Peggy Carter’s Place in an Era of Powerful Women

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Marvel's Agent Carter - Hayley Atwell
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), whom viewers first met in the Captain America films as the badass love interest of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has proven herself to be even more cutthroat in Marvel's Agent Carter, the ABC event series that expanded her story with epic action adventure and woman-powered ingenuity. In the aftermath of World War II, Carter faced the loss of the love of her life as well as her career, relegated to filling coffee pots and taking lunch orders. She quickly found herself dipping into treacherous waters to help her friend, engineer Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), find out who framed him for selling dangerous inventions on the black market.

Carter is a woman with grit and determination, but also morals, and the type of soft side that isn't a weakness. Between beating up shady bad guys and disarming explosive weapons made from Stark's formulas, she's taken her place as one in the growing group of impressive ladies on television right now. Here's where you can look to see other women kicking ass and taking names.
Adam Taylor/ABC

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Scandal

Kudos to ABC for having the strongest female lineup in primetime, mostly due to the ladies of ShondaLand—particularly How to Get Away With Murder's law professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) and Scandal crisis manager Olivia Pope. Though Carter doesn't have Keating's raw brilliance and unpredictability, she resembles the Pope side of the ShondaLand family with her authoritative (and sometimes chilling) presence.
Michael Desmond/Showtime

Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), Masters of Sex

Johnson's quick thinking as Dr. Masters' research assistant and Peggy's quick acting as an SSR agent would make these two period-drama leading ladies a killer combo. Johnson (above left) talked her way into a job on a groundbreaking sex-positive study while simultaneously breaking boundaries as a single mom in 1950s Missouri. Unfortunately, you'll have to watch these ladies live out their fictional lives separately.
Michael Parmelee/NBC

Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Law & Order: SVU

Carter is relentless while carrying out her mission, and though we see some sweet moments from her – the friendly teasing of gentlemanly Jarvis (James D'Arcy) or grateful parting words for loyal BFF Angie (Lyndsy Fonesca) – a bit of Benson's sympathetic values would do her some good as she carries out justice one roundhouse kick at a time. Only enough sympathy to keep her out of trouble, though.
Macall B. Polay/HBO

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Game of Thrones

Not only is she the Mother of Dragons, but she's also a self-sufficient young lady with a strong determination to achieve any goal she sets for herself – especially impressive when those goals include going from a meek child bride to the leader of her own army on a mission to reclaim the throne she believes is rightfully hers. In these final episodes, with her future on the line, Carter may need a dose of that strength.
Karen Neal/ABC

Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), Castle

Beckett became an officer of the law after being haunted by her mother's murder; Carter's drive comes in part from feeling the absence of Rogers. Despite her huge loss, Beckett always catches the bad guy and gets the job done. Fingers crossed there will be some final baddies in Agent Carter for Peggy to wrangle up.

Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), Bones

Brennan sees everything in black and white, data and fact. She'd never even acknowledge the thought that a woman could be any less than a man – just that almost every intelligent human is most likely less intelligent than she is. Carter has shown very few moments of self-doubt so far, but with a huge interrogation scene on the horizon, let's hope she can maintain a Brennan-style confidence.
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