These are the television career women that I find the most compelling, the most interesting, the most watchable. I’m not Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times so critiquing their acting or the overall quality of their shows isn’t my intent. Although I do believe there are good, even great, shows on this list (okay, maybe not Lipstick Jungle. Strike that, that was a guilty pleasure of mine).
C.J. Cregg (played by Allison Janey) on The West Wing. White House Press Secretary.
Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) on Parks & Recreation. City Hall Staffer/Councilwoman (recalled!)
Law & Order
Brenda Lee Johnson (played by Kiera Sedgwick) on The Closer. Major Crimes Deputy Chief.
Miss Marple (played by many actresses, but I most enjoy Julia McKenzie) on Miss Marple.
Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies) on The Good Wife.
Sydney Bristow (played by Jennifer Garner) on Alias.
Jessica Fletcher (played by Angela Landsbury) on Murder, She Wrote. Novelist and Amateur Sleuth.
Patty Hewes (played by Glenn Close) on Damages. Attorney.
Media & Entertainment
Murphy Brown (played by Candice Bergen) on Murphy Brown
Liz Lemon (played by Tina Fey) on 30 Rock. Head writer of a sketch comedy show.
Peggy Olson (played by Elisabeth Moss) on Mad Men. Creative copywriter.
Wendy Healy (played by Brooke Shields) on Lipstick Jungle. Movie studio president.
Betty Suarez (played by America Ferrera) on Ugly Betty. Assistant who blossoms into a magazine editor.
Julia Houston (played by Debra Messing) on Smash. Playwright/Dramatist.
If I could mashup these characters into my own career profile, I think I’d start with Alicia Florrick because the series opens with her as a stay-at-home mom who jumps back into her career as a lawyer (although in her case, a cheating and corrupt husband was the impetus). I’d mix in C.J Cregg for her grace, intelligence and media instincts. Because they are creatives who actually create, they follow their visions turning their ideas into something to be consumed — they conceive, they write, they produce, I’ll add a bit of Julia Houston, Betty Suarez and Wendy Healy. For her enthusiasm and optimism, Leslie Knope. For her command of every foreign language, her amazing body and ability to kick ass, Sydney Bristow. And, because I simply love her, think I have a spot-on British accent (ha!) and feel my detecting skills are quite honed, Miss Marple.
Who are your favorite career women on television? What characters would embody your dream career profile?