6 Characters that Embody the Year of the Tiger


The Chinese Zodiac is an important part of Chinese culture, dating back thousands of years. According to tradition, your animal sign reveals more than just your age, but also your personality, fortune, career prospects, and even your romantic compatibility with others. This Lunar New Year, we celebrate the Year of the Tiger. In China, the tiger is a symbol of strength, bravery, confidence, and unpredictability. And thankfully, a year of the tiger is considered a good year in Chinese culture. As we usher in the new lunar year, let’s celebrate some of our favorite Topic characters that embody the powerful spirit of the tiger.

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Tapani Brotherus, Invisible Heroes

As a Finnish diplomat setting up an embassy in Chile, Tapani Brotherus is supposed to be just another guy in a suit, pushing papers and attending state dinners. But when General Pinochet stages a bloody military coup, Brotherus channels his inner tiger and finds himself risking everything–his career, his life, his wife–to save 2000 refugees. This riveting series, based on a true story, reminds us how the courage of one person can make all the difference.

John de Kooning, Commandos

Three years ago, John de Kooning was a Special Forces Commander with the Dutch army and part of a black ops mission to save a Nigerian diplomat from Boko Haram. Even had the mission gone well, which it certainly didn’t, no one escapes war unscathed. When one of John’s ex-commando brothers shows up dead and the remaining ones become enmeshed in a perilous investigation of the failed mission, John will have to tap into all his tiger-like traits–bravery, determination and strength–to survive.

Ann-Mari Sundell, Peacemaker

We don’t necessarily associate tigers with peace, but it’s a tiger’s determination, cunning and courage that UN Peace Negotiator Ann-Mari will rely on to accomplish her biggest case ever: brokering a deal between Turkey and the Kurds. As she navigates war crimes, government corruption and unyielding politicians, Ann-Mari discovers that her last job before retirement may prove to be her most challenging.

Vos, The Day

In this unique Dutch series, the episodes come in pairs. Each odd episode shares the police’s perspective of a hostage crisis at a small Flemish bank and the corresponding even-numbered episode covers the same time span from the standpoint of the victims and hostage takers. With this creative approach, It’s hard to know who the real tiger is: clever veteran hostage negotiator Vos, the unpredictable criminals, or the courageous hostages. Our money’s on Vos, though, who isn’t afraid to let her claws show, even if it puts her job in jeopardy.

Lisbeth Salander, The Millennium Trilogy (US only)

Brave, confident and utterly unpredictable, it’s possible that Lisbeth Salander is more tiger than human. Whether she’s trying to solve a series of gruesome murders possibly connected to a 40-year mystery of a missing girl in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, investigating a sex-trafficking ring while fleeing a murder charge in The Girl Who Played With Fire, or trying to clear her name and confronting her past in The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, it’s a thrill to watch this untamed spirit in action.

Nina and Erik, Pros and Cons

You can’t always tell a tiger just by looking at them. Take Nina and Erik, for example; with their suburban life, two kids, and domestic squabbles about dishwashing detergent, they seem more like house cats than tigers. But deep down, they’re still the cunning and confident con-artists they were in a past life, and they can’t say no to one last million-euro score.