Revisiting an old blog post reminded me of how I spent some time this summer watching old M*A*S*H episodes and gave me reason to explain how I revered Hawkeye Pierce as one of my great TV character heroes. Here's a list.
Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H - The first character I remember admiring as I grew up. Mom and Dad were huge fans of the show, and I was watching it well before I could appreciate all that was going on in it. Despite my somewhat conservative leanings, I found the liberal, irreverant, and somewhat narcissistic main character of the show heroic in his efforts to look out for those who couldn't look out for themselves, and to poke a finger in the eye of full-of-themselves authority figures. Truth be told, I'm more like B.J. Hunnicutt than Hawkeye. Perhaps Hawkeye reminded me of who I'd like to be.
Jimmy McNulty from The Wire. The lovable jerk. It's the only way I can think of him. He was endearing in his authentic quest to do good policework, even if it meant crossing ethical line after ethical line. And just as one was coming to admire him, he would do something to remind you that, deep down inside, he was a jerk. I don't see myself as being like McNulty and don't want to be. I'm more like his boss, Lt. Daniels. McNulty was one great character in a cast of great characters, a cast unlike I remember from any other television journey.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Many Trek fans would consider this blasphemy, I say it still: Picard, not Kirk, is my default captain. I admired the way the character always kept his temper in check, and I relished the way he delivered choice lines: ones from "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "The Wounded" come most readily to mind.
I guess I'm a sucker for men in uniform: Commander Bill Adama from Battlestar Galactica was the flawed but revered commander, often allowing his personal feelings cloud his decisions regarding subordinate officers who occasionally failed him.
Detective Lennie Briscoe from Law and Order was my favorite from that long-running show. It's a slight nod for him over Jack McCoy. Still, I loved Lennie's one-liners, his professionalism, his flaws. The episode "Marathon" is a brilliant look at a man fighting old man time to stay relevant as an officer.