Secondary or supporting characters in expansive works have always been an interest of mine. They're usually included to move the plot along, or spell out a theme for the audience; but sometimes they can exceed their role and become scene-stealers interesting enough to rival the primary stars. Part of that is 'cause of the actors: no matter how talented you are, if you're not young/sexy/marketable you end up doing a lot of supporting work - just see Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson's pre-Lost filmographies. And part of it is 'cause the show's production team have more freedom writing them, and I think they take the opportunity to write a character who isn't wrapped up in manpain/angst/convoluted storylines and roll with it. But maybe the most fascinating thing is that we know so little about these characters. Often, they show up with only half-explained motives and are either killed off before we get to know them or disappear into the writers' box of plot devices. Instead of being annoying, as these circumstances would be with a purported main character (cough, Libby) it only makes them more ~intriguing.
Lost is, to put it mildly, an expansive work, and it's got no lack of supporting actors: on the island, in flashbacks, in flash-forwards, and in altered timelines. With a few Bai Ling-shaped exceptions, I'd say they've done a damn good job of casting these characters and using them to augment the primary storylines. Some of these characters, especially the ones who have been around for a while, appeared enough and accrued enough goodwill from fans to basically be primary characters: Danielle, Rose & Bernard, and Richard (who actually became a main character) come to mind. However I wanted to cover the five characters I love who are probably a "huh? oh, him/her" to the casual fan. Despite not having their own storylines and flashbacks, they all made the show that much more interesting for their presence.
Let's get the ball rolling with a character who's intrigued me since episode one: Edward Mars. Part of that is because I have a HUGE thing for this straight-shooting "always gets his (wo)man" Eliot Ness crimefighting archetype (ask me about US ATTORNEY PATRICK FITZGERALD~ sometime), but also: dude! He tracked Kate everywhere. He tracked her to AUSTRALIA. I'm certain we'll never get full closure on this, but there are so many unanswered questions about why the hell he went through so much trouble just to catch a one-time criminal. And boy did he go through trouble. Even more curiously, he offered to end his crusade if Kate really could settle down with Nathan Fillion. We all know how that worked out (not so good), but hell if it wasn't another interesting aspect of one of Lost's more morally ambiguous supporting characters.
Part of my appreciation for this character is the fact that she's played by Kim Dickens, a woefully underrated actress who really needs to appear in more things. But I also love how she was sort of Kate 1.0 for Sawyer. As far as we can tell, she was the first woman who Sawyer worked with, and who made a formidable foil. Granted, he took advantage of her and left her -- but she got him back by getting his ass in the clink. Hee hee. I also love that she and Kate bonded before and after the crash. Besides doing their part to make "Left Behind" the Slashiest Episode Ever, their similarities made her the perfect person to exposit on Sawyer/Kate's relationship in "Whatever Happened, Happened".
(Sidenote: since I've just covered Cassidy & the marshal, let me point out that since no one knows how she tracked down Sawyer, my personal canon is totally that the two of them hooked up and went on the chase together for a while.)
You know what I said about moral ambiguity? Weeeeeell sometimes you just need a complete monster, and I love that they had a character who was unambiguously straight-up no-bullshit shoot-a-teenage-girl kicking-puppies stealing-candy-from-babies EVIL. By the time he met his end on the wrong side on a dagger courtesy one raging Ben Linus, it was hard not to wonder what the hell took so long. That said, there are two things that make him one of my favorite minor characters: one, this more-than-slightly amazing fanfic, which manages to flesh out his character while also making him remain pretty damn scary (so go read it) (seriously) and two, dat body. unf, you guys. unf.
Aww I love Naomi. Gone too soon! I love how she had this outer shell of cute spunkiness concealing her cutthroat special ops side. And much as "Henry Gale"'s debut in Season 2 began a new chapter of the show where people yelling at each other about buttons gave way to mythology about four-toed statues and our introduction to the creepos who stole Walt, so did Naomi's appearance herald the moment that Lost stopped futzing around and started getting ~real~ as we realized that holy shit they're actually gonna get home, what. Would have been nice to get more backstory as her double-death (knifed in the back by Locke... but she still jumped Kate after falling out of a tree!), but aside from her few outside world appearances, there's very little we know about her. Who knows what she was truly like? Unless she makes a surprise season 6 appearance, we can only speculate.
Because he is an indestructible vaguely-Soviet eyepatched cat-owning gymnastics-appreciating killing machine. What the hell more do you WANT? If you didn't fall in love at first sight, I don't know what to tell you. If you don't love this character, I judge you. IDK what Darlton say, I believe that after being zapped til his brain bleeds, beat up by Jin, beat up by Locke, shot with a harpoon, and blowing himself up with a grenade to kill Charlie (woot), he is alive and well somewhere. And totally plotting his evil revenge. Unlike Naomi I really want no more of his backstory. He needs no characterization. He just needs to go and kill more useless characters while getting beat up a lot. Know why? Because he's Patchy.