What makes good television? Some may mention complex storylines or intense battles while others may instead focus on the importance of character development. And most will agree from observing TV shows like Netflix’s You and Showtime’s Dexter that nothing beats a well-developed evil character. Indeed, fandoms surrounding onscreen villains have shown repeatedly that great character development can make the most good-natured viewers root for an essentially evil personage.
Several evil characters have made their mark in television history over the years and so for an array of reasons. Some of them were not entirely evil and later revealed that their violence was a result of initially pure intentions. And in other cases, villains performed evil and malicious acts simply out of spite. In this article, we will take a look at the 10 most evil TV male heroes of the past decade. If you happen to be a fan of evil heroes, you could find one of your favorites within this list.
The Vampire Diaries: Damon Salvatore
As one of the main characters of the hit-teen television series The Vampire Diaries, Damon Salvatore was introduced as Stefan Salvatore’s malevolent vampire brother. And considering all of the cruel things he did on the show, we can confirm that the name Damon was absolutely suitable for the character.
Damon was selfish, manipulative and although he began showing a much softer side (thanks to Elena) during the final seasons of the show, it did not make up for all the wrongdoings he committed. Damon was reckless and volatile. Whether his victims were often bypassers or close lovers, it did not seem to matter much to him. Indeed, Damon often allowed his rage to wreak havoc and did so to perilous ends.
The Boys: Homelander
This superhero web television series offered a fresh take on the typical superhero storylines by providing the narrative of superpowered individuals who abused their abilities. Of all the superheroes present in the show’s main cast, the evilest one appeared to be Homelander. Homelander retained similar abilities and leadership skills as Superman. The charismatic leader of the Seven held the public image of a noble hero. In reality, the character was arrogant, sadistic and seemed to only care about what he looked like to the masses.
You: Joe Goldberg
You‘s Joe Goldberg ranked on this list because of the character’s truly psychotic outlook on love and relationships. While the show was perfectly written to make viewers root for his character, a glance at the cold hard facts allows us to remain objective on the character’s behavior. Joe was a lunatic.
What made Joe even more disturbing was how intensely he believed all he did was for love. The character had amazing ways of justifying the horrible acts he commits and appears to believe his own madness.
Hannibal: Hannibal Lecter
This brilliant forensic psychiatrist is a considerable prospect to this list of the past decade’s evil television heroes. In Hannibal, serial-killer Hannibal Lecter encapsulated the profile of a sociopath with an incredibly high intellect. It is no wonder the cannibal murderer stayed on to aid the FBI in solving some of the most sadistic of crimes. In the series, Hannibal’s character is portrayed as humoristic, witty and charming. Indeed, it is so well presented that one tends to forget he is a cannibalistic serial killer.
Breaking Bad: Walter White
Up next, we have a character that truly embodied the concept of the good guy gone villain. Walter White was the evil protagonist you grew to hate or love — and even that remains subjective to the viewer. On Breaking Bad, we witnessed the slow and steady progression of Walter White’s character from a good-natured man with positive intentions to the ruthless gangster that was Heisenberg.
At first, it was clear that the character was committing moral vices for the sake of saving money for his family. However, he became increasingly corrupted and we saw him commit horrible acts beyond the initial justification. Despite this, fans found themselves rooting for him on several occasions and even mourned his death in the season finale.
Sons Of Anarchy: Jax Teller
Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy was another character to end up on a dark path. Although he was a ”good guy” at first, Jackson Teller became blinded by his desire for revenge. The character, himself, admitted he had become everything his father feared. Overcome by his volatile emotions and fusion with the past, Jax Teller went onto becoming a corrupted leader with a blurred sense of justice.
Dexter: Dexter Morgan
This character has stirred quite a few philosophical debates since his appearance on television. Most importantly, the television series of Dexter made its viewers question whether two wrongs truly make a right. The forensic technician who led secret life as a vigilante serial killer made a lot of fans during the show’s 7-year run. While some may say that Dexter was not truly evil and that his acts were reasonably justified, it remains that he was committing murders and torturing his victims guilt-free.
Westworld: Robert Ford
The mastermind behind the disturbing themed park of Westworld ranks amongst this list as one of television’s most evil protagonists. Since the introduction of the character at the very beginning of the series, it would be fair to say that something shady lurked around Robert’s personality. Secretive, cunning and insidious, the character turned out to be even eviler than any fan of the show could have imagined. His high-intellect matched with his God-like complex both combined to create a character with terrible intentions. Robert Ford was intensely focused on the vision of the park’s purpose and what it was meant to become. And he stopped at nothing to achieve his goal, including deceit and mass murder.
Narcos: Pablo Escobar
The first two seasons of Netflix’s Narcos centralized on the true-life story of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. And although his character was based on the true evils of an individual who once lived and terrorized, Pablo Escobar’s character remains one of the most ruthless criminals portrayed on television. The Colombian drug lord and leader of the Medellin cartel utilized his smarts to build a billion-dollar drug empire via violence, treachery, and bribes. His story has captivated millions of viewers around the world and revived a tale linked to a darker aspect of Colombia’s history.
The Fall: Paul Spector
Topping off this list we have an evil protagonist who was a master to the art of disguise. The Fall‘s Paul Spector was first introduced to viewers as a devoted family man with a profound love for his children and wife. By day, Paul worked as a grief counselor, aiding helpless patients to overcome overwhelming grief. Moreover, the character’s handsome looks furthermore stabilized his liking by many viewers. It was thus shocking to discover by the end of the episode that all of the aforementioned facts were a front to hide Paul’s nocturnal affairs. Indeed, Paul Spector was actually a wanted serial killer with sadistic tendencies and sinister desires.
Spector’s character was calculating, cold and double-faced. His mastery of duality was what led the detectives on a wild goose chase to find him. The character was spectacularly played by actor Jamie Dornan. So much that watching this series may make some of you completely forget he played Christian Grey in the erotic drama Fifty Shades of Grey.