The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards are right around the corner, and the Lead Actor in a Drama category is a battle between evil, and, well, evil. There are six contenders overall, but the top three, as far as VH1 is concerned, have made a name for themselves based on their ruthless personalities and immoral behavior. From the safety of our living rooms it’s all entertainment, but who would you really want to avoid running into in a dark alley?
A competition between a creative director, a U.S. Congressman, and a meth lord might seem obvious, but crowning one of these television villains as the most evil is actually not that easy. Take a look at what makes each of these men so terrible, and let us know who you think is the biggest bad guy. (Note: Spoilers from the last season, obviously.)
Don Draper, Mad Men
Crafting an enviable life around a hollow set of lies has yet to fully implode for the man formerly known as Dick Whitman, but things are getting bleak. Don Draper has continued to rise the ranks at work, as he inspires future creative types with his ability to tell masterful tales during pitch meetings and scares corporate underlings who dare to quibble about his often arbitrary business hours. A family man he is not, and his disregard for anyone but himself–both in and out of the office–this season proved that Don might be missing the capacity for true happiness.
Evil-doing: Cheating on his wife (with two different women), jeopardizing the career of countless Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce employees with unpredictable, selfish behavior around clients, ignoring the needs of his children…
Essential episode: “Favors,” in which poor Sally Draper is face to face with who her father really is (and gets that birds and bees talk her parents likely never gave her).
FRANK UNDERWOOD, House of Cards
The House Majority Whip from South Carolina quickly gave us a comprehensive tour of the closed-door compromises and collaborations that run much of Washington. Ruthless to his core, a man who began as a humorous narrator with a chip on his shoulder after being passed up for Secretary of State quickly transformed into a dangerous manipulator with a serious vendetta. Frank’s movements are calculated, and his conniving ways are deliberate and deadly. When it comes to working towards what he wants, Francis has no problem playing with other people’s lives.
Evil-doing: Killing a dog with his bear hands, successfully sending a recovering alcoholic back into addiction, cheating on his wife, conspiring to take down the U.S. democratic system at the expense of Americans’ education, murdering a member of the House of Representatives…
Essential episode: “Chapter 11,” in which Frank’s manipulation of the pathetic Peter Russo ends in a parking garage.
WALTER WHITE, Breaking Bad
The high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin said he’s out, but can we ever truly believe him? Over five seasons, Mr. White has expanded his empire (he’s in the business, you know) by meeting and defeating the frightening characters he’d typically never cross paths with in his previous 9 to 5 job. W.W. is often the smartest guy in the room, but when his brains and his product can’t get him out of sticky situations, Walt is not opposed to taking out any potential problems through harrowing force–or recruiting terrifying thugs to do his dirty work. Walt believes his unethical actions are justified, because he is doing them for the betterment of his family. His transformation from man to monster has been a slower burn, and he’s often making up his sociopahtic charades are he goes along–but that doesn’t make them any less detrimental.
Evil-doing: This season? Organizing a hit on 10 former associates to save himself from any incriminating information, teaming up with the Aryan Brotherhood (it will come back to haunt you, Walter!), lying to Jesse about the ricin cigarette and the poisoning of a little boy…
Essential episode: “Say My Name,” in which Mike, who long advised and criticized Walter following the death of Gus, meets his end at the hand of Heisenberg. Walt will insist he’s a good man just trying to survive, but threaten the status of what he’s made and dangerous pride takes over once again.
Now it’s your turn…
[Photo Credit: AMC, Netflix]