usually referred to simply as “The Trustee,” Clarke arrived on the scene to clean house and ensure that Lockhart Gardner could stay afloat. Unlike many of Lane’s louder, more colorful characters, Clarke is matter-of-fact and all about business. Most importantly, he has mastered the quality possessed by most actors on this show: the ability to speak in curt, emphatic sentences.
Hank Rizzoli (Ray Romano) – Parenthood
Emmy-winning comedian Romano’s latest character resembles the sarcastic sad sack he played on Men of a Certain Age, grumblingly taking pictures and refusing to show emotion. As he opens up to his new employee Sarah, he has demonstrated surprising depth and humor and turned what could have been a forgettable guest into an endearing character.
Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits) – Sons of Anarchy
Gemma’s new flame quickly became SAMCRO’s best ally, offering a warm hand to Jax and asking for nothing in return. His sentimentality shines when he visits his handicapped son and shows loyalty to the escorts who work for him. He is at his most fascinating, however, when he reveals his wild side by, for instance, playing chicken with and running a tail off the road.
Daniel Hardman (David Costabile) – Suits
His wife’s death set the stage for the disgraced partner’s triumphant return to Pearson Hardman, constantly keeping his motives and aims a mystery. He was the perfect nemesis for Harvey, always making him think and squirm, never revealing his hand or his allegiances.
Who are your favorite new characters of the season?