For most female characters in movies and television, work is not a source of fulfillment. Work is either a potentially fun way to get money and meet a man, or an all-consuming source of stress that transforms women into miserable loners with no sense of humor. Work itself is rarely a source of joy.
Of the women who do enjoy their work, most have jobs that involve severe violence (Buffy, Linda Hamilton, Lisbeth Salander, etc). The satisfaction they get is actually from exacting revenge or fulfilling a preset destiny. In either of these setups, the female character is reacting to an external event. Regardless of her BAMF-ness in handling her fate, she’s not initiating her life’s journey. I want to see stories where the female protagonist is pursuing a life path that she decides she wants for herself, regardless of external influences. Her motivation should be coming from an internal sense of what she wants in life, instead of being a byproduct of an unfortunate experience.
Enter Detective Alexandra Eames, of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Like most Law & Order detectives, Eames is intelligent, perceptive, and intimidating when she needs to be. Her attitude is naturally no-nonsense, and she always has a vibe of personal contentment. True to Law & Order style, she only uses physical force when it’s absolutely necessary. She’s a detective because she enjoys solving crimes and protecting her community, not because she needs to right some wrong that was committed against her or her family. She enjoys the company of her partner, Detective Gorem, and they have a supportive (and never romantic) relationship. This is also very rare for TV, as most professional partners either end up married or spend their entire careers cheekily flirting with each other. Eames and Gorem are just colleagues with a good friendship who work together to solve difficult crimes. And that is why Eames is one of the best female characters of all time.
Who are some of your favorite characters?