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    31 Actors Who Starred In 10 Episodes Or Less Of A TV Show, But Absolutely Made The Most Of It

    Sterling K. Brown's appearance on Brooklyn Nine-Nine was awardworthy.

    🚨Warning: There are some massive spoilers ahead!🚨

    1. Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones

    Oberyn saying, "Have they told you who I am? I am the brother of Elia Martell. Do you know why I have come all the way to this stinking shit-pile of a city? For you"
    HBO

    Pedro Pascal joined Game of Thrones during Season 4 and made a lasting impression on fans while bringing Oberyn Martell to life. I mean, how could you forget the horrific way Oberyn died?! Even though he was in less than 10 episodes, Pedro's performance stuck with us until the very end of the show.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: Seven

    2. Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones

    Lyanna saying, "He's my king from this day until his last day"
    HBO

    Bella Ramsey appeared as Lyanna starting in Season 6 until the final season. Honestly, she absolutely stole every single scene she was part of from the very first time she stepped onscreen. It was hard not to root for Lyanna, and it was even harder to watch her time on Game of Thrones come to an end.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Nine

    3. Aubrey Plaza as Cat Adams on Criminal Minds

    Reid interrogating Cat and asking what is left for him to admit. Then, Cat and Reid dancing together
    CBS

    One of the most notable guest stars in the history of Criminal Minds, Aubrey Plaza first appeared during Season 11 and made her last appearance during Season 15. Her work as Cat Adams is nothing short of mesmerizing, and it's still talked about to this day.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Four

    4. Shannon Purser as Barb Holland on Stranger Things

    Barb being pulled into the Upside Down
    Netflix

    In literally just a few episodes, Barb became one of the most talked-about Stranger Things characters. To this day, I'm still not over how her story ended and she made a lasting impression on the show during Season 1.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Four

    5. Andrew Scott as the Priest on Fleabag

    Fleabag telling the Priest that she loves him and the Priest saying, "See you Sunday? I'm joking. You're never ever allowed in my church again. I love you, too"
    Amazon Prime Video

    Andrew Scott completely knocked it out of the park when he was introduced as the Priest during Season 2 of Fleabag. In less than 10 episodes, he became a character we couldn't stop talking about. His work on the show earned him several award nominations and he won the Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2020.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: Six

    6. Cicely Tyson as Ophelia Harkness on How to Get Away With Murder

    Ophelia talking to Bonnie and Frank and saying she's a VIP because "your boss came out of my 'V' and her daddy's 'P'"
    ABC

    Cicely Tyson's work on How to Get Away With Murder remained a triumph until the very end. She arrived during Season 1 as Annalise's mother and with each episode she guest-starred in, she completely stole the show. For her work on the show, Cicely was nominated for five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, the most by any actor in this category so far.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: 10

    7. Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy on 30 Rock

    Colleen saying, "Exhibit C: 16-8=8! Numbers, unlike children, don't lie"
    NBC

    Elaine Stritch brought her brand of humor to 30 Rock from Season 1 until the final season. This was also Elaine's last major acting role before her death in 2014. Her work as Colleen earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007, and she was nominated four other times.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Nine

    8. Carol Burnett as Bridget "Birdie" Sulloway on Law & Order: SVU

    Birdie saying, "But I did love my husbands, until I found out what kind of men they really were"
    NBC

    A lot of famous actors have appeared on Law & Order: SVU over the years, but Carol Burnett's appearance during Season 10 as Birdie might be one of the most memorable. Seeing Carol, known for her comedy, pivot to drama was amazing and her work even earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2009.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: One

    9. Robin Williams as Merritt Rook on Law & Order: SVU

    Olivia catching up to Merritt in Grand Central Station
    NBC

    Another memorable guest star on Law & Order: SVU, Robin Williams amazed, and creeped out, fans as Merritt Rook during Season 9. His work in this episode makes him one of the most well-known guest stars on the show to this day.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: One

    10. Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow on Doctor Who

    Sally watching a video of the Doctor, and the Doctor saying, "Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink"
    BBC America

    Carey Mulligan appeared in one of the biggest Doctor Who episodes ever, and her performance continues to be talked about. "Blink" brilliantly introduced us to the Weeping Angels and Carey truly carried an episode that had very little of the Doctor in it.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: One

    11. Sterling K. Brown as Philip Davidson on Brooklyn Nine-NIne

    Jake telling Holt he had an idea, then scream-singing to Philip
    NBC

    Sterling K. Brown always delivers an incredible performance in everything he does, and one of his best performances is in "The Box" from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. A perfect episode of television, Sterling does a lot in an episode that is confined to an interrogation room. It's one of the greatest episodes of the series, and it earned Sterling an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 2018.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: One

    12. Kyle Chandler as Dylan Young on Grey's Anatomy

    Dylan taking the bomb from Meredith and saying, "You did good," before exploding in the hallway
    ABC

    Before Friday Night Lights made him a household name, Kyle Chandler appeared in one of the biggest Grey's Anatomy episodes of all time and kept coming back for more appearances. In fact, Kyle's work as Dylan in the post–Super Bowl Season 2 episode earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2006.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: Four

    13. Mandy Moore as Mary Portman on Grey's Anatomy

    Mary begging Bailey to calm down and asking what they are going to do, while Bailey sobs
    ABC

    Mandy Moore guest-starred in arguably the biggest season finale in Grey's Anatomy history when she played Mary in the two-part Season 6 finale. Mandy's work in this episode has made her one of the most memorable guest stars on the show to this day.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Four

    14. Monica Keena as Bonnie Crasnoff and Bruce A. Young as Tom Maynard on Grey's Anatomy

    Bonnie and Tom stuck together by a pole and Bonnie asking if Tom believes in heaven and Tom saying that he does
    ABC

    All of these years later, I still believe that "Into You Like A Train" from Season 2 of Grey's Anatomy is a perfect episode of TV, and it's 100% thanks to the amazing work by Monica Keena and Bruce A. Young. The two of them made Bonnie and Tom two of the most memorable patients on Grey's Anatomy in just one episode.

    Number of episodes they appeared in: Monica appeared in two episodes and Bruce appeared in only one

    15. Carrie Fisher as Mia Norris on Catastrophe

    Mia asking if she can go buy an Irish wool sweater if there's time, and someone saying, "My dad's dead"
    Amazon Prime Video

    Carrie Fisher left her mark on every TV show or movie she appeared in, and that is certainly the case with Catastrophe. Her work during three seasons of this hilarious and underrated series was amazing and quick-witted. Carrie even earned a posthumous Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her appearance in Season 3.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Six

    16. Prince as himself on New Girl

    Prince telling Jess that she's scared to tell Nick that she loves him
    Fox

    Prince made his memorable guest appearance in one of the best post–Super Bowl TV episodes in recent memory. Prince appeared has himself during this Season 3 episode and he helped Jess work up the courage to tell Nick that she loves him.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: One

    17. Gwyneth Paltrow as Holly Holliday on Glee

    Holly singing with Santana and Brittany
    Fox

    A notable guest star on Glee, Gwyneth Paltrow appeared in several episodes as Holly Holliday throughout the show's run. She guest-starred in both Season 2 and Season 5, and delivered memorable moments in every episode. Her work in her first episode "The Substitute" earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2011.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Five

    18. Nathan Lane as Pepper Saltzman on Modern Family

    Pepper telling a firefighter, "Hello. Pepper Saltzman. Big supporter of yours. Have all your calendars"
    ABC

    Nathan Lane hilarious guest-starred as Cam and Mitchel's BFF Pepper throughout the show's entire run. His hilarious work on the show earned him three Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, and rightly so.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: 10

    19. Christina Applegate as Amy Green on Friends

    Amy telling Ross and Rachel, "Well, let me tell you something. Your baby isn't even that cute"
    NBC

    Christina Applegate appeared as Amy, Rachel's "other" sister, and made the role something Friends fans will never forget. Her work on Friends earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her first episode, and she scored a nomination for her second appearance too.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Two

    20. Krysten Ritter as Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad

    Jane telling Jesse, "I guess I'm good anywhere, as long as it's the two of us"
    AMC

    Krysten Ritter's performance as Jane was not only mesmerizing, but it's also rare that a TV character's death has a lasting impact, especially on a show filled with so much violence. Jane's relationship with Jesse is something we'll never forget TBH, and Krysten was able to create a memorable character in less than 10 episodes.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Nine

    21. Laura Dern as Susan on Ellen

    Ellen saying, "Susan...I'm gay" into the loudspeaker at the airport
    ABC

    A guest star who literally helped change television, Laura Dern notably appeared in "The Puppy Episode" of Ellen as Susan, the woman whom Ellen comes out to and has feelings for. To this day, Laura says that one of the "greatest gifts" of her career was being in this episode.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: One

    22. Mahershala Ali as Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes on Luke Cage

    Cottonmouth talking to Mariah Dillard
    Netflix

    Before he became a household name thanks to Moonlight, Mahershala Ali starred on several TV shows including Luke Cage. His work as Cottonmouth during Season 1 was extraordinary as he brought this larger-than-life Marvel character to TV.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: Six

    23. Victor Garber as Clifton Sparks on Schitt's Creek

    Moira and Clifton having drinks together
    CBC / Pop

    The cast of Schitt's Creek was one of the best ensembles on TV; so when a truly unbelievable guest star showed up, it made everything even more spectacular. Victor Garber appearing as Clifton Sparks, Moira's former co-star from Sunrise Bay, and it made the final season of this iconic television series so incredible.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: One

    24. Lauren Cohan as Rose on The Vampire Diaries

    Rose saying, "So I can die. I've lived long enough" and then Rose and Damon sitting in a field in her dream
    The CW

    Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries is a pretty flawless season of television, and one of the best guest stars in this jam-packed season is Lauren Cohan as Rose, a vampire who has been running from Klaus. In less than 10 episodes, Lauren created one of the most memorable characters on The Vampire Diaries, which is pretty impressive.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Six

    25. Bill Paxton as John Garrett on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Garrett talking to Coulson and Fury
    ABC

    In just one season, Bill Paxton made John Garrett, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who joined Hydra, one of the most complex villains on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. His work on the show continued to be celebrated until the final season, and he accomplished so much in less than 10 episodes. This was also one of Bill's final memorable roles before his death in 2017.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: Six

    26. Naomi Ackie as Bonnie on The End of the F***ing World

    Bonnie looking at a diner booth and seeing Alyssa and James's dead bodies
    Netflix

    An underrated and phenomenal series, The End of the F***ing World knew how to make an impact with very few episodes, and Naomi Ackie's awardworthy work as Bonnie proved it. Arriving in Season 2, Naomi stole every scene she was a part of and every word she spoke was mesmerizing.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Seven

    27. Adam Brody as Dave Rygalski on Gilmore Girls

    Dave saying, "I enjoyed playing those hymns on my guitar, and I really, really want to take your daughter to the prom"
    Warner Bros.

    Until the very last episode of Gilmore Girls, I hoped that Adam Brody would show back up as Dave, and he and Lane could be together. He only appeared in Season 3, but Dave Rygalski made a lasting impression on every Gilmore Girls fan and it's all thanks to Adam's adorable and dorky performance.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: Nine

    28. Linda Cardellini as Sylvia Rosen on Mad Men

    Sylvia, on the phone with Don, saying, "I need you, and nothing else will do"
    AMC

    My motto is that Linda Cardellini truly makes every TV show she appears in better, so it's no surprise that her work on Mad Men was so widely celebrated. She mostly appeared in Season 6 as Sylvia Rosen, a housewife whom Don Draper falls for. Linda's work on Mad Men even earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2011.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Nine

    29. Paul Rudd as Bobby Newport on Parks and Rec

    Bobby Newport and Leslie Knope debating
    NBC

    Paul Rudd lent his hilarious comedic talents to Parks and Rec for less than 10 episodes, and he made every single moment count. Paul mainly appeared in Season 4 as Bobby Newport, Leslie's opponent while she's running for city council. Every time he was onscreen, you couldn't help but laugh, and he was such a fun and iconic guest star.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: Six

    30. Rosemary Clooney as Mary Cavanaugh/Madame X on ER

    Mary crying in the emergency room
    NBC

    Renowned singer and actor Rosemary Clooney truly left it all on the table when she appeared on ER during Season 1. She was the biggest guest star to appear on the show at the time — literally, she was in Episode 3 — and it was amazing to just watch her perform. Her work as Mary on ER was also one of her last acting roles before her death in 2002. And, just the fact that one of her few acting credits is in ER with her nephew George Clooney is reason enough to celebrate this role.

    Number of episodes she appeared in: Two

    31. And finally, Cary Elwes as Pierre Despereaux on Psych

    Gus and Shawn looking up and Pierre saying, "Somebody call for an art thief?"
    USA

    Psych had some incredible guest stars during its run, but none were as memorable as Cary Elwes. Cary's role as Pierre Despereaux, international art thief, was hilarious and simply iconic. He appeared throughout the show starting in Season 4; and every time he popped up, you just knew it was going to be an iconic episode.

    Number of episodes he appeared in: Four

    We can't fit everyone in one list, so which TV characters do you love even though they appeared in 10 episodes or less? Tell us in the comments below!

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