Both the real Bonnie and Clyde and the duo in the 1967 movie came many, many decades before the hip-hop community started using the expression "ride-or-die," but those bandits really are the best example of what the ride-or-die trope means. In the music, ride-or-die partners, most often women, are those whose loyalty knows no bounds — not even the law, or notions of "right or wrong." But ride-or-die baes need not only be women, and they're certainly aplenty on TV, where some of the best shows feature couples down to literally kill for their beloved. From Rick and Michonne defending their turf or Philip and Elizabeth of The Americans doing the unthinkable together, the small screen has no shortage of c0uples who can be tender with each other and savage with the rest of the world. Here are the best.
Claire and Jamie, Outlander
Most of the couples on this list are ride-or-die in a metaphorical sense, but Outlander's Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire Claire (Caitriona Balfe) have literally risked their lives for each other, more than once. Their romance is actually the center of the show; they've time-traveled, broken in and out of prisons and killed for each other over the course of their romance for the ages. Once one of them is in danger — and one of them is usually in danger in 18th century Scotland — the other cannot rest until they are safe in arms again. British soldiers got your bae? No problem. Honey is being kept in the most secure fortress in all of Scotland? Bring in the cavalry (okay, it was a bunch of cattle, but still). Turns out lover boy survived a decimating battle and you find out 20 years later he's still living? Make yourself an old-fashioned dress, give up your entire modern life and travel back 200 years in the past to let him know you still care! This is what love is, y'all.
Rick and Michonne, The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead's best lover-fighter duo Rick (Andrew Lincoln) Michonne (Danai Gurira) swiftly come to mind when thinking about unshakable bonds, because there are, 4,862 images of them back-to-back, taking on the cruel world. Though their decision to share sloppy, sweet kisses in between splattering Walker guts took a long time coming on screen, they've been united for ages. Michonne's steadiness, battle-ready stance and yes, maternal instincts make a safe, hearth-y space for Rick, his son Carl and their community at large; Rick, in turn, guarantees Michonne the security of being aligned with an honorable leader who can also whip up a candlelight, can-of-beans feast. Guirra has said that their relationship is only going to get stronger going forward, and although there's no telling when they'll be exchanging "I love yous" these two will remain a model of what holding each other down looks like. As long as neither of them die, of course.
Cookie and Lucious Lyon, Empire
TV's closest approximation of that "On the Run" type love Jay-Z and Beyonce have (if Jay-Z had amnesia, Queen Bee served time in the clink and their kids were feuding for their money, of course) Empire's Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) Lucious (Terrence Howard) take the ride-or-die trope to intense, often scary heights. They fight, they forgive; they make up, they break up; she smashes his studio and nearly murders him with a baseball bat (like Beyonce!); he destroys any other romance she dare dream to entertain. Still, any time an outside force tries to come for her man or their sons, Cookie shows up swinging.
Meredith and Derek, Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy's steamy love story between Dr. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) Grey and Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) was one for the ages, beginning with their initial hookup till their dismal demise. Indeed, nothing other than death — neither adultery, almost-drowning nor shooting — could keep them apart. Watching Meredith seek love in other places will continue to be a saga in its own rite, but no flame will burn as bright as theirs, even if the new catch recreates a candle house for her.
Jamie and Tasha, Power
Actually, Power showrunner Courtney Kemp has said, more than a few times, that it's incorrect to call Tasha (Naturi Naughton) a true ride-or-die partner; as Kemp points out, James "Ghost" St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) told Tasha way back in Season 1 that he wanted to go legit and she said no. Of course, that turned out to be a costly mistake for her sanity, her safety, her marriage and her family, since she's now lost her daughter (and, her son Tariq too, because he's a murderer now) to the street life. Fact is though, Tasha stood by her man through every misdeed, even if only to protect her family, and she's proven that when it's time to suit up and go to battle, she won't back down. She clearly still has feelings for Jamie too, despite the many betrayals and bulls--t of his she endured through all these seasons. How far will she go with Jamie in Season 5? With Jamie certain to be seeking revenge for the death of their daughter, chances are it's to the limit and beyond.
Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones
Hey listen, almost all couples have to work out intimacy issues at some point, OK? Just because Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow's (Kit Harington) lovemaking could've only been more awkward if a steel drum band was playing at the time doesn't mean these Game of Thrones leaders can't be a power couple for the ages. What's novel about their reluctant romance and alliance (apart from them not knowing they're related, and his claim to the Iron Throne is stronger than hers, obvs) is that there's a strong sense of mutual respect between them. However their discovery and subsequent handling of that whole situation plays out, she's proven that she'll go fire and brimstone for him if need be. And with her rare support in handling those White Walkers at the wall, Jon knows he has a partner who'll take him seriously. Even if he's not swinging that big a sword.
Philip and Elizabeth, The Americans
Murder and manipulation are aphrodisiacs for The Americans' Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell). They've done so much bad in the name of (their) good, these two kinda couldn't quit the each other if they wanted to. Going into the final season, Philip and Elizabeth stand intertwined stronger than ever — devoted to their mission as KGB officers, but increasingly, the well-being of their children. They know that putting down roots in the U.S., instead of taking their operation mobile, puts them at great risk, but they want a stable life for their kids and that's how hard these agents go for their unusual little family. Having surrendered their entire lives to something only they can understand, both of them know nobody will ride for the other harder.
Randall and Beth, This Is Us
Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) soothes Randall (Sterling K. Brown) when he's having an anxiety attack but won't let him spin out ("Randalling," as she adorably named it); she's cool staying home to raise the kids, as she did in Season 1, or going back to work (Season 2) and letting Daddy do it. Since This Is Us fans have known her, Beth has proven time and again she's game for anything from giving her mother-in-law a tough ultimatum or, just as easily, tell him he's playing himself with a corny shirt. Susan Kelechi Watson has said viewers will be seeing much more of her family dynamic as their story develops, no doubt giving Randall more opportunities to stand up for his queen in return. No matter what they face together going forward one thing is for certain: they're going to be adorable doing it. And they know it.
Eleanor and Chidi, The Good Place
Technically, they're already dead, so Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) are more like, ride or 'suffer for all eternity' but you get the idea. After all they've found each other in 802 reboots of their experimental torture scenario, and their mutual devotion to figuring out how to escape The Bad Place together makes their connection otherworldly, literally. Chidi just can't give up on Eleanor, corrupt soul notwithstanding, and Eleanor knows there's nobody better to be damned with than her Senegalese saint, even if he is indecisive AF.
-- Megan Vick contributed to this story