The first that came to mind was actually another Amy Ryan role -- Beadie on season two of The Wire. It took awhile for me to get into the whole dockworkers storyline, but it was Beadie that helped me through.
If a show plans to stay on air for awhile, it needs fresh blood -- but the process of introducing new characters isn't easy (witness how reviled Maya was on Heroes). The best new additions combine great actors with well-written characters.
Here are seven other (fairly recent) new characters that succeeded.
The additions to the cast of Alias continues. On the heels of Rachel Nichols and Elodie Bouchez joining the ABC show, now comes word that Balthazar Getty (Lord of the Flies, Ladder 49, Judge Dredd, Feast) will come on board as Thomas Grace, a new agent assigned to APO.
All of this either means that, 1. J.J.Abrams is changing the direction of the show again; 2. Jennifer Garner won't be doing much because she's pregnant; or 3. the rumors that Michael Vartan is leaving the show are true after all. We'll find out what's going on on September 29 when the show returns.
Update: Holy crap. While doing some research for this story, I found out that Getty is actually part of the band Ringside, who have a cool little tune I've been enjoying lately, "Tired Of Being Sorry." Small world.
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