9. Michael Trucco
Where You Should Know Him From: As Justin Patrick on USA's Fairly Legal. Also Samuel Anders on SyFy's Battlestar Galactica and with extended guest arcs on ABC's Castle and CW/WB's One Tree Hill.
USA's Fairly Legal might center on Kate Reed, but for my money, it's her ex-husband Justin Patrick who keeps me tuning in.
Here's a supporting character that you could build a whole separate series around. There's so much going on with Justin, and not just in his relationship (or lack thereof) with Kate; it's been intriguing to watch him determined to bust the bad guys, even if it ticks off everyone else around him and lands him in the hospital. That's the kind of lawyer I'd want on my side.
It's a bit of a departure for Trucco, who's still best known for being a Cylon in the remade Battlestar Galactica. I can thank him for pushing me onto the BSG bandwagon - and watching the show also gave me a greater appreciation of just how good an actor he is. Finding out you're a robot, getting a bullet in the back of the head, and sacrificing yourself by flying an entire fleet into the sun...that is some complex and heavy material. That is not for rookie actors. And he nailed it. There are only two character deaths that have ever affected me so deeply that they've actually kept me up at night, and his in BSG is one of them.
So what does he do for his first series regular role after that? He goes and plays a lawyer with a dysfunctional personal life. Fairly Legal couldn't be more different, and that's the point. It's an accomplishment for an actor to be able to play one role well. It deserves recognition when an actor can play more than one at the same high level, even moreso when he or she is working at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
I love that Michael Trucco has made me fall in love with two totally different characters. I admire that he can make me cry, and yell at my TV when I think Justin is doing something stupid, and root for him to be happy. He's not just perfectly executing these parts, but he's wonderfully great at creating that emotional connection between the character and the audience. (Also, he happens to be an equally awesome person in real life.)
Despite a major subplot that involved him running for District Attorney, Justin still felt a little underused in season two, as he became part of a love triangle with new character Ben Grogan and Kate was clearly insane to have dumped him (again). Here's to hoping that if/when Fairly Legal comes back for season three, we see a lot more of him, because Trucco is somebody who deserves a lot more attention.