20 Best TV Characters of 2016

From bat-wielding bad guys to hipster-stoner sidekicks, these were the small-screen heroes and villains that made our year

Load Previous

Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, 'Luke Cage'

Mahershala Ali is having quite the year. Not only has his turn in the indie drama Moonlight earned him serious awards-season heat, his parallel gig as a street-level supervillain in this Marvel/Netflix series showcased his more cutthroat side (literally). Like Wilson Fisk in Daredevil before him, Luke Cage's Cottonmouth combines winner-take-all crimelord ruthlessness with a taste for high culture (in his case, the art and music of Harlem) and a genuine, if twisted, sense of love and loyalty. For the bulk of the season, this dapper, hip-hop–loving mobster – dig the Biggie portrait! – was not so much Cage's antagonist as his co-leading man. Thanks to Ali, we got a bad guy every bit as complex and engaging as the hero himself. STC

Back to Top