Over the years, we’ve been introduced to some unforgettable characters on the small screen on sitcoms, crime procedurals, and all kinds of other series. But can you guess the TV show based on the names of their most famous (or supporting) characters? Well, If you’re up to the task, we’ve put together a little quiz to test your knowledge.
Here’s how it’s going to go. We’ll list the name of a character along with a brief description and a blurred image, and you will guess the show. You’ll find the answer on the slide that follows. But please, please don’t cheat…
Character: Jimmy McNulty
Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) played a key role in the Baltimore Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit on this beloved crime drama. A committed yet insubordinate policeman, McNulty would do anything to solve a case.
Show: The Wire
If you guessed David Simon’s crime epic, The Wire, then you are correct. Though the show had a massive ensemble cast, McNulty was arguably the main character, one who went through a lot during the show’s five seasons.
Character: Jackie Chiles
Jackie Chiles (Phil Morris), a parody of American attorney Johnnie Cochran, appeared on the final three seasons of this landmark ‘90s sitcom, including several of its best episodes.
Hats off to those that guessed Seinfeld. Chiles was Cosmo Kramer’s (Michael Richards) attorney for a total of six episodes, and almost got a spinoff of his own before everything fell through. It’s a shame, because we all could have used more Jackie Chiles moments.
Character: Rebecca Welton
Though die hard fans of a certain Apple TV+ original series will recognize Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) almost instantly, others may not be able to put their finger on this hilarious football club owner.
Show: Ted Lasso
If you BELIEVE the answer is Ted Lasso, then you are right again. Rebecca’s friendship with Ted Lasso was one of the strong points of the decorated sports comedy series, one that continued to evolve until she and Jason Sudeikis’s mustached football coach said their final goodbyes.
Character: Hank Schrader
Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) was a constant thorn in the side of this crime drama series’ main character, in more ways than one.
Show: Breaking Bad
Congratulations if you guessed Breaking Bad. From the beginning until the end, Hank was constantly trying to bring down the criminal mastermind known as Heisenberg and was shocked to discover it was none other than his unassuming brother-in-law, Walter White (Bryan Cranston).
Character: Maeby Funke
An accomplished con artist and object of her cousin’s affection, Maeby Funke (Alia Shawkat) appeared in nearly every episode of this cult comedy series.
Show: Arrested Development
Yep, we’re totally talking about Arrested Development here. Maeby found herself in all kinds of situations, both in the show’s original run and when it was resurrected by Netflix.
Character: Peggy Olson
Over the course of this show’s seven-season run, Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) goes from being a young secretary to the copy chief of a New York advertising agency.
Show: Mad Men
Outside of Jon Hamm’s Don Draper, there are few characters more recognizable than Peggy on Mad Men. A fixture of the show’s cast from beginning to end, this smart, witty, and hard-working marketer was the backbone of Sterling Cooper.
Character: Jaime Lannister
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) went from being a character you couldn’t help but despise to being one its best heroes to something in the middle throughout this fantasy series’ eight seasons.
Show: Game of Thrones
Oh, Jaime Lannister, what would have Game of Thrones been without your wit, charm, fighting skills? While we could have done without his very close relationship with his twin sister, it was hard to completely hate the “Kingslayer.”
Character: Greef Karga
Though Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) started out as someone you couldn’t fully trust in this Star Wars streaming series, he quickly became one of the key allies of the show’s titular character.
Show: The Mandalorian
Queue up The Mandalorian’s trademark theme, because Carl Weathers’ morally ambiguous but nice enough character calls the Disney+ series home. Not only does the Rocky star appear in a large chunk of episodes, he also directed a few as well.
Character: Donna Hayward
Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) was the best friend of the murdered high school student, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) on this beloved mystery drama series. However, a different actress (Moira Kelly) portrayed the character in a film continuation released one year after the show concluded.
Show: Twin Peaks
Donna Hayward was a major character on Twin Peaks, one that experienced quite an impressive arc by the time everything was said and done. She was also the queen of pensive expressions with a demeanor as gray and moody as the show’s Pacific Northwest setting.
Character: Major Richard Winters
Major Richard Winters (Damian Lewis) was one of the major players in Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ groundbreaking World War II limited series about “Easy” Company upon its release in 2001.
Show: Band Of Brothers
More than 20 years later, Band of Brothers remains not only one of the best HBO shows of the 21st century but also one of the greatest series to ever air on television. With a massive cast (including several actors you may have forgotten appeared on the show), great attention to detail, and a remarkable story, this is a war story we’ll never forget.
Character: Jimmy Woo
Here’s a little hint: Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) not only appeared on this 2021 series, he also previously appeared in a movie set in the same cinematic universe.
If this was a quiz about movies, Ant-Man would have been the right answer. However, we’re talking about TV, so the correct response is none other than WandaVision, which saw the character in a fairly sizable role.
Character: Grady Wilson
Though he wasn’t the main character of this ‘70s sitcom, Grady Wilson (Whitman Mayo) was responsible for some of the show’s funniest scenes. Can you guess the comedy about a father and son owning a junkyard?
Show: Sanford And Son
Congrats to all those guessing Sanford and Son, which is where Grady got under the skin of Redd Fox and Demond Wilson’s characters for years. Also, bonus points if you started saying Grady’s trademark “Good Googley Goo” when you saw his picture up above.
Character: Lady Mary Crawley
Over the course of this period drama (and its movies), Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) went from an immature and off-putting oldest child to the steward of her family and their massive estate. Through six seasons of both triumph and tragedy and good times and bad, this sophisticated aristocrat became one of the best characters on TV.
Show: Downton Abbey
Despite Downton Abbey having been on the air for nearly a decade (it seems like yesterday we were all watching the finale), the series, with its vast collection of characters, remains one of the landmark small-screen events of the 21st century.
Character: Lucas Sinclair
Introduced as one of the original main characters in the first season of this popular Netflix supernatural horror series, Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) has grown up in front of our very eyes the past seven years. Can you guess the series?
Show: Stranger Things
It would be a shock if most everyone didn’t get this answer correct, as the name Lucas Sinclair (along with the blurred image of the actor’s face) should be a major giveaway for Stranger Things. Though Lucas doesn’t always get the best treatment on the series, more times than not, he comes around in a big way to help his friends save Hawkins, Indiana, yet again.
Character: Florence Johnston
If anyone was going to give the main character of this groundbreaking ‘70s sitcom about a couple “moving on up to the east side” it was going to be Florence Johnston (Marla Gibbs), who played the maid of the show’s titular family.
Show: The Jeffersons
Those who were around during the original run of The Jeffersons, or at least watched it when the show was a staple of Nick at Nite years later, will immediately be taken back to some of those iconic scenes where Florence gave George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) all kinds of grief to bring him back to reality. Gibbs even made a surprise appearance during ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience production of the classic show back in 2019.
Character: Arthur Mitchell
When it comes to the various killers that crossed paths with this show’s main character during its extended run, none come close to the unsettling nature and viciousness of Arthur Mitchell (John Lithgow), aka, the “Trinity Killer.”
John Lithgow won a Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe for his bone-chilling portrayal during the fourth (and best) season of Dexter back in 2009. You could argue that the show started to fall off after Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) finished his game of killers chess with Arthur, and you wouldn’t really be wrong.
Character: Dr. Sam Beckett
Over the course of five seasons and nearly 100 episodes, Dr. Dam Beckett (Scott Bakula) traveled through time and space where he temporarily took the place of others to correct all sorts of issues ranging from small problems to major catastrophes. Here’s a hint, a reboot series premiered on NBC in 2022.
Show: Quantum Leap
If you grew up watching Quantum Leap (or grew up catching reruns with your parents after school years later), then the name Sam Beckett should have immediately tipped you off. If not, this long-running sci-fi series is a show that you would totally be worth your time to go back and revisit. And with the series streaming in full for anyone with a Peacock subscription, there’s never been a better time to check it out.
Character: Diane Chambers
Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) worked at this bar where everybody knows your name for the first five seasons of this NBC comedy’s original run. Though she wasn’t on the show for every episode, she did come back for the series finale years later.
The correct, and only, answer is Cheers, which ran on the Peacock network for a total of 11 seasons and launched or at least added fire to the careers of many of its stars. Thirty years after its finale, the Boston-based sitcom remains one of the most beloved and quotable shows to ever hit the airwaves.
Character: Waylon Smithers
Waylon Smithers (Harry Shearer) has been a supporting character on this long-running animated series since its first season back in 1990, during which time he has gone through some changes and opened up about his personal life quite a bit.
Show: The Simpsons
What would The Simpsons be without Mr. Burns’ devoted assistant? He’s been around the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant longer than just about everyone, including Homer Simpson himself. Admittedly, not even the blurred image up above could hide the identity of this show for too long.
Character: Jack Tripper
Played by the late John Ritter, Jack Tripper was the male lead of this ABC sitcom that aired between 1977 and 1984. And here’s a hint, the show’s theme song starts off with: “Come and knock on our door…”
Show: Three’s Company
If you guessed Three’s Company you would be right.The show, which centered on an unorthodox living arrangement for the time – a man shares an apartment with two women (platonically, of course) – was a massive hit and even survived the departure of franchise star Suzanne Sommers (who passed away in October 2023) for a few more seasons.
So, how’d you do? Did you get all of them correct, were you unable to get a single show right without having to peek, or did you end up somewhere in the middle? And though there are no points given for each correct answer and there are no surprises (maybe next time), hopefully you had fun with this blast from the past.
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