Christine Baranski as Diane Lockheart in The Good Wife
Baranski is one of best and hardest working actresses in all of entertainment; she can sing, dance, make you laugh and cry. This season Baranski was at her best, whether it was fighting to keep her firm intact, grieving from the loss of her best friend and partner in crime, or dealing with her own relationship. Baranski reigns supreme, and Diane is a role model for what it means to create a strong female character in television.
Anna Gunn as Skyler White in Breaking Bad
Who remembers hating Skylar? Come on raise your hands. Now let's all take it back because Anna Gunn created a a character who was not the focus of the show, but took you on a journey from hell and back. Gunn went through the ringer on the final season in Bad, whether she was dealing with the loss of her family Hank and Marie, or playing some bad ass moves on them to save her family. Gunn was impressive in this role, and created one of the most complex female roles in television history.
Annet Mahendru as Nina Sargeevna in The Americans
Playing both sides, the Soviets and the Americans is a tricky, but Mahendru is great in this role. Mahendru of course uses her looks to capitalize on this, but its more than that for Nina, its survival. Mahendru is in love with her country, but through her interactions with Stan she loses sight of this, and ends up a pawn in the game of complicated chess. Nina is beaten and bruised, and used as bargaining chip for Echo, in the end she is sent back to Moscow to stand trial for treason. Mahendru is fantastic this role, and was one of the strongest parts of season 2.
Melissa McBride as Carol Pelletier in The Walking Dead
Carol has been through a lot over the years, losing her daughter, her friend Laurie, being beaten by her husband, but it was in this past season of Dead that McBride was at her best. Carol's actions in the episode "The Grove" is one of the most intense episodes. Carol has motherly affection for Lizzie, but she realizes her affection for Walkers makes her a liability, Carol executes Lizzie. McBride takes Carol a step further than you would expect, but it is her superb acting over the course of the show that makes Carol an excellent character.
Kate Mulgrew as Galina ‘Red’ Reznikov in Orange is the New Black
She ran the kitchen with an iron fist, and a metal pot. Mulgrew is perfect in this role; she is the mother hen, but her back story tells otherwise, she is disliked by all the fancy Russian women. In prison she has assumed this role, and it is her quippy comments mixed with her emotional struggles that make Red a great character. Mulgrew is one of the few veteran actresses on the show, and it is her acting chops that help make her a standout in season one of this show.
Bellamy Young as First Lady Mellie Grant in Scandal
Everything's coming up Mellie! Season 3 of Scandal was owned by Bellamy Young. Whether it was finding out that Mellie was raped by her father-in-law, found her own love, or the death of her son, Young was always at the top of her game. Everyone hated Mellie seasons 1 and 2, but this season the character was given depth, and Young is a fantastic actress who made you just love this scene stealing character.