It can be argued that some of the most powerful characters on television in recent years have been female. Gone are the days when women were simply supporting actresses, and TV shows are better for it. Here are the strongest twenty female characters we have had the pleasure to watch in our favorite programs over the last decade.
1. Claire Underwood
Although Kevin Spacey plays the lead, it could be argued that his wife, Claire Underwood (played by Robin Wright), is actually the star of House of Cards with her calm strength and never-wavering demeanor.
Source: IMDb | Nathaniel E Bell
2. Cristina Yang
Sandra Oh has been a landmark of Grey’s Anatomy from the very first episode of the show. Smart and calm but also tough when needed, Cristina Yang is one of the most beloved characters in the series.
Source: IMDb | Randy Holmes
3. Virginia Johnson
Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson has won hearts with her performance on the hit show Masters of Sex with her research of human sexuality during the puritanistic 1950s and 1960s.
4. Selina Meyer
Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ has created a strong, opinionated, relatable female persona that audiences find it easy to fall in love with. If only Selina Meyer was a real politician…
5. Cersei Lannister
Lena Headey’s performance as the Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms has received universal praise and numerous awards.
6. Joan Harris
Being able to navigate the chauvinistic waters of the 1960’s advertising world was an almost impossible task as a woman and Joan Harris not only survived it all, but she rose above it to succeed – that is why people love Christina Hendricks’ role on Mad Men.
Source: IMDb | Jordin Althaus
7. Alicia Florrick
Few fell into a role better than Julianna Margulies did as the lead character from The Good Wife. The mental fortitude she portrayed on a weekly basis has inspired people all across the globe.
8. Daenerys “Khaleesi” Targaryen
Another Game of Thrones strong female character, it has to be the woman played by Emilia Clarke. Not an episode goes by where Khaleesi doesn’t find a whole new way to showcase her appeal.
9. Mindy Lahiri
While many medical shows are serious and dramatic, Mindy (played by Mindy Kaling) is able to portray her intelligence at work but still be relatable when it comes to her personal life.
10. Temperance “Bones” Brennan
With a nickname like Bones, you’re already badass by default! Temperance’s inherent intelligence and wisdom makes her perfect for the world of forensics.
11. Rayna Jaymes
It is to be expected that anyone that’s coming out of Nashville is going to be both tough and good at country, but this tough country songstress played by Connie Britton was actually kicked out of her house at the age of 16 and she never looked back!
12. Peggy Olson
Peggy has managed to work her way up from secretary to being a boss in the male-centric realm of advertising, during a time where women had it much harder, and that’s why viewers love her.
Source: IMDb | Jaimie Trueblood
13. Olivia Pope
This Scandal character partly based on American crisis manager, lawyer, author, and television producer Judy Smith has been honed to perfection by Kerry Washington.
Source: IMDb | Randy Holmes
14. Amy Farrah Fowler
Just because she’s featured on a sitcom, doesn’t mean she can’t be a strong female character. There is a lot of appreciation of how Mayim Bialik brought to life Amy’s quirky self-confident knowledge and self-accepting quirkiness.
15. Jessica Pearson
Suits fans would be mad if Jessica Pearson didn’t make it to this list of powerful female characters, and having in mind Gina Torres’ performance, they would have every right to be pissed off.
16. Lady Lyanna
If you’re going to be a 10-year-old warrior leader, you have to have to have some pretty thick skin…
Source: IMDb | Helen Sloan
17. Victoria Grayson
When you’re in a show called Revenge you better be ready to keep your head on a swivel and fight off any vengeful enemies you may have; the great character created by Madeleine Stowe has done that with panache.
Source: IMDb | Colleen Hayes
18. Fiona Goode
If you regularly watched the American Horror Story you will know how difficult it can be to just get through an episode, so the legendary Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode simply dominating every scene she’s been in is even more impressive.
19. Carrie Mathison
Claire Danes absolutely knocks it out of the park in Homeland, brilliantly portraying a character who constantly deals with intense conflicts.
20. Leslie Knope
Politics is hard enough but working tirelessly for local government can be painstaking and thankless. Don’t tell that to Leslie Knope, though, as her insatiable passion for her hometown of Pawnee knows no limits.