There are lots of TV shows I miss. But then there are the characters: individual performances so good they came alive, and I still wonder about them. It's one thing to mourn a show for awhile, another to ask yourself years later, "Whatever happened to...?" as if that person was real.
Here are ten TV characters that I still think about, in (almost) chronological order of their departures.
1. Jennifer Sampson in Line of Fire, as played by Julie Ann Emery (2003)
I'm putting this one first because this is the character that gave me the idea for this piece. Sometimes I feel like I was the only person who watched Rod Lurie's mobs-versus-feds drama on ABC, but for my money, it was one of the best dramatic series I've seen. I never missed an episode and I was often yelling at the TV.
It had a fantastic cast, including David Paymer, 24's Leslie Hope, GCB's Leslie Bibb, and The Unit's Michael Irby. But the standout for me was Julie Ann Emery as Special Agent Jennifer Sampson. There was so much going on in her life (in one episode, her young daughter got caught up in a hostage situation!) but that never stopped her from being a strong agent, spouse and mother. Even when things seemed to get truly out of control, Jennifer was stable and admirable.
She was also the character that turned me into a Julie Ann Emery fan. Her performance in that role was just so real; I felt what Jennifer felt, and understood what she was going through. Sometimes in crime dramas, there's so much action that you don't connect with the characters, but Julie Ann made Jennifer someone I could identify with even though I wasn't fighting the mob. That combination of strength and humanity was one that inspired at least one character I went on to write. I haven't figured out how someone hasn't snapped her up as a lead on another series since.
Thankfully, I can now catch her in another fantastic series: she has a role in USA's Suits, as a private investigator called upon by Harvey (Gabriel Macht). But every time I see her pop up there, I still think about what might have happened to Jennifer Sampson.