They don’t drink blood, shapeshift, or command the powers of the wind.
Instead, they use a well-placed sneer, a polite thank you, an upraised eyebrow, and sometimes a big gun to save the world. It’s their charm, cynicism and tempers that make them unique and heroic.
Usually when I’m looking for a kick-ass heroine I turn to the pages of my urban fantasy/paranormal novels. But they’re not the only ones taking names, kicking butts, and saving the day. If you’re looking for a more “contemporary” heroine, one who is a bit more like you and me, one who is more like Eve Dallas (from Nora Roberts’s In Death series) and less like Merit (from Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires), then I suggest you find your remote and tune into this summer’s vast array of impressively commanding heroines.
These heroines don’t necessarily need a hero to help them save the day. It’s a take it or leave it proposition when they’re on the job, because they’re perfectly able to do it on their own.
With her love of candy, kittens, sweater sets, and small heeled pumps, at first glance she looks as if she’s just another southern belle going to meet her mother for tea. But Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson of the LAPD in The Closer is relentless, demanding, focused and intelligent. She’s obsessed with her job and doing it right; she leaves no stone unturned when it comes to finding justice. Her all-pervading southern charm is no match for murderers, rapists, and drug dealers. In fact, her one objective is to get the bad guy, even if she has to be impolite to do it. She’s definitely a heroine for the 21st century, and what’s particularly endearing about her is she proves you can’t have it all. We see her being a consummate career woman, trying to juggle her life, her incredibly understanding husband, her family, and her job, but more often than not her career comes out the winner. Despite that, there are times when I wish I could clone Brenda for her ability to take down the bad guy with just a word or a look, because that spells “smart heroine” in my book.
United States Deputy Marshal Mary Shannon of In Plain Sight uses her cynicism like a well-oiled Beretta. It drips off her skin. She takes no one and nothing at face value. It’s that well placed cynicism that makes her a great cop. She’s not very successful when it comes to love, but she gives it a go every now and again in between protecting witnesses and chasing criminals. She is sarcastic, distrustful, and pessimistic. But don’t let that turn you off, because as with any great heroine, Mary has a heart of gold. She loves, but in ways that are not readily noticeable. It’s her loyalty and constancy that makes her who she is. Two qualities all heroines must have.
My favorite TV heroine is Fiona Glenanne from Burn Notice. This five-foot, hundred-pound bundle of energy usually blows it up first and asks questions later. She’s fearless, decisive, temperamental, and self-reliant. What makes her beautiful is her intelligence and intensity. She loves and fights with equal passion and her fierce protection of her friends as well as of the underdog knows no bounds.
This fierce protective streak makes her a heroine to admire. The onscreen sexual tension between her and co-star Michael Westen keeps you coming back for more. Will they get together, or will they be doomed to unrequited love? For whatever reason, it keeps me tuning in.
Thank goodness, not a dainty wallflower in the bunch. No, these three women, with all their quirks, foibles, and eccentricities are exciting heroines who will be cleaning their guns, blowing up buildings, chasing down criminals, and kicking butt all summer long, and I’ll be there to cheer them on.
Marisa O’Neill is the Vice President of Romancenovel.tv, managing television productions and everything else in life. She has a sense of humor and some very interesting opinions.