Nine TV Villains


You can’t have a good hero without a strong villain. Since the popularity of the cable series, television villains are now surpassing their movie counterparts. Here are some villains that can give you nightmares.

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Ben Diamond,  “Magic City”

Ben Diamond is one of the scariest mob bosses to appear in TV or Film .  “The Butcher” is a murderous psychopath who is also a man of wealth and taste. Both  narcissistic and  voyeur  brute and effeminate. There has never been as complicated a villain in television history.

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 Joe Carroll, ” The Following”

Joe Carroll is the TV Villain that the media has been trying to invent since it’s inception . The literate persuasive serial killer  Sexy charismatic and ready to change plot lines on a dime.  As if Charles Manson were willing to let Batman fight another day.  He is pure invention of a woman’s bad boy sex fantasy.

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The Trinity Killer,  “Dexter”

Trinity is the scariest kind of serial killer – the kind you see in the news when the neighbors next door realize that quiet family guy is really a psychotic murderer. Trinity is so good at what he does that Dexter starts to look up to him as a serial killer role model. He has it all – killing and a family life. The character has a twisted origin story who takes no pleasure in killings afterwards and punishes himself for his crimes. This just adds another layer to a great TV killer who was able to stay ahead of Dexter long enough to murder his wife.

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Benjamin Linus, “Lost”

A great villain and an even better liar. The thing that was so great about Ben Linus on “Lost” is that you could never tell if he was telling the truth. Most of time he wasn’t and the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 would fall into his plans. Linus could be so calm and calculating that he was one TV’s most eloquent villains. His demeanor also made him that more frightening when he did lose it and get angry. Linus let loved ones die, he plotted huge revenge plans and had only one love in his life, that island. He is the type of villain that makes you scream at the TV for someone to kill him when they had the chance.

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Gyp Rosetti, “Boardwalk Empire”

Gyp Roestti is the one person you don’t want to disrespect. Any little thing can set Gyp off, especially if he thinks your insulting his intelligence. Gyp’s the type of guy who will smile at you before he bashes your friends head in with a shovel and act like nothing happened. The man’s inner demons shows thru his love for S&M and violent acts.  (Start at 2:15)

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Gus Fring, “Breaking Bad”

Walter Whites premiere nemesis in the award-winning series ‘Breaking Bad’, Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring is the mild mannered owner of the Mexican fast food chain, Los Pollos Hermanos. Oh, and he’s also the biggest supplier of crystal meth in the southwest. Hiding behind his soft-spoken demeanor and somewhat nerdy appearance, Fring is one of the most ruthless villains ever seen on television. Despite having no qualms about brutally murdering his competition and sometimes, his own employees, Fring is a fan favorite on the show, with viewers actually rooting for him when he’s in trouble. It’s hard not cheer on a guy who helps out in the community and donates to the policeman’s ball, just don’t cross him while he’s holding a box cutter.

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President Charles Logan, “24”

Theirs no doubt where the inspiration came from in creating the corrupt, smarmy president from 24. Charles Logan shares every characteristic with the 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon, aside from his name. Behind every smile and reassuring handshake was another cold, calculated move that would swing the situation his way. A good president is supposed to intimidate people and make tough decisions. Logan couldn’t even do those things while selling nerve gas to terrorists and ordering diplomatic plane to be shot down that was already landing. It was tough enough for Jack Bauer to save the country from terrorists without having to take on the leader of the free world.

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Marlo Stanfield,  “The Wire”

First showing up in season 3 of HBO’s The Wire, Marlo brought a brutalness to the streets of Baltimore that shocked everyone. There was none of the charisma of the Barksdale crew, only a hunger for money and the corners of Baltimore. He did whatever he wanted and was smart about it. He became the ultimate prize for Omar and he went to war with everyone, and won.

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The Cigarette Smoking Man, “X-Files”

Throughout the long run of the X-Files, there was one man who was the bane of Agent Mulder, one person who connected everything – the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man. He seemed to be behind every conspiracy, lurking in the shadows. He was the boogey man of the show, except he was real.

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40 comments
nullzero00
nullzero00

I'd even throw Sylar in there from "Heroes". Any dude that can use telekinesis to cut open your head AND can add other supers' powers to his own gets my nod.

Ojisan
Ojisan

All of these are great villains but I totally second the notion of King Joffery Baratheon from Game of Thrones. He is right now in this point in time the most hated man/boy on television.

tremulant
tremulant

Gyp and Gus would both top the list together, hands down.

It's interesting that as characters they're polar opposites, yet both are equally terrifying.

Garbonzo
Garbonzo

Al Swearengen was great.  Purefoy as Marcus Antonius in Rome was one unpredictably scary megalomaniac.

sidwasout
sidwasout

I watch The Mentalist every now and then, although I don't know the whole story.  That said, Red John would seem to be a good candidate.

CineThumper
CineThumper

An incomplete list, The Following is a shit show that uses excess gore to cover up the fact its a shit show so Joe Carroll shouldn't be on it, the evil 24 President was an idiot and the way better villain was Nina Myers from the first seasons. Al Swearengen from Deadwood, Stringer Bell from the Wire could be added, the human Cylon's (One Four and Five) from Battlestar Galactica. Even Eric Cartman or Mr. Burns could be added to the top villains list.

RonsCigar
RonsCigar

Livia Soprano has got to rank up there. She was so manipulative, tried to get her own son wacked and she kept her kids in a state of arrested development.

JeanStimelBailey
JeanStimelBailey

As delightfully evil as Ben Diamond is, Danny Huston's character Arthur Burns in "The Proposition" was every bit as evil and complex. 

johnruseful
johnruseful

I was gonna say Omar from the Wire but I guess he was more of an anti-hero than a straight villian.

Jenny Girl
Jenny Girl

Joe Carroll started out as a great villian, but the story line got kinda cheesy as the season went on.

Purple Guy
Purple Guy

I hope there is a list for radio villains, I think the most evil is Fez Marie Whatley.

Fez Whatley's character started as a friendly, happy-go-lucky light up the room guy, 

who slowly became a self hating, ill wisher who hates everyone.

 His secretive, maniacal plot of passive-aggressively killing Ron Bennington's radio career is brilliant.


sidwasout
sidwasout

The Bridge has the makings of an awesome villain, whoever he may be.

TheBMD1
TheBMD1

Is there any villain so utterly hateable as King Joffrey Baratheon?

TheBMD1
TheBMD1

Does Clay from Sons of Anarchy count as a villain?

Yawn
Yawn

Nice to hear from Fez with 10 minutes left in the show, what a fraud.

TheBMD1
TheBMD1

Rebecca from Cheers. She was terrifying!

Fred-MBDW
Fred-MBDW

To this day, I still don't know if I love or hate Ben Linus.

Docintoxicated
Docintoxicated

Al Sharpton on MSNBC, that dude is a straight up pure scum bag.

Rorschach7
Rorschach7

the Following is one of the worst shows on television.

Bob08857
Bob08857

How's about Al Swearengen from Deadwood.  Cross him and you become pig feed!

DBA
DBA

Gus Fring was a saint

@_RichChapman
@_RichChapman

I think Classic Shelb would make a GREAT TV villian! Especially if Million Dollar Molly is the hero.

Craig725
Craig725

From the 10th Doctor's season... "The Weeping Angels"... Especially their first appearence in the episode called Blink with Carey Mulligan.  They kill you nicely :)

I still fear Angel statues... Whatever you do.  DONT BLINK!

SarahMcPants
SarahMcPants

How about the Governor from Walking Dead? Anyone with a fishtank filled with heads and a chained up zombie child gets my vote.

RonsCigar
RonsCigar

A lot of these villains are sort of ambiguous. Cigg Smoking Man, Marlo Stanfield. Trinity Killer was through and through a villain.

daveloper80
daveloper80

@nullzero00 its a shame how badly the wheels came off of that show towards the end. I loved the first season, probably the second too but Sylar was better than everyone else on the show.

sidwasout
sidwasout

I agree, and disagree. It had its moments, and such great potential, but was ultimately frustrating in the glaring holes in logic and "reality."

Jenny Girl
Jenny Girl

@Bob08857 Haven't watched the show in years but I never thought of Swearengen as a villian.  He was always my favorite.

loandinasor
loandinasor

@Craig725 - They are frightening.  Agree with you there!  They were able to come up with something scarier than the Daleks.

nullzero00
nullzero00

@daveloper80 @nullzero00 the writers strike took it's toll on that show, and they never recovered. They had to tie up the second season a lot sooner than they wanted.