The collection of Marvel Netflix shows has come a long way from the first season of Daredevil, and it continues to tell compelling stories of the ground level heroes in the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. Helping (and in some cases working against) all of the heroes along the way is a collection of colorful supporting characters. These characters add a level of depth and humanity to these shows that can sometimes get lost in the spectacle of the MCU films. That's what makes all of the Marvel Netflix shows so special. They show what it's like for superheroes in the city, who rely on support systems like their friends, family, and colleagues. They also portray a more character-driven setting, with New York often being represented by the supporting characters (this is something that was actually done really well in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but the Netflix shows did it first).
There have been some truly outstanding performances in these roles, and in some cases the people who became fixtures in these stories were gone too soon. However, those who are left are still continuing to move these stories forward and make them even more rich and complex. Here's hoping that this trend continues into the upcoming third season of Daredevil, which promises to introduce the classic villain Bullseye as one of the main antagonists. As long as Netflix continues to make these shows, audiences can count on them delivering smart, character driven stories that carry the action. These are the 20 most important supporting characters in Netflix's Marvel shows.
20 BEN URICH
Ben Urich (played by Vondie Curtis-Hall) was an essential part of Daredevil's first season. We first meet him talking to one of his mob connections, and getting a sense that this is a man who had worked hard to earn a reputation as a good reporter. He eventually took Karen Page under his wing and showed her the ropes.
The moment when Wilson Fisk took out Ben Urich in his own home was probably one of the most tragic losses for the show, as Ben could have continued to be an essential part of the Daredevil storyline. He is only this low on the list because he didn't have more time to really shine, which is just a shame.
19 CURTIS HOYLE
Curtis Hoyle (played by Jason R. Moore) is a former Navy Corpsman and a close friend to Frank Castle. He lost his leg during combat and runs a support group for veterans back in the United States. Curtis is one of the only people that knows Frank is alive and working as the Punisher, but he keeps his secret out of military brotherhood.
Curtis is important to Frank's story because of what he represents: how hard it is for veterans to come home and feel like they are still displaced, or that they don't belong back in society. He urges Frank to come to the meetings and try to talk things out, but deep down he seems to know that Frank has his own way of dealing with things, and he won't change that for anyone.
18 WILL SIMPSON
Will Simpson (played by Wil Traval) started his time on Jessica Jones as a serious threat to the safety of Trish Walker, sent to attack her by Kilgrave. However, once he realized what he had done while under the mind control of the Purple Man, he was immediately remorseful, and wanted to make amends.
Simpson would have been familiar to comic fans as the classic villain, Nuke, who would enhance his abilities by taking red pills (these also made him violently insane). Will is a much more grounded character in the show, although he does eventually return to the program that made him the way he is.
17 KAREN PAGE
Karen Page (played by Deborah Ann Woll) is one of a few supporting characters to appear across the Netflix Marvel series. She is a staple of the Daredevil series, where her character gets an upgrade from her comics counterpart to move from being a secretary to being a reporter.
Karen also appears in The Punisher as another person trying to get Frank to abandon his merciless mission and rejoin society. One of the worst things the character ever did was overstepping her boundaries in regard to interviewing Wilson Fisk's mother, which led directly to Ben Urich's demise. Then she took over his office, which just seems mean, and not at all how jobs work.
16 FATHER LANTOM
Father Lantom (played by Peter McRobbie) is a fixture in Matt Murdock's life. He not only gives him spiritual advice which seems to guide him on his quest for justice, but he also gives Matt a direct connection to his Catholic upbringing. Father Lantom seems to have some indication that Matt is Daredevil, but he never brings it up.
What makes Lantom so integral to the story of Daredevil is that he constantly espouses on the nature of good and evil and what they mean to each other. He is also a no-nonsense priest who doesn't like the idea of bending morality to mean what you want it to mean, which he often tells Matt. He also helps Matt deal with the guilt and pain of loss when he loses people he cares about.
15 MALCOLM DUCASSE
When we first meet Malcolm (played by Eka Darville) in the first season of Jessica Jones, he is not in a good place. He has a bad addiction and appears to have almost completely given up on life. However, it is later revealed that Malcolm is yet another victim of Kilgrave who was forced to take substances until he became addicted so he could be blackmailed into photographing Jessica.
Malcolm is eventually able to get clean thanks to Jessica's help, and he becomes a valuable ally to her. Malcolm's habit forces Jessica to confront her own issues with addiction, and even though she initially has the higher moral ground, eventually Malcolm helps her to face her own demons.
14 JERI HOGARTH
Jeri Hogarth (played by Carrie-Ann Moss) is an essential part of the story throughout all of the Marvel Netflix series. She began as Jessica Jones's employer, hiring her to do private investigation work. She quickly became a much more essential character in the overall storyline of all the shows leading up to The Defenders.
Jeri also played an essential role in Iron Fist, acting as Danny Rand's personal lawyer to get him back on the board at Rand Enterprises. She also eventually hired Foggy Nelson to her law firm to deal with cases involving vigilante crimefighters. She is tough, resilient, and complex, making her an excellent addition to any superhero story.
13 CORNELL "COTTONMOUTH" STOKES
The only problem with the character of Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes (played by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali) was that he wasn't around longer in Luke Cage. Before he was taken out by his cousin, Mariah Dillard, Cottonmouth commanded respect as one of the most powerful crime bosses in the city.
Stokes could have had a bright future, as he was essentially a musical prodigy, often impressing his adoptive family with his skills on the keyboard. However, his tragic upbringing eventually led him to a life of violent crime, one from which he could not break free. His unfulfilled potential and criminality eventually led to his figurative and literal downfall.
12 MADAME GAO
Madame Gao (played by Wai Ching Ho) is first portrayed in Daredevil as an elder stateswoman of the Chinese mafia in Hell's Kitchen. However, it is later revealed that there is much more to her than meets the eye, as she demonstrates her true power against Matt Murdock before disappearing.
Madame Gao is an essential part of the Hand storyline, as she is one of the five fingers. She has ties not only to Daredevil's story, but also to Iron Fist as well. She has shown that her age and stature should not allow her to be underestimated, and even though she seemingly met her end in The Defenders, she may still have the power to return.
11 TRISH WALKER
Trish Walker (played by Rachael Taylor) is the adoptive sister and best friend of Jessica Jones. She is also a well known radio personality and former child star who was put under immense pressure by her mother, souring their relationship. Trish dealt with her own issues with addiction before getting clean and finding success later in life.
Trish is shown to be more than just a celebrity and benefactor to Jessica when she is seen learning how to fight with her trainer. She is also later given enhanced reflexes and strength by Karl Malus. Considering where her relationship with Jessica left off, it will be interesting to see how she develops as a hero throughout the series.
10 MARY WALKER
Mary Walker (played by Alice Eve) makes her debut in the second season of Iron Fist. Because of her dissociative identity disorder, she is both an enemy and an ally to Danny Rand. She is a formidable foe, able to study Danny Rand's every move in order to take him down.
Mary Walker is a much more complex character than most in the Marvel Netflix shows, mostly due to her conflicting personalities. Alice Eve did a commendable job playing both sides of the same coin with equal aplomb. Going forward, we might get to see her Bloody Mary personality coming out, which could bring a whole new challenge for New York's heroes.
9 DINAH MADANI
Every vigilante needs a member of law enforcement trying to chase them down, and for Frank Castle that was Dinah Madani (played by Amber Rose Revah), a DHS agent who is on the case of finding Frank Castle, whom everyone believes to be deceased. Madani is a driven, talented agent who has risen through the ranks and earned the respect of hr superiors.
Madani engages in a short relationship with Billy Russo, but eventually has to face him in a final confrontation to free Frank Castle and Micro. She plays an integral role in Frank finding the people that he is after, but also wishes to chase him down, if only to find out what he knows about Project Cerberus.
Growing up in K'un-Lun, Davos (played by Sacha Dhawan) was sure that he would be chose as the Iron Fist. When that honor instead went to Danny Rand, an outsider (and also his close friend), Davos became envious of his power. He chased Danny back to the United States in order to hold him accountable for abandoning K'un-Lun and taking the power with him.
Davos is a complex character. He wishes to protect K'un-Lun from the Hand, but is so single-minded in his pursuit that he cares for little else. Though he is able to steal the power of the Iron Fist for a while, he eventually loses it and is arrested.
In the Punisher comics, Microchip is a close ally of Frank Castle, providing him with any tech that he may require. However, he eventually becomes Frank's enemy before finally being taken out by him. In Netflix's The Punisher, Micro is given a much more detailed backstory, as much like Frank, he has lost his family in a way.
Eben Moss-Bachrach plays Micro as an intelligent but emotional man who despite disappearing from his family's lives, still keeps a close eye on them. He resents Frank's advances toward his wife, but continues to help him in his mission to expose Project Cerberus and take out the people responsible for it.
6 FOGGY NELSON
When Daredevil first premiered on Netflix, it was immediately clear that this was going to be a much darker and seedier take on Marvel heroes than was previously seen in the MCU. Cutting through all of that darkness, however, was the smiling face of Foggy Nelson (played by Elden Hensen).
Foggy is not only Matt Murdock's best friend, but also a skilled and intelligent lawyer, who knows how to get the information he needs from the people he knows. He is one of the only people to know that Matt Murdock is Daredevil, and promises to keep the secret despite the intense worry he feels for Matt's well-being.
5 MISTY KNIGHT
When discussing the valuable law enforcement allies in the Marvel Netflix shows, it's impossible not to mention Misty Knight (played by Simone Missick). Upon her arrival in the series, comic fans probably already knew how important she would become to the Luke Cage storyline.
Misty is a driven, strong, and skilled cop, who after losing her arm is given a robotic one to replace it. This prosthetic increases her strength and makes her a valuable ally to Luke Cage. It also means that in the future there could possibly be a Daughters of the Dragon spin-off where Misty teams with Colleen Wing to fight crime.
4 COLLEEN WING
Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick) is the first member of the Hand that might make audiences think twice about their evil intentions. After all, she is so certain that the Hand is going to help the world, that it almost completely ruins her relationship with Danny Rand. However, she eventually learns the truth about the organization and leaves it for good.
Colleen has demonstrated her skills throughout Iron Fist, showing that she is a capable fighter and also an excellent strategist. She is also given the power of the Iron Fist in season two, making her an even stronger ally. She is a skilled sword fighter and will hopefully be given the chance to really shine as all of the Netflix Marvel series move forward.
Elektra is a former flame of Matt Murdock and also a highly skilled fighter and assassin. Like Matt, Elektra was trained by Stick in order to fight the Hand. Unlike Matt, however, Elektra stayed to finish her training and eventually was dispatched to try and bring Matt back into the fold.
Elektra was an important addition to the Daredevil series because she was not just a foil for Matt but also a love interest. However, unlike someone like Karen Page, Elektra represented the darker side of Matt's life, the part that he was always trying to leave behind, but never quite could because of his work as Daredevil.
Stick was a member of the Chaste who took on Matt and Elektra as his students. Like Matt, Stick was blind, but had learned to use his other heightened senses to become a formidable warrior. Stick was steadfast in his mission to take down the Hand, and would often remind Matt of what he was trained to do.
Stick presented a conflict for Matt in the sense that he was essentially a second father figure to him, but that he had pushed him away early in his life for getting too close. Stick may have been a mentor to Matt, but he was far from perfect. Stick was eventually brought down by Elektra, meaning that the last remaining member of the Chaste had been eliminated by the Hand.
1 CLAIRE TEMPLE
Claire Temple (played by Rosario Dawson) has been integral to the fabric of every Netflix Marvel show since her first appearance. She has taken on the role of the Night Nurse, a character who in the comics was always around to patch up local superheroes who needed it, but she has also been so much more.
Claire has shown that she is not afraid to fight and that she is willing to use her medical knowledge to help anyone in need. She is a valuable friend to Matt Murdock and a love interest for Luke Cage. She was the glue that brought together the team in The Defenders and she has played a valuable role in every hero's story.