Murder mysteries and vampire battles make great TV, but the most addictive dramas also lure viewers with sexy stars and juicy romances. When writers throw a wrench into a favorite pairing's bliss by adding a compelling third party, well, we viewers can't resist. These three shows take very different approaches to the infamous love triangle, but they all reel in fans with maddening, nail-biting, and ultimately entertaining romantic suspense.
"The Vampire Diaries": The beauty of the love triangle between Elena (Nina Dobrev) and the vampire brothers Salvatore is that it caught fire immediately. The angsty high schooler had barely waxed poetic about dreamy newcomer Stefan (Paul Wesley) in her diary before sultry bad boy Damon (Ian Somerhalder) showed up in a swirl of fog to get her heart pumping. Even better is the way both relationships have evolved over time, with plenty of love, lust, jealousy, betrayal, and yes, bloodletting, to the extent that both guys have a very strong case for being Elena's one and only.
It's tough to resist the ethereal blue eyes and sexy smirk of Somerhalder, whom you may still remember as the prettiest boy on the island in "Lost." In "The Vampire Diaries," his Damon is seductive and violent and coldly calculating, which makes his moments of devotion and tenderness to Elena that much more stirring. Once hunky Stefan wiped that blank, dumb jock look off of his face and turned into the tortured bad guy, though, he gained several laps in the race for Elena's love. We seriously have no idea which tortured soul she'll eventually choose.
"The Mentalist": No matter what they do to keep former flames Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) apart, we still keep pining for them to be together. The door seems closed for now, as Wayne has landed himself the sweetest woman on the planet for a girlfriend. She's also about to be the mother of his child. That's tough for Grace to compete with, but with all the adorably awkward attempts by these sexy CBI agents to stay friends, it's obvious there's still plenty of feeling there.
While Wayne's hesitancy about his new relationship seems to spell doom, what makes this a riveting love triangle is that sweet Sarah (Jillian Bach) is no dummy. She can totally see the romantic tension between her beau and his hot ex, but she's convinced he'll soon figure out she's a better match for him. Considering Grace's naive, masochistic, and really unlucky taste in men, we're starting to think Sarah has a point. Sure, everyone melts when Wayne and Grace exchange those meaningful, doe-eyed glances, but if them hooking up again means Wayne will somehow turn into a raving murderer, we're thinking he should stick with Sarah.
"Ringer": Bridget's (Sarah Michelle Gellar) NA sponsor Malcolm (Mike Colter) could make a fortune from Bridget in billable hours for therapy, detective work, and bodyguard duty. As Bridget's evil twin Siobhan has sussed out, however, the man is completely and lovingly devoted to her. Though they've come close a couple times to running away together into the sunset, a funny thing happened when Bridget started living Siobhan's posh lifestyle with gorgeous husband Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd) -- she fell in love.
On "Ringer," however, it can't be as simple as choosing between living as a wealthy socialite or a poor ex-addict. There are multiple murder plots, white collar crimes, former affairs, and layers of lies and deceit so complex that "Alias," and that whole Rambaldi device, seem like child's play. Andrew looks like a killer, then a savior, and Malcolm may have exited stage left -- permanently. How will it ever turn out okay? We keep tuning in to find out.
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