The best duos on television are both entertaining and memorable. While single characters can be powerful individually, duos present the deeper ability to communicate, interact, and exchange ideas. They bicker. They debate. They laugh. If they’re successful, they keep the audience fixated on and fascinated by what’s in front of them. Here’s a look at five of the best TV duos of the last 10 years and why they’re unique.
Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland of The Wire
To any fan of The Wire, McNulty and Bunk provided some of the greatest moments the show had to offer. When these partners investigated drug crimes and homicides, the vibe ranged from shamelessly inappropriate to profoundly moving. They often worked late into the night and had intoxicated conversations following a lengthy shift. Dark comedy was mixed in throughout their interactions, but both men were also phenomenal detectives. As they investigated a crime that took a life, they pondered their own existences and had fascinating dialogues about the nature of the bureaucratic system that surrounded them. They represented a must-see duo that made audiences laugh and contemplate in equal measure.
Walter White and Jesse Pinkman of Breaking Bad
Walter and Jesse gave viewers an incredibly wide range of moments. From pure hilarity to devastating betrayal, this duo went through the ringer together. They both killed for each other and tried to kill one another. Walter was a brilliant chemist and mastermind drug kingpin, while Jesse was a petty criminal who had a soft soul trapped within a shaky exterior. In a twisted sort of father-son relationship, the two were far and above the most exciting part of a remarkable television series. Each character’s ending was heartbreaking and uplifting in complicated ways, but they succeeded in keeping viewers enticed throughout the entire run of Breaking Bad.
Rust Cohle and Marty Hart of True Detective
While this pair only gave us eight episodes of viewing, they left the screen as one of the most outstanding duos in recent memory. Cohle, the philosophically inclined and psychologically hardened detective, was counteracted by Hart, a womanizing and pompous family man who couldn’t stand his partner’s ideologies. As they dove into the horrors and atrocities committed by mankind, their ability to compartmentalize between difficulty at work and normalcy at home became blurred. This show, and for that matter, this partnership, was not about solving a crime, it was about the toll a certain crime took on those around it. For Cohle and Hart, the toll was steep, but the partnership was legendary.
Jaime Lannister and Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones
Out of the five duos mentioned in this article, Jaime and Tyrion are likely on-screen together the least amount of time. They’re worthy of an inclusion though for their unique and moving relationship. In a world of backstabbing and political maneuvering, and in a family of the same traits, Jaime and Tyrion keep a tight brotherly bond that remains unbreakable. Jaime is one of the only characters who openly defends Tyrion. And Tyrion, a wise man often judged by his small stature, also defends his misunderstood brother. The two are completely different in terms of looks, status, and ambitions, but they value their relationship over the surrounding nonsense.
Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell of The Wire
Is The Wire so great that it deserves two duos in the top five? Absolutely. While McNulty and Bunk represented the police side of Baltimore, Avon and Stringer showcased the criminal side. Two higher-ups in the drug game with different tactics, this duo had similar goals, they just had clashing theories on how to reach them. This clash seethed beneath the surface early on, then grew to a boiling point as the show expanded. Their rise and fall as running mates was one of the greatest forms of entertainment ever put on television. While they could’ve been inseparable if not for greed, Avon and Stringer were doomed by an obsession with power. A lust for power came between and ultimately tore apart this epic twosome.