1 of 22 Bob D'Amico/ABC
On ABC' new series, Killer Women, Tricia Helfer plays plays Molly Parker, the only female Texas Ranger on an elite squad committed to justice. Translation: She kicks a lot of ass. Check out a few more of our favorite female TV characters who are equally strong and powerful.
2 of 22 Reisig and Taylor/ABC
Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner), Alias
Few modern-day femme spies are more kickass than Sydney, who went through hell — losing her fiancé and BFF, learning her mom is a KGB spy and getting brainwashed for two years — and back in her SD-6 double agent life. Through it all, Syd kept her cool and took down every baddie with one vintage roundhouse kick after another. Besides, has anyone ever looked better in wigs and spandex?
3 of 22 Robert Voets/UPN/Landov
Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Buffy the Vampire Slayer
At first glance, Buffy screams typical slasher-film victim, but the bubbly cheerleader proves girly girls can kick butt, too. She always goes after what she wants, be it a good slay or a good lay. And though she never lets outside influences cramp her style, Buffy's also not afraid to ask for help when she needs it.
4 of 22 Jeffrey Neira/CBS
Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi), The Good Wife
She has perfect aim. She's been known to use a baseball bat as a weapon. And did we mention fans refer to her shoes "boots of justice?" Accessories aside, Kalinda has been the definition of powerful since the CBS legal drama premiered. Whether she's flirting with multiple partners (of multiple sexes!), getting inside information from the police and the FBI or simply using her own intuitive investigative skills to do everyone's jobs at Lockhart / Gardner, she's always in control. (See here.)
5 of 22 Richard Cartwright/ABC
Katherine Beckett (Stana Katic), Castle
There's a reason a mystery writer would want to shadow Beckett: She's one awesome cop. Forever shaped by the murder of her mother, Beckett seeks justice for New York's victims, often putting herself at risk in order to crack the case. Whether surviving sniper fire, or staring down corrupt politicians, Beckett never flinches in the face of adversity. And don't even think about lying to her in that interrogation room…
6 of 22 Mario Perez/ABC/Getty Images
Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly), Lost
The crash of Oceanic 815 was the best thing that could have happened to Kate, a fugitive who was being escorted by an air marshal on the flight after committing numerous crimes, including staging a robbery and murdering her alcoholic, abusive father. On the island, Kate finds a new lease on life as a surrogate mother to Aaron and the object of both Jack's and Sawyer's affection. But she retains her physical and mental toughness, becoming a fierce protector of Aaron and the other members of her newfound family against The Others.
7 of 22 Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW
Katherine (Nina Dobrev), The Vampire Diaries
As one of the oldest vampires in town, Katherine waltzes in, kills some people, manipulates and seduces men, and leaves before anyone ever realized she was there. How does anyone really stand a chance?
8 of 22 Richard Cartwright/ABC
Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Scandal
Olivia Pope may not physically kick butt, but she'll sure do it metaphorically. Whether she's rigging elections to get Fitz in office or taking down anyone who goes up against her clients, Olivia does her best to wear the White Hat — even though that usually means getting her hands dirty once and a while.
9 of 22 Colleen Hayes/ABC
Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), Revenge
Lying to everyone around you while becoming her adversaries' worst nightmare is no small feat — and Emily Thorne does it while impeccably dressed in in high heels highest heels. And while she's great with a red Sharpie, her martial arts and weapon skills prove you don't want to cross her.
10 of 22 Ken Woroner/USA Network
Annie Walker (Piper Perabo), Covert Affairs
Any trainee who's suddenly promoted to field operative has obviously got the goods. And given Annie's go-getter fearlessness, quick thinking, not to mention linguistic skills, you'd never would've guessed in the show's early years that she was a newbie to the spy game. But that's precisely why she's climbed up the ranks so quickly. It also helps to always have sky-high Louboutins.
11 of 22 Craig Blankenhorn/FX
Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell), The Americans
Steely and tough-as-nails, Elizabeth simultaneously leaves us in awe and in fear of her. In awe because she's ruthless to the bone, and in fear because this undercover KGB agent will not hesitate to off you anywhere, anytime, even in broad daylight, if you've someone crossed her. Duly noted.
12 of 22 DirectTV
Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), Damages
A bulldog in a pantsuit, Patty Hewes is the last person you want to sit across from during a deposition. While her legal practices weren't always exactly legal, her drive to win was unmatched. Vicious and cutthroat, Patty could build up her friends or destroy her enemies with the blink of an eye. And thanks to her amazing poker face, it was sometimes hard to tell which she enjoyed more.
13 of 22 Randy Tepper/Showtime
Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter), Dexter
She may curse like a sailor, but Deb is loyal through and through, even if that means shooting her former captain to protect someone she loves. Once Dexter's little sister finally decided not to take crap from anyone, she became the beating heart of the Showtime series. Although her flinty exterior is sometimes actually just a front for her deep emotional core, when it really matters, Deb never backs down.
14 of 22 HBO
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Game of Thrones
Exiled from her home and sold into a life of slavery and rape, Daenerys had everything going against her. But instead of giving up, Daenerys took charge of her life and was reborn as the Mother of Dragons. Though her idealism often does more harm than good, Dany is set on making the world a better place — and burning down all those who get in her way.
15 of 22 Norman Shapiro/CBS
Kono (Grace Park), Hawaii Five-0
Don't let Kono's deep tan and sea-swept hair fool you: This former surf champ is actually an integral part of HPD's special task force. Her specialty appears to be surviving a near-drowning, literally kicking ass, going undercover for long periods of time and standing by her man.
16 of 22 Kent Smith/Showtime
Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), Homeland
As bipolar CIA agent Carrie Matheson, Claire Danes treads the line between steely focus and all-consuming obsession as Matheson hunts terrorists and tries to determine if Nicholas Brody has been turned by Al-Qaeda (all while falling in love with him). She's never afraid to put her life and career on the line to do what she thinks is right. Sure, her behavior is reckless and rash at times, but we wouldn't want to be sitting across from Carrie inside an interrogation room.
17 of 22 Jamie Trueblood/AMC
Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), Mad Men
Don Draper may be the handsome man at the center of Mad Men, but the rise of Peggy through the years is the show's most remarkable journey. Using her good ideas to crack into the all-boys club of advertising, Peggy refuses to be treated any differently because she wears a dress. Whether saving a pitch with quick thinking or putting her drunk boss in his place, there's a reason the two biggest creative directors in the business fight over her: She's the future.
18 of 22 Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW
Nikita (Maggie Q), Nikita
Need someone to take out a foreign dignitary, infiltrate a shadowy government agency or fake her own death while looking fabulous in a slinky evening gown or red monokini? Nikita is your gal. Beyond her physical toughness, our favorite spy-assassin also makes the tough decisions — like sacrificing her own safety or cutting off her lover's hand to save his life — that a lesser agent would avoid. If Nikita's got your back, you may lose a limb, but at least you'll get out alive.
19 of 22 Netflix
Red (Kate Mulgrew), Orange Is the New Black
Red is a huge fan of tough love, but it's clear the Litchfield chef is a major softy — especially when it comes to her girls. Red will always to take a stand to protect herself and those she cares about, even if it's against a prison guard. And one has to give her credit for creativity: The tampon McMuffin will haunt us forever.
20 of 22 BBC America
Sarah Manning and her many clones (Tatiana Maslany), Orphan Black
We're cheating a little bit here by including all of the clones portrayed by the talented Tatiana Maslany on BBC America's original sci-fi program, but they share the same DNA after all. Central clone Sarah has certainly proved her mettle by masquerading as cop clone Beth, going mano a mano with crazy clone Helena and keeping it all together for her young daughter. But let's not forget the others! Helena won't let getting impaled by rebar stop her, and trust us, you do not want to be on the receiving end of Alison's glue gun!
21 of 22 Michael Parmelee/NBC
Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Law & Order: SVU
After spending 14 years on the gruesome sex crimes beat in the NYPD, Benson, herself a product of rape, has pretty much seen it all. Although she empathizes with victims, she’s never been afraid to set anyone — a suspect, a lawyer or even someone on her own team — straight if needed.
22 of 22 Gene Page/AMC
Michonne (Danai Gurira), The Walking Dead
She has a Katana sword — need we say more? Fine, the lone wolf has earned her place in Rick's group by hacking up walkers with ease. Using the sword to stab The Governor's zombie daughter in the head before using a shard of glass to stab the ruthless leader of Woodbury in the eye will go down in history as Michonne's most badass moment on the AMC series.