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TV's Best Alpha Males

by Luke Cope
23 December 2013 13 Comments

The don, the top dog, the king. Whatever you want to call them, every great show seems to have an alpha male. Here are some of the best...

TV drama’s have had their fair share of dominant male characters. They live by their own rules and stomp on others on their way to the top of the pyramid showing no remorse. Here are a few of TV’s best alpha males:

Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)

The insanely violent, petulant and disturbed leader of the Soprano family is at the very top of the list where he belongs. A fairly tepid family provider at heart but behind every new piece of jewellery or gaming console is the gangsters blood money. Soprano is a feared sociopath who has been on the receiving end of no end of hits from enemies, friends and even his own mother. His stubbornness and raw need for power drive his characters arc but behind all his chest beating there is a disturbed, sometimes tender alpha male. His number of infidelities are as high as his number of killings but his murders of Ralph and cousin Chris in particular are true alpha male reactions.

Hank Moody (Californication)

Californication’s enviously cool leading man who says yes to pretty much everything. Hank is a novelist struggling from writers block and partaking in any drink/drug/sex activity he can get his hands on. His emotional relationship with his daughter and on off girlfriend Karen puts a dent in his status but lets face it he does what he wants when he wants and deals with the consequences later,  once they have snowballed into something uncontrollable. His weakness for women is what defines him but most would want to be in the company of the uber laid back writer. A very different character to others on the list but has been known to flare up and throw a punch or two.

Marlo Stanfield (The Wire)

Introduced half way through The Wire, Marlo Stanfield is the ambitious, power hungry gangster intent on controlling all the drug territory in West Baltimore. More gangster than Stringer Bell and more ruthless than Avon Barksdale, Stanfield took the West Baltimore crown off the two by force. As leader once caught he serves minimum time as his loyal servants take the rap but shortly after nearly falls into the same trap as Stringer by attempting to become a ‘business man’. Marlo cant hack the decorum however and leaves a classy business event to brawl with armed gangsters on the street corner. No easy feat eclipsing Avon or Omar as The Wire’s dominant alpha male but Marlo is the most blood thirsty leader in the show.

Hank Schrader (Breaking Bad)

Breaking Bad‘s beer brewing DEA agent in charge of bringing down New Mexico’s newly crowned drug lord (Brother in law Walter White). So Hank perhaps isn’t the most attentive alpha male on the list considering he is unaware his own brother in law is the very drug dealing kingpin he is after but Hank Schrader is as alpha male as they come. He avoids emotional contact, shoots bad guys and brews his own beer (Schraderbrau) Whether he finally catches the elusive Heisenberg remains to be seen but you wouldn’t put it past the man. Hank was born an alpha male, Walter White was made into one.

Kenny Powers (Eastbound And Down)

Sporting the best mullet known to man Kenny Powers is Eastbound and Down’s former star pitcher. Kenny Powers is not only one of the funniest characters of all time but also one of the most deluded alpha male characters to have graced a sitcom. The former MLB pitcher’s career went down the pan but that doesn’t stop him saying whatever the hell he wants, taking performance enhancing drugs and razzing around on his jetski in a bid to get back to the top. How does he get away with all this? Because he’s Kenny fucking Powers that’s how and that’s why he is better than everyone in the world.

Gyp Rosetti (Boardwalk Empire)

The unbelievably short tempered and volatile new addition to Boardwalk Empire has all the qualities to be a great alpha male. He arrived with a bang, beating a man to death over a remark made about 3 in 1 oil. Nucky Thompson is clearly going to have his hands full with this lunatic and although it may be too early calling Rosetti a great on screen alpha male he deserves his place for every scene he has stolen so far since his arrival. Everyone is expecting great things from the Italian powder keg and he looks as though he is hell bent on dethroning Nucky, or at least putting a dent in his crown.

Ari Gold (Entourage)

Vincent Chase’s motor mouthed agent was often the star of the long running Entourage. Ari Gold boasts all the silver tongued arrogance of a film agent and top TV alpha male. He suffers with marital problems as do many of this list mainly because of the way he is but unlike many on the list he never cheats on his wife. The main man in the office, Ari is at his best when delivering a fast paced, insulting rant to whoever might have pissed him off most recently.


Don Draper (Mad Men)

Mad Men’s suave and powerful creative director of advertising firm Sterling Cooper. Draper is somewhat hypocritical in his morale code, he is forceful to others about the important of honesty and respect but often veers off his own road of ethics. A ladies man is an understatement for Don Draper, a consistent cheater on his wife Betty, he see’s cheating as a refuge from his high pressured job. Draper knows what people want and knows how to give it to them with his own arrogantly cool delivery. Intelligent, handsome and driven he is an alpha male by default. I would love to see him and Hank Moody on a night out together.

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Sgt Pilko 8:25 am, 30-Oct-2012

Can't argue that Marlo was the biggest dog in the wire - but he wasn't nearly as interesting or wild as the lone wolf that was Omar...

k83n 9:25 am, 30-Oct-2012

Ron Swanson!

Los Tres 10:08 am, 30-Oct-2012

@k83n - good shout - the man's a legend. Good list, Luke

Howard 3:51 pm, 30-Oct-2012

Great if you like Yanks, but Malcolm Tucker would tear them all a new arse any day of the week.

waynio 4:42 pm, 30-Oct-2012

Good list. Basically a list of my favourite tv programmes. Does that make me a mysognyst I wonder?? Ron Swanson comment made me check him out. Parks and Recreation sounds like a cool show but I dont believe it has ever been shown in the UK? Which sounds a travesty!! where do I sign the petition!

Speaksalot 5:47 pm, 30-Oct-2012

Why no Gene Hunt?

Nick 1:47 am, 31-Oct-2012

What? No Al Swearingen (Deadwood)? The nastiest motherfucker ever. And also, Vic Mackie of the Shield. Stops at nothing and no-one to get what he wants.

Manu 5:10 pm, 16-Dec-2012

Marlo's a psycho who got lucky - if he keeps jacking up corners with no gun or crew, see how long he lasts. Avon was the don of The Wire. Slim Charles was also ace, as was Omar of course. Gyp Rossetti was a fucking cartoon - robbing a priest, really? The made men of his generation would have blown his brains out for that.It's all about AR - the don's don, as future OGs like Lansky, Siegal and Luciano work for him. Great idea for an article though, had to be said.

Manu 5:12 pm, 16-Dec-2012

Nick's right, Vic Mackie needs to be in here - but I never understood why he cared about a stupid, obvious bigot like Shane, being such a sharp cookie himself. Ronnie was the man, I always felt sorry for him as he kept the faith but still got screwed by Vic.

Legal Wrangle 10:49 pm, 30-Jun-2013

Yes, Mackey should be here. Good read, though.

NZBB 10:20 am, 24-Dec-2013

Shit list.

CoolJerk 10:42 pm, 4-Apr-2014

Perry Cox from Scrubs deserves a mention, I think...

Sambosa75 12:53 pm, 15-Jul-2014

I can't take this list seriously without mention of Jack Bauer.

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