Top Ten TV Anti-Hero Lead Characters

By wrabbiter | watched-this-yet | 22 Nov 2020

Protagonists are supposed to be nice guys – the kind that you want to boast to your friends, the kind that you want to invite to your house for a sleepover. But with the following guys, you might want to think twice before choosing them as your close friends. They are kindhearted in some ways though, which makes them pretty cool somehow. Who among these TV characters is the coolest criminal protagonist in their respective shows?


Enoch Thompson - Businessman, Mob Boss

Characterized in the image of a real-life political boss, Nucky Thompson is a government-employee who manipulates people with his superb intellect and charm. When such a technique fails, he would then resort into brutality and murder. He adheres to some kind of Machavellian philosophy, though he hires some really bad people to perform the actual dirty deed.

With his desire to be the best in the business of bootlegging, he allowed himself to transform into the highest form of ruthlessness to eliminate you, if you are a competitor.

Actor: Steve Buscemi

Show: Boardwalk Empire


Jackson Teller - Mechanic, Gun-runner, Outlaw

A young, good-looking family man, that’s what Jax Teller is. The word ‘family’ means so much for him, be it in metaphorical or in literal sense. He is willing to sacrifice his own life and self-worth, just so he can keep the people closest to him from all sorts of harm.

He breaks the law, and will kill anyone… even if it’s his own mother, just to impose his brand of justice, and to uphold the greater good of the majority of his loved-ones.

Actor: Charlie Hunnam

Show: Sons of Anarchy


Lucas Hood - Town Sheriff, Master Thief

Every compelling adventure should kick off with the same predictable element: a lost or broken love affair. This statement holds true for this ex-con who takes up the mantle of a murdered law enforcer. With his impressive skill set which he accumulated during his many criminal years, he lives in a small town in Pennsylvania, where he brings justice in his own unique way, hoping that he can still get back to the woman he holds dearest.

Actor: Anthony Starr

Show: Banshee


Malcolm Reynolds - Ship Captain, Space Pirate

The other guys on this list are heroes and perpetrators on a city or state-level. But with Malcolm Reynolds, one planet is too small, so he takes his crime-adventuring into an intergalactic level. In his journeys across worlds, he is a thief, a swindler and an atheist. Amazingly though, he has this great love for his crew, his friends and even for random strangers who may sometimes put his life and that of his team in great jeopardy.

Actor: Nathan Fillon

Show: Firefly


Thomas Shelby - Businessman, Mob Boss

He is known as a very loving and caring brother to his siblings as well as to his neighbors. But in his daily dealings though, he is a ruthless criminal who preys upon the destablization that the 1st world war as inflicted into the town where he resides.

While he could be a heartless brute when the situation calls for it, he is also very calculative, innovative, and not to mention, very manipulative as well, just to attain his goals. Unlike rival criminals who use force to unleash their power, Tommy uses his brains more often which makes him many steps ahead when pitted against his enemies.

Actor: Cillian Murphy

Show: Peaky Blinders


Michael Scofield - Structural Engineer, Prison Escapee

When put in a situation where they will save a person they love from prison, most criminals would surely resort to this action: use brutal tactics to get that person out. But with Michael, he took a rather foolish, yet clever approach: he committed a crime intentionally so he could be in jail as well, and so that he can break out his beloved brother from there.

He did transform himself into a criminal, but he is one of the most kind-hearted ones you will ever come across.

Actor: Wentworth Miller

Show: Prison Break


Dexter Morgan - Blood Spatter Analyst, Serial Killer

He projects the image of a mild-mannered geek, and is the most unlikely suspect for any serial-killer manhunt. But unknown to his peers and family however, he is a bloodthirsty murderer who is very difficult to apprehend since he is very, very good in staging or nullifying crime scenes, mainly due to the fact that he works at crime scenes everyday of his life.

He has a very strict moral code which he kept for many years. It has kept him within the “near-sane boundaries” that most ordinary people are trekking into. He eventually slipped from those and made bad choices, which brought his life and that of his love ones into severe devastation.

Actor: Michael C. Hall

Show: Dexter


Anthony Soprano - Businessman, Mob Boss

Declared by many to be the first one that inspired a generation of TV antiheroes, Mr. Soprano is in fact the template used by many writers and actors whenever they want to come up with a ‘semi-good, semi-bad‘ type of character. Leading a notorious criminal group while being a businessman and a father as well, it seems like a hard life to balance.

It’s so difficult indeed that he often failed in his acts of balancing it. What makes him cool and impressive at it, is the fact that he made his life and the people around him so colorful and dynamic… but bloody and difficult at the same time.

Actor: James Gandolfini

Show: The Sopranos


Walter White - Chemistry Teacher, Drug Dealer

What do you do when you get diagnosed with cancer and if you were told that you won’t live very long? Instead of feeling sorry for himself and wait to rot in his bed for his remaining days, Mr. White did the unthinkable, he utilized his Chemistry knowledge to cook the purest and best form of crystallized drug and started selling them.

In just a short span of time, he became the hottest drug-dealer in the underworld, though it triggered a domino-effect kind of destruction in his life.

Actor: Bryan Cranston

Show: Breaking Bad

Francis Underwood - US President, Murderer

There are small-time criminals, and then there are big time ones. Frank Underwood may just be declared as the biggest of them all, because he is the president of the most powerful nation on Earth. He is your unassuming and hardest-to-beat criminal that taking him down would require the strongest force of all.

The most likable thing about this cunning politician is the mixture of charisma and craftiness that can make nearly all kinds of people do his bidding and because of it, he can do almost any real-word devilish output he can come up with.

Actor: Kevin Spacey

Show: House of Cards

Who do you think among them should be declared as number 1?

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