For the longest time, the USA Network seemed to be on life-support, with a saving grace in the form of primetime procedurals like NCIS and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The weekly WWE events and broadcasting rights to blockbuster franchises like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean sure did help, too.
But now that the cable networks are getting more recognition and USA is starting to reel in the ratings, let's take a look at some of the hidden gems with which the "Characters Welcome" channel provided us.
Here are the top 8 original series from the USA network.
8. Royal Pains
Royal Pains is a comedic medical drama starring Mark Feuerstein as Dr. Hank Lawson, a private doctor serving the rich and famous in the paradisaical Hamptons. Series creators Andrew Lenchewski and John P. Rogers were inspired to create the series by medical practices of real-life private physicians.
The series co-starred Paulo Costanzo as Hank's brother and eventual business partner, Evan, and Reshema Setty as Hank's assistant, Diviya. The series came to fruition during the network's "dramedy" phase and definitely stood out among the various crime series. The show gained popularity when Henry Winkler (yes, the Fonz) was cast as Hank and Evan's father, Eddie. The series ran for eight years, just airing its finale in early July.
In 2002, Tony Shalhoub joined Inspector Clouseau and the Thin Man in the great line of comedic detectives when he debuted as Adrian Monk. Monk served as a consultant for the San Francisco Police Department after leaving the force when his wife was killed by a car bomb believed to be meant for him.
Monk was among the quirkiest of television characters in modern television. He had the most severe case of OCD and was known for his wide range of irrational fears and phobias, including (but certainly not limited to) heights, crowds, rodeos, and milk. From 2009 to 2012, Monk was the most-watched cable drama (then The Walking Dead came along) and was the first USA series to run for eight seasons, a goal which has since only been met by Psych and Royal Pains.
6. Burn Notice
One of the most rebroadcast (and parodied) USA originals, Burn Notice followed secret agent Michael Westen, (Jeffrey Donovan) a CIA operative who had been blacklisted and targeted by his government. Westen forms a modern-day A-Team comprised of his trigger happy ex-girlfriend, (Gabrielle Anwar) a quick-witted mercenary, (Bruce Campbell) and occasionally his honest, unfiltered mother. (Sharon Gless)
The action-packed adventure series ran for seven seasons, and even spawned off a prequel film, Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, which provided insight on Campbell's popular character's origins. The show ensured that action enthusiasts still had a place on TV once a week, and fit in well with the summer blockbusters the network was known for airing.
5. White Collar
White Collar starred Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey, a handsome and charming former art thief/con artist and followed his developing relationship with Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), the FBI Special Agent who arrested him. Think of the final third of Catch Me If You Can, as Neal completes his prison sentence as a criminal consultant for the Bureau's White Collar division.
Sometimes, they're brothers, and at other times, father and son. But no matter what dynamic they played, Neal and Peter won the viewers over every time. Joined by a delightful supporting cast, including Willie Garson as Neal's quixotic partner Mozzie, Tiffani Thiessen Peter's intelligent wife Elizabeth, and a number of stunning women who leave their stamps in Neal's life, this dynamic duo never failed to provide a clever, entertaining caper to the screens throughout their six seasons.
James Roday and Dulé Hill were the bros behind the widest-spread fan base the USA Network had ever known. Roday headlined Psych in his portrayal as Shawn Spencer, a lazy but brilliant intellectual who uses his keen observational skills to aid the Santa Barbara Police Department and successfully convince the world that he does so through psychic abilities. Hill costars as Burton "Gus" Guster, and is a worthy contribution to the long-running comedy-drama.
The cast is rounded out by the stubborn, skeptical Detective Carlton Lassiter, (Timothy Omundson) the beautiful, intelligent Detective Juliet O'Hara, (Maggie Lawson) and Shawn's father, former detective Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen). The series was packed with nicknames, fist-bumps, pineapples, and '80s pop culture references, and remains one of the most popular series on streaming networks even after its cancellation.
White Collar creator Jeff Eastin provided one of the real hidden gems of the USA Network in the form of Graceland. Inspired by true stories of a team of federal agents covertly operating out of a beach house in Malibu, this series followed probationary agent Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit), veteran legend Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) and their fellow operatives as they struggle with their moral compasses on the cloudy path to find justice.
The uber-talented cast included Vanessa Ferlito, Serinda Swan, Brandon Jay McLaren, and Manny Montana as unique and diverse agents walking blurred lines. Unfortunately, despite increasingly positive critical reviews, the series dropped viewers drastically every season, likely due to the relatively short length of the seasons, the long hiatus between them, and the lack of advertising. Sadly, Graceland was cancelled after three seasons, but the glory is still available on streaming services such as Netflix.
2. Mr. Robot
Rami Malek stars in the critically-acclaimed Mr. Robot. He plays Elliot Alderson, a young security engineer who suffers from social anxiety and clinical depression. Alderson is recruited by a mysterious anarchist figure, played by Christian Slater, who's goal is to use Elliot's hacking skills to eliminate corruption in the financial world.
Entering its second season, Mr. Robot is one of the most popular series in the world. The first season was nominated for numerous awards, even winning the Golden Globe for Best Television Drama Series. The psychological-thriller aspect of the series is a new one for the USA Network, and has brought in a lot of new viewers this last year.
Another major contributor to the network's rising popularity, Suits is a character-driven legal drama revolving around Harvey Specter, (Gabriel Macht) the Han Solo of Manhattan attorneys and the risks he takes when he hires Michael Ross, (Patrick J. Adams) a highly intelligent college dropout with an eidetic memory and a legal mind.
Suits defied all expectations by raising the viewership without the action/emergency appeal of a cop or medical drama. Intriguing character drama, witty humor, and various twists and turns make this series one of the most watched on cable TV. Series creator Aaron Korsh recently took a major risk, as the show's entered a game-changing plot twist with its sixth season premiere this July. However, the change proved successful, and once again, Suits has earned its spot at the top of this list.