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  • King Uther Pendragon in Merlin tends to come off as one of these. He's a ruthless Knight Templar Jerkass who blindly hates magic, seems to have two forms of punishment for those who transgress against him ("Put them in the stocks and throw fruit at them" or "Chop off their head") with little room in between, and has put children to death for fear of their magical heritage. He also clearly loves his son Arthur, is very protective of his ward Morgana, respects his old friend Gaius, cares about his kingdom, and pets the dog on several occasions. He's a villain, but even the good guys realize things would be worse without him there to keep order -- despite his extreme methods.
  • Ben on Lost. Or most of the Others, for that matter. They murder, kidnap, and generally terrorize the Survivors, but they genuinely believe that they are "the good guys". Plus, they're pretty relaxed when they aren't being mean.
  • Adelle DeWitt of Dollhouse started off as this, but seems to have blossomed into an Anti-Hero via Character Development.
  • Brother Justin Crowe on Carnivale. His character development is given equal screen time as the Designated Hero, and (especially in the first season) he's presented as genuinely wanting to do good, but being somewhat hampered by the fact that he's, you know, The Antichrist; it takes some rather extreme measures on the part of his Knight Templar of a sister to get him to stop worrying and love the dark side.
  • So, so many on The Wire, but probably the best is Wallace, who is only part of the drug trade to provide for his brothers and sisters, grows disillusioned after witnessing a murder for the first time, and later attempts to pull a Heel Face Turn and get out of the drug trade by informing the police about the finer details of the Barksdale crew. He gets a bullet in the head for his troubles.
  • Alex Mahone on Prison Break. An FBI agent gone bad, in Season 2, he's blackmailed by the Big Bad into hunting down and killing the fugitives one by one. While he does so with nightmarish competence, his heart isn't in it, and the conflict with his better instincts drives him to drug addiction and near madness. He also loves his son and ex-wife and desperately wants to return to them.
    • Also, Abruzzi after the incident with the killed child, which gave him nightmares and hallucinations of Jesus. He found faith in Christianity, but, at the same time, couldn't separate from his evil ways and his revenge on Fabonacci. Right before he dies, he actually prays, "forgive me".
  • Lt. Jon Kavanaugh on The Shield. By all means, he should be the good guy, considering that he's going after Vic and the Strike Team for police corruption and the death of Terry Crowley, but his methods are so thoroughly repulsive and immoral that it becomes impossible to sympathize with him, especially as time progresses and his obsession with catching Vic gets worse and worse. It gets to the point where he's willing to plant evidence in order to frame Vic, which ends up getting him arrested. By the time it's all said and done, he's just glad to be done with the whole thing so he never has to deal with Vic Mackey and his corrupting influence ever again.
  • Heroes has a couple.
    • Noah Bennet (a.k.a. HRG) began as an agent of the evil Company, who hunts down those with superpowers and either captures them or kills them. Bennet quickly gained sympathy due to his genuine love for his family, especially his adopted superpowered daughter. It was also revealed that many of the people he captured were given training to keep their powers under control and offered a chance to use them to help others (in the case of Isaac and Eden), and the only superpowered people he killed were those who used their powers to hurt people. He quickly moved into Anti-Hero/borderline hero territory at the end of Season One, after he joined forces with fellow Company prison escapees Matt Parkman and Ted Sprague in order to shut down the mechanisms The Company was using to track all the people they caught and released.
    • Season Three gives us Daphne Millbrook, a professional thief who works for and with other villains, but is clearly disgusted by most of them, never kills anyone herself, and is eventually revealed to have been working with Pinehearst because its leader would otherwise take away her superspeed, which is the only thing stopping her from being crippled by cerebral palsy.
    • For most of Season Three, there was also Sylar, who wants to be good but worries increasingly that he's irredeemable because the superpower that allows him to analyze and understand anything also giving him an unquenchable Hunger to cut superpowered people's heads open in order to learn how their powers worked. Eventually, he learned that he could copy their powers without resorting to murder and it was revealed that he could have gone on to be a nice, normal, productive member of society, had The Company (Noah Bennet in particular) not pushed his buttons so they could analyze how he was stealing powers.
      • And then, after they established all this, Sylar changed his mind, murdered his girlfriend, and decided to fully embrace the Total Bastard lifestyle, despite being totally capable of satisfying The Hunger without killing.
      • In all fairness, Sylar is a lot less of a villain than he used to be. In fact, in volume 4, he's had at least one "Big Damn Heroes" moment (saving Luke from the fascist agents under the employ of the psychotic bigot "Bastion" wannabe Danko), spared Luke's life on three separate occasions when it would have been easier to kill him, and spared the life of Luke's mother despite the fact that she was a potential witness. He's only killed so far when it was kill or be killed, or plain, old-fashioned revenge (to quote Anti Villain supreme Captain Cold).
      • And now he's gone back to being an unrepentant brain-eater, by joining forces with The Man, just so he can have access to a never-ending all-you-can-eat buffet of powers whenever they kill any harmless individual with a cool superpower.
            • End of Season 4, he seems to be rehabilitated...again. Mostly due to the fact that Matt Parkman trapped him in a nightmare where he was the only person in the world, which, of course, was messed up by Peter Petrelli borrowing Matt's power and following him in after he had a dream that Sylar would save Emma, a friend of his. Which...Sylar does, with a Crowning Moment of Funny when he tied up Puppeteer Doyle like...a puppet.
  • Prince Jack in Kings.
  • Holtz on Angel was a revenge-maddened vampire hunter back in the 18th century, when Angelus was racking up one hell of a body count. He only became a villain when he arrived in the 21st century because he continued to seek revenge against Angel, who was now ensouled and fighting for the good guys. Had he been willing to look past his desire for revenge and do the right thing, he could conceivably found reason to fight alongside Angel.
    • Lindsey might also count. He's largely misguided by Wolfram and Hart, but sees Angel as the truly evil one - for most of the series. He eventually leaves W/H when he's ordered to cover up the murder a group of blind children. This doesn't stop him from coming back as a villain later on, though.
      • Yeeeeah, Lindsey doesn't really count. For one thing, he knew from the get-go that Wolfram and Hart was evil. For another, he didn't leave after the blind kids thing, he was promoted. He only left after they gave him an evil hand and he saw what they did to former employees. He never believed he was working for good, every evil thing he ever did was either with W&H or out of hatred for Angel, since he cut off his first hand.
  • Mayor Wilkins in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whilst unquestionably evil (his ultimate aim seems to be to grow into a big demon and eat a few dozen teenagers), he has a genuinely fatherly love for Faith. So much so that, even when she's on the other side of the Heel Face Revolving Door, he's still the person she remembers with the most fondness, judging by her interaction with the First.
  • John Frobisher from Torchwood: Children of Earth.
  • Sam Adama in Caprica is a ruthless gangster who genuinely cares about and is fiercely protective of both his family and his culture. That Taurons are a minority on Caprica that suffers a great deal of prejudice also factors into this.
    • He's far from the only example. One could also say that Zoe, in all her incarnations, is this, given that she willingly associates herself with monotheistic terrorists. Of course, she only wants to make the world a better place, convinced that society's grown morally directionless and soulless. Similarly, Daniel Graystone could be considered an Anti-Villain. After all, he created the cylons and is generally a fairly cold and calculated businessman. However, he has moments of softness and seems to have genuinely loved his daughter, even if he has issues relating with her or her robotic copy. Given that Caprica is set in a universe with Gray and Grey Morality, this is to be expected.
  • In Supernatural, Lucifer tries to come off as this, declaring that his "crime" was loving God too much. It doesn't really work, since there are three groups he can give it to: Demons, who hate God and humanity both and would probably be less in awe of him if they knew that was his motivation; Angels, who were all faced with the exact same situation and made the other choice; and Humans, who are going to be wiped out en masse by his war against heaven. In fact, the conclusion most people come to is that he's a bratty child throwing a tantrum and breaking his dad's toys.
    • His brother, Gabriel/The Trickster, does this much better. After it's dicovered who he is, it's easier to see why he killed Dean so many times: he was trying to stop Sam from snapping and going after Lilith after Dean dies, therefore trying to stop him from breaking the final seal. He comes across as more the little brother who can't stand his brothers' arguing, to Lucifer's bratty persona. Sadly, in Gabriel's case Redemption Equals Death and he's killed by Lucifer - but not before leaving Sam and Dean a DVD which tells them how to put Lucifer back in his box.
  • Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad. He says that he's the bad guy, yet seems to have more moral fiber than anyone else in the drug business. Walter White could qualify for this too, but by the end of season 3, he seems to be more of a Villain Protagonist.
  • While Scorpius of Farscape is absolutely a Magnificent Bastard, his motivation behind revealing his Freudian Excuse to John seems (at first) to be an attempt to paint himself as an Anti-Villain. While he has some villainous motives and does some truly unforgivable things, he honestly thinks he has worthwhile motives: defeating the bad guys. John (and the audience) doesn't really buy it until he actually meets said bad guys and concede that he at least has some semblance of a point.
  • Nucky Thompson, the main character of Boardwalk Empire. Yeah, he's a corrupt Sleazy Politician who started looking into becoming a kingpin of the illegal booze trade the moment Prohibition started, but he's also often a genuinely kind man with good intentions, has much more enlightened views on women and minorities than his peers, has some genuine Freudian issues going on, and seems positively cuddly when contrasted with the viciousness of Al Capone or the cold-blooded sadism of Arnold Rothstein.
  • Neighbours' Paul Robinson. He's an on-again, off-again villain Depending on the Writer.
  • Glee's Sue Sylvester occasionally edges towards this trope, as her Morality Pet moments with her sister, Jean, have been expanded into a real relationship, her positive treatment of Becky has continued, and she has genuinely attempted to help Kurt deal with both a situation that verged on religious harassment and serious bullying - to the point where she resigned her Principalship in order to be able to help him better.
  • Smallville: Lex Luthor evolved from a Type III or IV Anti-Hero into an Anti-Villain in Season's 4 & 5, retaining most of his sympathetic qualities, but becoming directly antagonistic. Eventually, he lost those as well, and evolved into the Corrupt Corporate Executive and sociopath we all knew he'd eventually be. His father, Lionel, evolved the other way. Beginning the series as an unrepentant Big Bad, Lionel became an Anti-Villain in the later seasons, as his crush on Martha, revelations about his past, and attempts to make up for his many mistakes humanised him. Some would argue that he even managed to become an antihero (Type IV) before his Season 7 exit.
  • Most of the bank robbers in The Kill Point are basically decent people who made a bad mistake and spend the rest of the show regretting it. Except for Mr. Rabbit, who is The Sociopath.
  • Walternate -- Dr. Walter Bishop's Alternate Universe counterpart -- is the closest thing Fringe has to a Big Bad, but he's not evil by a long shot. He's trying to stop his universe from being completely torn apart as a result of the actions of the prime universe Walter, who abducted Walternate's son and, in doing so, caused the laws of physics to start breaking down in both universes. As viewers are keen to point out, the only reason we root for the prime universe is because we've been seeing things from its perspective.
    • This changed in the "6:02 AM EST" episode, when Walternate revealed that he was willing to kill his son in order to save his own universe. Contrast this with our Walter, who has always been trying to find a way to save both universes.
      • In the same episode, Walternate also captures the mother of his grandchild and locks her in a cell when his disregard for his own son's life causes her to attempt a Heel Face Turn.
  • From Justified, we have Boyd Crowder, who keeps shifting between this and Anti-Hero.
    • Then there's Mags Bennet, who is a clearer Anti-Villain, committing crime, but only in the best interest of her kids and grandkids. It helps that she has a Morality Pet in the form of Loretta McCready.
  • The Macquis from Star Trek: The Next Generation are basically Determined Homesteaders with a minor in Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Also, Ben Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine attempts to anticipate Macquis leader and former Federation officer Eddington's moves by casting himself as the 'villain' to Eddington's 'hero' in the latter's worldview. In this capacity, he performs an act that is rather callous for his character (flooding a Macquis controlled planet with a toxin that makes it uninhabitable to humans, forcing them to evacuate immediately or die horribly), but is still just a very light Anti-Villain to Eddington's self-Designated Hero.
  • HG Wells from Warehouse 13 is this when's she actually a bad guy. She was a Nietzsche Wannabe and literally a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, but she's nowhere as malicious as either Macphearson or Walter Sykes, and she spends most of her time on screen helping out the Warehouse team.
  • Arguably, Babe Carey, from All My Children, circa 2003-2007. She never wants to do bad things and is usually, in some way, pushed into doing the wrong thing (for the right reasons) because of the effects of others' actions. She doesn't want to be bad and, in ideal circumstances, she would even be good. She strives and wants to be good. However, she is not strong enough to rise against her circumstances.
  • Kahn Noonien Singh is this in his appearance in the Space Seed episode of Star Trek. Although fandom (and even some of the writers of the later series) have made him out to be a complete monster, it's stated that he was the only Good dictator in the Eugenics War. He was neither bloodthirsty or a war-monger, and rather than assume a scorched earth strategy when he was defeated, he took his people and fled into space to find a new world. In fact, in Space Seed he doesn't even kill anyone (though he does come close in the case of Kirk). And at the end, he is actually quite happy with Kirk's suggestion of leaving him and his crew on Ceti Alpha V, since he and his people will finally have what they wanted: a world to themselves. It was only after spending twenty years on a dead rock that he became the monster we saw in Wrath of Khan.
  • General Hummel in The Rock. From the very beginning he's established as a war hero, and the whole purpose of his hostage taking and terrorist threats is to get some justice for the families of soldiers killed in illegal clandestine operations. In the end, it turns out that his threats of chemical attacks were all an elaborate bluff, and he was never actually willing to kill anyone. His men, on the other hand...
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