Admit it: It's a small thrill to pick up a book or settle into your movie seat and realize that a character that sprang entirely from an author's imagination — an enigmatic underling or even the leading lady — hails from Smalltimore or at the very least, Maryland. We've assembled a sampling of fictitious characters that you've probably heard of, though you may not have realized that they're from here. (It's worth noting that we've eliminated the obvious, characters created by writers such as Anne Tyler, John Waters, Tom Clancy, Barry Levinson, Edgar Allan Poe and others who already are indelibly associated with the Free State and Old Bay.) That's too easy. You probably have your own list from novels, comic strips, TV, the movies and even Broadway. Feel free to send your suggestions to mmccauley@baltsun.com.

Jane Porter in "Tarzan"

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Australian actress Margot Robbie portays Jane Porter in the 2016 film, "The Legend of Tarzan."

Who knew that Jane Porter, the very same Jane who was lost in the jungle and rescued by the hunky Tarzan, might once have shopped at Hutzler's and Hecht's? In Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books, the lovely Jane is the daughter of a Baltimore professor named Archimedes Q. Porter who taught an institution of higher learning that may or may not have eventually become Goucher College. Burroughs' books were made into a movie series and after the early films, Hollywood changed "Jane Porter" to "Jane Parker" and moved her hometown from Baltimore to England. Boo, hiss.

Benjamin Button

Brad Pitt played the title character in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Pitt's character was born in Baltimore in 1860.

David Palmer on ‘24’

Actor Dennis Haysbert portrayed David Palmer, a congressman who represented Baltimore and went on to become president in the long-running Fox television series "24."

Did David Palmer pave the way for Barack Obama’selection in 2008? Way way back in 2001, David Palmer made the notion of an African-American president incredibly appealing in the phenomenally popular television Fox series. In the series, Palmer was a former basketball star who hit a game-winning shot during the Final Four competition. He made it into Congress representing Baltimore, was elected U.S. senator from Maryland and later became president, building his career on a reputation for integrity and on his concern for the welfare of ordinary Americans. The character was assassinated on Day 5 of the show, which aired in 2006.

Salvatore Romano on "Mad Men"

Bryan Batt (left) played Sal Romano, the closeted art director for the Sterling Cooper ad agency in "Mad Men." A scene re-created Haussner's.

Given that Matthew Weiner, who created the hit television show, is from Baltimore, it’s no surprise that a key character hailed from the 1960s version of Charm City — Salvatore Romano, the married, closeted gay art director of the Sterling Cooper ad agency. One memorable episode that aired in 2009 has Romano and his boss, Don Draper, traveling to Charm City to meet with their clients, who owned the London Fog Factory. The pair stay overnight at the Belvedere Hotel and dine at Haussner’s — the interior of which was meticulously re-created for the show, down to the waitresses’ uniforms.

Elaine Benes on "Seinfeld"

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus portrayed Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld-s ex-girlfriend.

Not only did Elaine Benes on "Seinfeld" grow up in Towson, she remained a loyal and steadfast hometown Hon even after moving to The Big Apple. In "The Letter," an episode from 1992, Elaine is hilariously ejected from Yankees Stadium after she refuses to remove her Baltimore Orioles cap while seated in the opposing team's owners' box. Elaine, who lied to her boss to attend the game, is horrified when the incident makes the sports pages.

Characters in "First Sunday"

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Ice Cube (left), Katt Williams (back center) and Tracy Morgan star in "First Sunday," a 2008 comedy about bumbling criminals that's set in Baltimore.

Raymond "Red" Reddington on "The Blacklist"

Raymond "Red" Reddington, portrayed by James Spader on NBC's "The Blacklist," has an apartment in Baltimore.

Hannibal Lecter

Anthony Hopkins portrays Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs."

Yep, the very same "Hannibal the Cannibal" immortalized in four novels by Thomas Harris, including "The Silence of the Lambs" practiced psychiatry (as well as less savory pursuits) in beautiful Bawlamer. Harris gives Lecter a medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University, makes him a gourmet cook, and has the so-called "Chesapeake Ripper" move easily through the upper echelons of society. The Baltimore connection remained intact through both the resulting films and television show.

Characters from "One on One"

Flex Alexander plays a single dad raising his irrepressible daughter, Breanna, portrayed by Kyla Pratt in the UPN series, "One on One." The first four seasons were set in Baltimore.

"The Boondocks" characters

In "The Boondocks," Aaron McGruder's cartoon family, the Freemans (left to right, Huey, Riley and Granddad) lived in a planned community modeled on Columbia.

Aaron McGruder's satirical "The Boondocks" comic strip and later, television show, tackled race relations head-on and is loosely based on its creator's childhood. The strip frequently skewered aspects of life in the socially conscious suburb that would be familiar to current residents, such as the city's fanciful street names, which have included such gems as "Liquid Laughter Lane" and "Rocksparkle Row." In one group of strips, a young African-American boy named Riley is so afraid that his ridiculous-sounding address will compromise his street cred that he goes out in the middle of the night with a spray can and re-names nearby streets in honor of his favorite rappers.

Dana Scully in "The X-Files"

FBI Agent Dana Scully in "The X-Files" attended the University of Maryland and has an Annapolis address, She was portrayed by Gillian Anderson.

Characters in "Clara's Heart"

In the 1988 film "Clara's Heart," a Jamaican housekeeper (played by Whoopi Goldberg) comes to Baltimore to care for a grieving family, including a boy played by Neil Patrick Harris.

The characters from "Kiss Me Kate"

Kathyrn Grayson and Howard Keel played the warring former spouses in the 1953 film "Kiss Me Kate." The action takes place in 1948 at Ford’s Theatre in Baltimore.

Uncle Peck and Li'l Bit in "How I Learned to Drive"

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Many of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel's dramas are set in or around Baltimore. Here, Melissa Leo and Dennis Parlato appear in Vogel's "How I Learned to Drive," which is set in rural Maryland in 1969.

Characters in "The Cocktail Waitress"

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