7 Prickly Relationships on TV That Are Fun to Watch

Suits, Hawaii five-0, Once Upon a Time, Common Law, Arrow, Castle and Elementary

As a general rule, in real life I avoid prickly people and relationships. I mean, life is short, so why spend even one moment in a relationship that is not enjoyable, unless you have no choice, like for instance with a boss at work?

But, when watching TV, it is a whole different story. In the comfort of my home, at a safe distance from the prickly folks, I find that some of the relationships I would personally avoid are fun to watch! If I had to speculate as to the reason, it has to be the drama of the situation. Watching the sparks fly between people makes a show more interesting!

I would categorize these relationships in two ways – prickly-antagonistic and prickly-friendly. Many, if not all of these prickly relationships seem to start out in the antagonistic category, and evolve into the friendly category. Again speculating, it seems that the mostly prickly relationships are between people doing the dominance dance – for power, for money, for who is in charge, or for who is right.

Harvey Specter and Daniel Hardman – Suits

Jessica, Harvey, Mike and Daniel - Suits

Actually, everyone at the law firm of Pearson has a prickly relationship with Hardman, but Harvey’s is the most fun to watch I think. Hardman is a weasely, smarmy dude, and I think that most of the people in the viewing audience feel about him the same way Harvey does – they hate his guts!

Harvey has yet to actually punch Hardman, but we all know he would love to. However, for the most part Harvey is too smart to act on those impulses, being satisfied with giving Hardman the verbal smackdown.

Rick Castle and Captain Gates – Castle

Beckett, Castle and Gate - Castle

At the end of season 3, Captain Montgomery was killed protecting Beckett. Montgomery had been a friend to Castle, allowing his collaboration with Beckett to continue beyond the initial assignment.

The new captain, on the other hand, has an active dislike for Castle. She realizes that Castle is a friend of the Mayor’s and thus tolerates him, but most of their interactions are just barely cordial. A couple of times Rick has tried to get into Gates’ good graces, and he even succeeded temporarily, but in the end, it seems their relationship will remain antagonistic.

Captain Hook and Rumpelstiltskin – Once Upon a Time

Rumpelstiltskin and Hook - Once Upon a Time

I am really enjoying how this show is mixing it up with all the fairy tale characters, and introducing relationships that are brand new. This is not your mother’s fairytale land! One of these new relationships is between Captain Hook and Rumpelstiltskin. These two are in an antagonistic relationship, having a history dating back to Rumpelstiltskin’s former wife running off with Hook.

When these two square off, fists are as likely to fly as biting dialogue. They don’t even bother to pretend they are friends. Everything about their encounters, their body language, their facial expressions, their dialogue, just screams antagonism.

Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams – Hawaii Five-0

Steve and Danny - Hawaii Five-0

These two have arguments on a regular basis. They also insult each other. However, while their relationship started out as purely antagonistic, it has evolved into the friendship stage. It is clear that they both care about each other and respect each other, even if their methods are very different.

Honestly, their arguments and insults are for me one of the parts of the show I look forward to. Sure, I enjoy the detective work, the exciting car chases, and the final arrest of the bad guys and gals, but I also laugh at a lot of the things these two say to each other. A lot of their differences stem from Steve’s “take no prisoners, today is a good day to die” attitude, versus Danny’s “take the perp into custody without getting ourselves killed” attitude!

Oliver Queen and Detective Lance – Arrow

Detective Lance - Arrow

Pretty much from the beginning Detective Lance has been suspicious of Oliver. Even after he arrested Oliver and he was exonerated, it seems clear Lance still knows there is something hinky with Oliver and his entire family for that matter. Of course, Lance also still holds a grudge for the death of his daughter when the boat sank, leaving Oliver the eventual lone survivor.

It is hard to say if this antagonism will ever evolve to something more friendly, but if I were a betting woman, I would say it will not. The drama is amped up by Lance’s pursuit of The Arrow.

Travis Marks and Wes Mitchell – Common Law

Wes and Travis - Common Law

The premise of this program is that these two detectives, who are partners, don’t get along. They are ordered into couples counseling to try and work out their differences. To categorize their relationship as prickly is a no-brainer. The snark really does fly on this show.

But, like Steve and Danny from Hawaii Five-0, their relationship is evolving towards a friendship type stage. The more they get to know each other, the more they understand each other’s motivations and behavior.

Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson – Elementary

Sherlock and Joan - Elementary

Sherlock Holmes in this adaptation lacks many social skills. He is if nothing else brutally honest. If he thinks it, he likely says it, no matter how appropriate. He does not care if he offends someone, and asks questions that are often inappropriate, but provide him with useful information during an investigation.

His bluntness and his actions often lead to verbal sparring with Watson. Their relationship definitely started out as antagonistic, with him purposely trying to derail everything Watson did. Over the course of the season, their relationship has evolved to one of friendship, but the prickly part remains, much to my delight!


So, that is my list of prickly relationships I enjoy watching on TV. Do you have any favorites I did not mention? Any comments on the ones I did mention? Please let me know in the comment section below.