THE X-FILES/FOX/1993-2002 (Cancer)
The fantasy police drama THE X-FILES/FOX/1993-2002 featured FBI agents appeared Fox “Spooky” Mulder (David Duchovny), an Oxford educated FBI agent who teamed with forensic physician Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) to investigate special paranormal case files labeled “X-Files.” They reported to Mitch Pileggi as Assistant FBI Director Walter Skinner. Scully contracted cancer in the second season.
Helping Mulder search for the paranormal and alien conspiracies was a group called “The Lone Gunmen” who consisted of Bruce Harwood as John Byers; Tom Braidwood as Melvin Frohike and Dean Haglund as Ringo Langly.
Game of Thrones/HBO/2011-2018 (Dwarfism)
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is an intelligent dwarf with a dark wit who is called “The Imp” and “The Half Man.” He is the third and youngest child of wealthy and powerful Tywin Lannister, the former Hand of the King.
Tyrion’s mother Joanna died giving birth to him and Tywin blames him for her death and consequently treats him like a “second class noble.” To pass the time, Tyrion finds comfort in drinking and carousing.
Tyrion is very intelligent, and he uses his wit and ability to manipulate situations to his advantage. In the end, he is a survivor.
In the fourth episode (May 8, 2011) Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), presents Bran Stark with a gift: an accessible horse-riding saddle. When informed that Bran has lost the use of his legs, Tyrion replies, “What of it? With the right horse and saddle, even a cripple can ride.” When asked why Tyrion wants to help Bran, since the Starks and the Lannisters are rivals. he responds, “I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards, and broken things.”
Some Quotes of Tyrion Lannister
“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and the world can never be used to hurt you.”
“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. That is why I read so much.”
“It’s hard to put a leash on a dog once you’ve put a crown on its head.”
“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar. You’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”
“It’s not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy.”
“Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores.”
“Drinking and lust, no man can match me in these things. I am the god of tits and wine.”
“I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you! I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it!”
“I’m not particularly good at violence, but I’m good at convincing other people to do violence for me.”
“Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!”
“I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you’re safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth. Then you will know the debt is paid.”
“Death is so final, yet life is full of possibilities.”
See also – Game of Thrones
Homeland/SHO/2011-2017+ (Bipolar Disorder)
Carrie Anne Mathison (Claire Danes), an ambitious, high-ranking CIA operative in charge of recruiting and managing assets. She is assigned to the Counter-terrorism Center in Langely, Virginia.
Carrie lives with the stigma of bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness) and tries to hide it from her coworkers for fear of being fired. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while an Arabic language student at Princeton University. Carrie’s illness manifests itself by rapid thoughts and a surplus of ideas.
Carrie is exceptionally intelligent. Her long-time mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), calls her the “smartest and the dumbest fucking person he’s ever known.”
When we first meet Carrie, she is obsessed with Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis), a recently returned POW whom the country believes is a hero (like The Manchurian Candidate) but, Carrie’s spider senses believes him to be a terrorist sleeper agent. And, in the end, Carrie’s suspicions were right.
“Carrie Mathison: crazy or brilliant? Or both?”
Carrie’s bipolar disorder causes flights of excitement and euphoria, and, alternately, crushing feelings of sadness and hopelessness, even delusions and hallucinations. She exhibits risk inhibition, the elusiveness of sleep, promiscuity, and alienation of friends and family. When Carrie is depressed, she sleeps for days, waking to darkness and then in a catatonic state, she drinks.
Carrie’s psychiatrist older sister, Maggie (Amy Hargreaves) prescribed drugs like clozapine, lithium, nortriptyline, clonazepam to control her condition, but sometimes Carrie goes off her meds because she feels the need to clear her head and focus on her problems.
But, the lack of meds only exasperate Carries problems to the point she has to go to the hospital. While recuperating, she was obsessed with getting a green pen and in a manic state shouted at the attending staff, “I mean, my kingdom for a fucking green pen!” Besides her medications, Carrie undergoes modern electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) to attain some semblance of stability and responsibility.
Once, Carrie’s adversaries used her illness to undermine her by sabotaging her medication and causing her to relapse.
Luckily, Carrie had a strong support network to help her though her spurts of mental illness. They included her family (her father is also bipolar), her mentor Saul, her understanding colleague Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), and her longtime friend Virgil (David Marciano).
Even U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis), an al-Qaeda compromised Prisoner of war who plotted to kill the Vice President had a kind word for Carrie (Brody was hanged in Iran after he assassinated Iranian intelligence chief Akbari).
Note: Meredith Stiehm, one of the show’s lead writers, has a sister Jamie with bipolar disorder. She wrote an op-ed about it in the New York Times.
Other instances of bipolar characters on TV include Jeremy Sisto’s Billy Chenowith on SIX FEET UNDER, 90210’s Erin Silver (Jessica Stroup), ER’s Maggie Wyczenski (Sally Field), FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS’ Waverly Grady (Aasha Davis), Chloe Webb’s Monica Gallagher on SHAMELESS, and NYPD BLUE’s Dr. Jennifer Devlin (Chandra West)
Breaking Bad/AMC/2008-2013 (Cerebral Palsy)
Walter Flynn White, Jr. (RJ Mitte), teenage son of a high school chemistry teacher with inoperable lung cancer. Unbeknownst to his son, Walter Sr. (Bryan Cranston) used his knowledge of chemistry to manufacture meth to earn money to provide for his family after he dies.
Walter Jr. has Cerebral Palsy. His speech is impaired and he needs the help of crutches when he walks.
Although his father, Walter Sr. has gone over to the dark side as a drug dealer, killer and all around bad guy, Walter Jr. still idolizes his dad, even when he had to return the brand new hot rod he received from his father (who later got his son another car).
When Walter Sr. had to undergo expensive lung surgery, the patient and understanding RJ created a website to raise money for his dad’s treatment.
Note: Actor RJ Mitte has Cerebral Palsy in real life, although not as severe as the character he played. For the part, he had to learn to slur his speech and walk with crutches so he would make his role convincing.
RJ Mitte also appeared on episodes of Switched at Birth/ABC Family(Freeform)/2011-2017 as Campbell Bingman, a pre-med student in a wheelchair who volunteers at the free clinic where deaf teenager Daphne Vasquez is serving her community service hours. She becomes his love interest for a time.
See also: Breaking Bad
FAMILY GUY/FOX/1999+ (Wheelchair)
Joe Swanson (voice by Patrick Warburton), a crippled police officer confined to a wheelchair who lives in the town of Quahog, Rhode Island. Joe suffers from impotence and incontinence.
In episode “Joe’s Revenge” we learn that Joe lost the use of his legs in a fight with Bobby “The Shirt” Briggs, whom Joe later kills. In an earlier episode, “A Hero Sits Next Door” Joe claimed he was crippled stopping The Grinch from stealing Christmas from an orphanage.
Joe is married with two children (Kevin and Susie). His wife, Bonnie is a soft-spoken woman who used to work as a stripper. She once tried to shoot Joe to paralyze him but she was such a lousy shot, Joe shot himself. In episode “Foreign Affairs,” Bonnie goes to Paris and nearly leaves Joe for a French man in a wheelchair named Francois.
Kevin, their first born allegedly died in the Iraq War, but it is later revealed he was in a coma following a bomb (placed inside a turkey during Thanksgiving) and so he faked his own death and went AWOL. Susie Swanson, the second child, is still a baby.
Joe’s friends include neighbor Peter Griffin (voice by Seth MacFarlane), a bumbling blue-collar worker who works at the Happy Go Lucky Toy Factory and later the Pawtucket Brewery; Glenn Quagmire (voice by Seth MacFarlane), a single, sex-addicted airline pilot who is always saying “Giggity” and “Alright”; and Cleveland (voice by Mike Henry), a mild-mannered African American deli owner. Their favorite hang out is a bar called “The Drunken Clam.”
THE FLASH/CBS/1990-91 (Blind)
Reggie(Robert Shayne), blind newsstand operator who recognizes the voice of police chemist Barry Allen, (a.k.a. “The Flash”)
Reggie appeared on episodes “Sins of the Father” (1990) and “Sight Unseen” (1991).
Note: Robert Shayne is best remembered for his role as Inspector Bill Henderson, a police officer who lived in the city of Metropolis and interacted with Clark Kent (George Reeves), a reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper on the science fiction series ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN/SYN/1952-1958.
Born Robert Shaen Dawe on October 4, 1900 in Yonkers, New York, Robert Shayne died on November 29, 1992 (age 92) in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.
BLIND JUSTICE/ABC/2005 (Blind)
Detective Jim Dunbar (Ron Eldard), NYPD detective blinded in the line of duty when he saved the lives of three officers against a gunman with a AK-47.
A devoted criminologist, Jim wants to return to work and do what he does best. But with a wife who lacks faith in his ability to rejoin his career, and a new partner who doesn’t think she can rely on him in his current condition, Jim has a huge mountain to climb over before he can successfully work his way back on the streets as a detective instead of opting for desk duty or early retirement.
As the program tagline said,” He lost his sight, not his vision.”
The series is based on characters in the mystery novel “Death by Hollywood written by writer/producer Steven Bochco.
Every episode was broadcast with video description for the visually impaired available as Secondary Audio Programming. It was the first ABC scripted series to offer this option.
Unique visual effects give us a window on what Dunbar “sees” with his remaining senses.
YOUNG RIDERS/ABC/1989-92 (Mute)
Ike McSwain (Travis Fine), mute Pony Express rider who worked at a prairie station near Sweetwater on the Central Overland Express line in the year 1860.
As a child, Ike was struck Scarlet Fever. The disease left him without any hair and without the ability to speak.When Ike’s family was massacred (he was not able to cry out for help), Ike was raised in an Catholic Mission.
Ike learned Indian Sign Language from his friend Buck Cross, who learned it from the Kiowa Indians.
In the series third season, Ike was killed while protecting the life of Emily Metcalfe, whom he loved. He jumped in front of a bullet meant for her that was fired by her father’s killer.
THE JACK PAAR SHOW/TONIGHT/NBC/1957-62 (Stutterer)
Jack Paar, a popular late night talk show host, stuttered badly as a child.
Attempting to cure himself of this embarrassing condition, he followed the advice of the ancient Greek orator, Demosthenes (a stutterer) who cured himself by filling his mouth with pebbles and making speeches to the sea. Having no seas near Canton, Ohio, Paar made do with his living room and buttons from his mother’s sewing basket.
He later went to work at a Michigan radio station at the age of 16 and began his climb up the ladder to celebrity status. During highly emotional events Paar exhibited traces of stuttering.
THE ERNIE KOVACS SHOW/CBS/NBC/1952-56 (Mute)
Eugene (Ernie Kovacs), a silent, seemingly mute blithe spirit of a man dressed in a hat and tight fitting plaid jacket who wandered through a menagerie of television visual and audio effects.
On an episode sketch entitled “Library Bit” (10/15/56) Eugene opens a copy of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and hears explosive cannon fire and bugle calls issue from the tome. Pulling a copy of “The Old Man and the Sea” gets Eugene sprayed with water. And when he peruses a copy of the classic novel “Camille,” the sound of a delicate cough is heard.
Note: Years earlier, silent film star Buster Keaton performed a similar bit when in a library he opens the cover of a book entitled “The Art of Pugilism” and is punched in the face with a boxing glove.